I had the pleasure this morning of attending a presentation by my CEO, Elizabeth Shea, to the Small and Emerging Contractors Advisory Forum (SECAF) on how to engage the federal community via social media.
It seems that somewhere along the way people started believing that the government isn’t actually using social media. But with more than 3 million Twitter followers, it looks like someone forgot to tell the White House that government isn’t social. Turns out that NASA isn’t far behind with 2.8 million followers, and the Department of Homeland Security has more than 52,000 “likes” on Facebook.
In fact, according to Market Connections 2011 Social Media in the Public Sector Report, 70% of federal agencies and 93% of contractors are using LinkedIn while a whopping 86% of agencies and 88% of contractors are on Facebook.
These stats clearly speak to a point made by B.L. Ochman in BusinessWeek way back in 2009: “Millions of people are creating content for the social web. Your competitors are already there. Your customers have been there for a long time. If your business isn’t putting itself out there, it ought to be.”
So below are some of the key takeaways from Elizabeth’s presentation this morning and some tips for people just jumping into the social fray.
Listen to what is being said. At a minimum the expectation is that you are listening. There are a variety of social media listening posts that can help you learn what your customers want.
Create compelling content. As we’ve discussed many times on our blog, content is king. You either need to curate or create your stance, your value proposition, the reason your customers buy. Social media is reliant on content, and you need to plan a way to create content that is useful to your audience.
Engage with your audience. Social media tools enable you to engage with your audience in a meaningful way. However, it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach. Determine which channels your customers use and meet them there.
Lastly, B2G communications has evolved. While there is still a core set of print publications we work with on a daily basis, there is also a “new” set of online sites that are just as influential. Online sites and networks to follow (or join) to keep up with what’s happening in the government space include: FedScoop, GovLoop, GovConWire, OhMyGov and NextGov.
I wrote recently about the quality vs. quantity conundrum on Twitter, and included some tips on how to get started. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on how to make the most of LinkedIn.
It is a myth to say that the Federal government doesn't utilize social media tools; in fact, in the age of transparency, social media has exploded within government agencies. With that said, the tools can be very effective within the government contracting space, as long as you know how to use them to your advantage. Interested to know which agencies are utilizing these tools, and how?
SECAF, the Small and Emerging Contractor Advisory Forum, has asked SpeakerBox to come in and deliver a program on how to specifically manage these powerful social media channels when engaging with government agencies as well as the contracting industry.
We will be sharing tips and tricks for leveraging LinkedIn, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc., to share your voice and enrich professional relationships.
SECAF members are invited to join us on August 24, 2012 at The Tower Club in Tysons Corner for breakfast, 7:30-9:00 am, for an opportunity to understand how to connect and engage using these powerful communications vehicles.
If you're not a SECAF member and you are a government contractor, it's easy to join: $200 for contractors which covers everyone in your company.
-- Why social media? What are the tools?
-- How can you leverage social media to network and expand business into government agencies and to other teaming partners?
-- How do your find your audience? Who's listening?
-- What are the tips and tricks for getting the most of of your social media efforts?
Hope to see you there!
--Elizabeth Shea, SpeakerBox, @eliz2shea
Know what they mean?
If so, you're probably already doing business with the government, so congratulations, but still keep that government dictionary
If not, you would have enjoyed this morning's event on contract vehicles for doing business with government. SECAF
(Small and Emerging Contractor Advisory Forum) had the honor of hosting four government contracting officers from GSA
(General Services Administration) as panelists this morning, each of whom communicated great value in the steps required to do business with the government as a small business.
From the ITS (Integrated Technology Services)
Office of Acquisition Operations, the panelists included:
Jim Connors, Network Services
Matt Verhulst, Small Business GWAC Center
Greg Roseman, IT Schedule 70
Mike Anastasio, Infrastructure Optimization
It was nice to shake hands, exchange business cards and hear straight from the source how contracts are put together in the government IT world and what opportunities there are for small business.
➢ Get ready for the alphabet soup: one thing even the panelists joked about was the preponderance of acronyms used to describe contract vehicles, government programs, special projects, you name it.
➢ Goal of ITS: Great Government Through Technology. Its mission is to excel at providing customers (government agencies) easy access to IT solutions and reduce total acquisition time, cost and risk. As for small businesses, according to Jim Connors, small business set-asides are a good thing and the right thing to do to help get our economy back on track. Translation: GSA/ITS has a vested interest in getting small businesses in the door, and providing opportunity!
➢ The primary areas of most interest to technology procurements today, are technology solutions in cybersecurity, sustainability, and wireless and mobility. The IT offerings that support those categories are computer systems and hardware, software and applications, data centers and storage, internet services, satellite services, communication networks and services, and professional IT services.
➢ Ed OHare, Assistant Commissioner for GSAs Integrated Technology Services, has made it his mission to connect with small businesses in his role, and has increased communication with other agencies through social media channels and through his blog
➢ Most likely youve heard this before, but yet again, a contract vehicle, or GSA schedule, is merely a fishing license. You cant expect to catch fish right away! Get involved, get to know the procurement officers, the agency program managers, and find opportunities to pursue.
