VA enlists employees in its social media outreach

The federal agency has opened up its online networking campaign to communicate with 9 million veterans.

But the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has built a social media program that encourages its staff nationwide to spread the word about its services to former soldiers, sailors and marines.

A policy released last month endorsed the use of social media tools by its employees to enhance communication, exchange information and streamline processes.

“What we wanted to do with the policy is really encourage people to be using social media, especially for the department,” says Lauren Bailey, acting deputy director of online communications.

“We wanted them to be able to leverage all this new and cool technology that they might be using in their private lives to deal directly with veterans and other stakeholders.”

Launched in 2009

VA launched a social media initiative two years ago, and it has created more than 100 Facebook pages, numerous Twitter feeds, blogs, a YouTube channel and a Flickr page. (For a directory of its social media presences, click here.)

By yearend, it plans to have a separate Facebook page for each of its 152 medical centers to serve 22 million veterans, 9 million of whom sought VA services last fiscal year.

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