U.S. federal government pages on Facebook mostly follow accepted practices for customer satisfaction.

So concludes ForeSee, a firm possibly better known for its compilation of the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

The government version of this quarterly index came out today, analyzing the following federal departments:

  • Department of Agriculture
  • Department of Commerce
  • Department of Defense
  • Department of Education
  • Department of Energy
  • Department of Health and Human Services
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • Department of Justice
  • Department of Labor
  • Department of State
  • Department of the Interior
  • Department of the Treasury
  • Department of Transportation
  • Department of Veterans Affairs

And here are ForeSee’s findings for Facebook:

  • All 15 departments have a Facebook presence.
  • All of them are using at least one standard Facebook application (notes, discussions [at least until October 31], photos, links, events, videos).
  • 11 of the 15 departments’ Facebook pages include custom pages or third-party tools (YouTube, Flickr), which are devoted to content that the departments want to feature, as well as comments, policies, and welcome statements.
  • All 15 pages have vanity addresses and official names that reflect the proper name of the departments or their elected leaders.

The report also offered a set of best practices for government agencies using Facebook, including:

  • Only include applications if they will be consistently maintained, and turn off standard applications if associated content has not been provided (11 of the 15 agencies complied with this).
  • Use a separate tab to house policies on comments if those policies are too long to fit in a standard field, or if they are longer than two paragraphs (four agencies did this).
  • Vanity URLs should reflect the official name of each department or the official leading it (all 15 were in compliance).

ForeSee President and Chief Executive Officer Larry Freed said:

Social media is no longer a nice to have, but a necessity in both the private sector and the public sector. It’s just the way people communicate now. The good news is that federal departments are participating in social media; the bad news is that efforts are happening at a variety of levels, and the effect can be muddled for citizens.

Readers: What have your experiences been with the Facebook pages of government, agencies, either U.S. or overseas?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.