Marketing to a Government Audience on LinkedIn

Marketing to a government audience – federal, state, or local – is unlike marketing to any other industry. On the plus side, most companies marketing in the government space know precisely who they want or need to reach, and often have simple access to the first and last names (and associated contact info) of their individual targets. In addition, the universe of targets tends to be very limited in size. So, easy-peasy, right?

Actually, not so much. Marketing to government contacts requires knowledge, strategy, and patience. Most government contracting and procurement officials, as well as the individuals within the government who end up working with contractors and subcontractors, want to know who their vendor-partners are BEFORE they enter into a relationship… regardless of how good their bid might look.

So, despite the ability to directly “reach out and touch someone,” building awareness of your brand is generally a prerequisite to getting a peak behind the curtain. And while there are many ways to build that brand awareness, one avenue that might surprise you is LinkedIn.

Despite the popular notion that government employees – from the municipal police department to the Department of Defense – are not active on LinkedIn, experience in the space reveals the platform is not only used but trusted by many in the sector. And while it is debatable what percentage of government employees over the age of 60 might be engaged in social media, what is not up for debate is that many of these decision-makers are retiring and being replaced by younger, more social media-savvy professionals. As a result, establishing a presence on platforms like LinkedIn becomes increasingly valuable for companies targeting a government audience.

Put LinkedIn – and Your Doubts – to the Test.

Getting started is far less challenging than you might imagine. And the results are likely to not only surprise, but also delight you.

  • Create a company LinkedIn page. If you have one, update your current one and make sure to include your key messaging and clear unique selling proposition.
  • Test posting one time a week. The key here is to be consistent and focus on quality vs. quantity of posts. Ensure your posts have visually appealing images or videos for maximum impact. If you can post more frequently, then go for it; just be consistent.
  • Talk to your target audiences. For example, state-level professionals care about economic development and how policies impact both business and communities. They want to learn about successes in other locations too. Local government audiences also value economic topics but through more of a cultural lens. Content focusing on leadership, team building, and workplace culture performs well. Diversity is another theme they engage with. The federal audience tends to be most interested in topics that deal with the greater good of the American public, such as broader topics related to the military, security, health, and education. Know who you are talking to and what they are interested in.
  • Content diversity is key. Optimal results often come from a combination of brand awareness pieces and activation-style content featuring compelling calls to action. Providing examples from various locations or use cases that showcase broad relevance and applications works well. Leveraging case studies and testimonials, known to resonate well with the government audience, and transforming them into LinkedIn posts is an excellent strategy. Keep it real (authentic), keep it personal (be a face), keep it interesting (educate, entertain, engage).
  • Expand your audience. Do this by promoting your page on your various marketing materials such as email signatures and the website. Encourage employees and key flag carriers to share your posts. Alternatively, accelerate this process by investing in boosting your posts, directing funds toward targeting your specific audience. For optimal targeting, target an audience that combines location, industry, job roles, skills, and client upload lists. This layered approach ensures a broader outreach, reaching all pertinent professionals.
  • Review Analytics. After three months of experimentation, examine your analytics to identify the most effective content. Focus on producing more of what works well and reducing less successful content. Building a social presence takes time, so regular quarterly analytics reviews can provide valuable insights.

Creating a presence on LinkedIn enables companies to engage with both current and future government audiences in a unique manner, setting themselves apart from those not using the platform.

Rachel Lowe

Digital Marketing Manager

Rachel is a young veteran in the marketing industry with expertise in both digital and traditional marketing. She currently leads the agency's digital services with experience supporting numerous brands, including Bruegger’s Bagels, The Container Store, JOANN Stores, Mr. Chicken, San Diego Lighting Association and more. Rachel holds certificates in HubSpot, Email Marketing, SEO/SEM, Google AdWords, Google Analytics, Sprout Social and Video Advertising. She is also a member of the PRSA Cleveland board of directors and is the VP of Communications on the executive committee. Most recently she received the PRSA Rising Star Award, recognizing and honoring an outstanding professional with seven or fewer years of experience. A proud graduate of The Ohio State University, she holds a bachelor’s in strategic communication, and minors in fashion and retail studies and professional writing. Rachel is also certified in Digital Marketing Strategies Data, Automation, AI & Analytics from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management Executive Education program.