Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:09 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:09 | SYDNEY

Facebook and e-diplomacy, US style


Fergus Hanson


2 March 2011 10:16

There is a fascinating cable out from the US Embassy in Jakarta detailing its Facebook strategy in Indonesia. We've featured their Facebook page several times on this blog, and it's certainly one of the leading examples of a government successfully engaging foreign populations through social media.

But how did they do it'

At the time the cable was sent in February 2010, the Embassy had an impressive 50,000 Facebook fans, but the cable requests $US100,000 to help fund a major outreach effort to grow the number of followers to one million within 30 days in the lead-up to Obama's planned visit. We don't know if they got the funding to do it, but the Embassy's Facebook now has just under 310,000 fans. 

Whether it went ahead in whole, part or not at all, the strategy wasn't bad. Most of the funds ($US60,000) were to be spent on advertising, which at the time of writing was a modest $US25 a day. The plan was to increase this tenfold but:

The funds would also be used to promote the visit and our fan page as the place to learn more by extensively advertising on Indonesian online portals, banner ads, YouTube, Twitter, and other promotional efforts, including embedding bloggers, contests and giveaways, and using SMS technology. With over 100 million mobile phone users in Indonesia, texting is a powerful way to include a huge audience. Partnering with a major telecom provider, we can encourage Indonesians to sign up for real-time updates via their cell phone -- a great way to reach those not yet online about the visit.

The cable suggests a pretty impressive understanding of how to reach Indonesians in the digital age. It's no surprise the State Department is leading the world in e-diplomacy.

Follow Fergus on Twitter @FergusHanson.