➢ A GWAC
(Governmentwide Acquisition Contract) is a key component to GSAs Federal Acquisition Schedule. The track record for small businesses using GWACs are staggering these are numbers representing actual sales through these channels, not just ceilings. There is a lot of opportunity if you are paying attention and making connections:
o 8(a) FAST: 1998-2004, 150 firms sold $2B
o HUBZone: 2003-2008, 29 firms sold $36M
o 8(a) STAFS: 2004-2011, 200 firms sold $2.2B
o VETS: 2007-2017, 43 firms sold $433M
o COMMITS NexGen: 2008-2011, 40 firms sold $7.1M
o Alliant SB: 2009-2019, 73 firms sold $30.5M
o TOTAL impact on small business: 535 firms $4,706,600,000
➢ Greg Roseman shared several interesting statistics: An estimated 80% of all IT Schedule 70 holders are small businesses. Government agencies spend $15B-$16B on Schedule 70; however, the majority of this revenue comes from only 10% of schedule holders. Roseman suggested that more small businesses need to take advantage of their GSA Schedule.
So, anyone pass the acronym test yet?
- Elizabeth Shea @eliz2shea
Last Thursday night was the Second Annual SECAF
what an event! Of course, I am biased since Im on the board, but Im not just paying lip service to this group. The spirit and the energy I personally experience with SECAF reflects that this is not your run-of-the-mill networking program.
There is something special about the SECAF community, which most likely starts with the leadership of Shiv Krishnan
, chairman for SECAF and CEO of Indus, Inc. You can always count on him to crack a joke at the podium, poke fun at other board members, and generally make others feel comfortable, even when hes on a stage speaking to 300+ guests. The ribbing, the kudos, and the familial exchange between SECAF members and the board are what makes these events a treat, rather than an obligation.
So, onto the results and the fun stuff: close to 100 nominations were submitted (enviable, if youve ever been involved in an awards program) and 22 finalists were selected in several categories.
Each finalist company received personalized recognition in the form of a custom video, thanks to the creative work of TalkingTree Creative
who pulled the production for this program together. The videos depicted whats in the heart of each company: their mission, growth trajectory and corporate values.
Then came the moment of anticipation, where a winner in each category was announced, and short speeches followed. More ribbing, more joking, and a stepped up level of roasting by other board members while on stage. Soon, coffee was served.
Please join me in recognizing the 2nd Annual SECAF Awards finalists and winners.
SECAF Contractor of the Year (under $6 million): Integrity Management Consulting, Inc. (winner)
Berico Tailored Systems
Credence Management Solutions
Link Solutions, Inc.
SECAF Contractor of the Year ($6 to $12 million): Culmen International (winner)
Dozier Technologies, Inc.
SECAF Contractor of the Year ($12 to $25 million): SENTECH, Inc. (winner)
Advanced Technology & Research Corp
Digital Management, Inc.
Morgan Borszcz Consulting
Technical & Project Engineering, LLC
Small Business Partner (Privately-owned greater than $25 million): LMI (winner)
Development Alternatives, Inc.
Small Business Partner (Publicly-owned greater than $25M) CACI International (winner)
The evening then ended with a special award: the SECAF board and the Galas judging panel selected a government representative believed to be a great example of serving as an advocate for the small business community. Kevin Boshears
, Director of the Department of Homeland Securitys Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, was recognized with a standing ovation as the Government Advocate of the Year. He received accolades for all the times he has talked to SECAF members, volunteered his time to speak to sold out crowds, and offered his advice to up-and-coming companies on how to work better with government.
Our friend at Tech Bisnow (@techbisnow), David Stegon
, captured some great photos
of the program, which ran in his column the next day. GovConWire
captured several folks on camera talking about the strength of the program and the opportunities available to companies today in the government market.
Of course, there will be a Third Annual Gala, so I hope youll join us there next year!
-- Elizabeth Shea
As many of you follow the awards circuit that recognizes some of the top companies in this region, here are the finalists recently announced for the SECAF 2nd Annual Awards Gala.
SECAF (the organization for the small and emerging government contractor) announced its finalists last week; over 90 applications were received, so competition was tough. Finalist companies include:
SECAF Contractor of the Year (under $6 million): · Berico Tailored Systems · Credence Management Solutions · Integrity Management Consulting, Inc. SECAF Contractor of the Year ($6 to $12 million): · Dozier Technologies, Inc. SECAF Contractor of the Year ($12 to $25 million): · Advanced Technology & Research Corp · Digital Management, Inc. · Morgan Borszcz Consulting · Technical & Project Engineering, LLC Small Business Partner (Privately-owned greater than $25 million): · Development Alternatives, Inc. Small Business Partner (Publicly-owned greater than $25M)
If you want to attend the gala, you can purchase tickets via SECAF. Please join me in congratulating these finalists!