Fuentek's Tech Transfer Blog

Live from FLC 2011: Social Media Session Facilitates Great Discussion

I’m very excited to be blogging from Nashville, TN where Laura Schoppe and I are attending the 2011 national meeting of the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer (FLC).

Yesterday we led a half-day preconference training session covering strategies for integrating social media tools into FLC members’ communications and technology marketing strategies. We were pleased to present to a highly interactive group of about 30 attendees. They were very vocal, asked lots of questions, and gave us a lot of opportunity for in-depth discussion.

Not surprisingly, the single biggest issue that came up in the session was how to leverage social media within the confines of a highly controlled, highly regulated environment of the federal government. Laura pointed out that better consistency with government rules for how federal employees can participate in social media would go a long way in helping federal labs use these tools more effectively. As it stands now, the rules are very inconsistent and are not in line with the White House’s credo for open and transparent communication. Having said that, Fuentek maintains that federal labs should be cognizant of establishing rules and guidelines for who is participating in social media and how. This was a big topic for a great discussion.

Several federal labs are quite active with social media. For example:

  • The tech transfer office at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific is very active on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. (SPAWAR= Space and Naval Warfare)
  • NASA is quite active on Twitter not only at the overall agency level but also for tech transfer spinoffs.
  • The National Cancer Institute works collaboratively with its PAO to publicize specific initiatives via social media.

We also had spirited discussions about demonstrating the results of social media. The audience was very curious to know about the ROI. We discussed the use of keywords and search engine ranking and placement in helping to increase traffic to our site, explaining that visits to Fuentek’s Web site increased by over 90% from January 2010 to January 2011 after we implemented our blog. (Check out more of our Insights about social media in tech transfer.)

If you’re at FLC 2011 this week, connect with me via Twitter or use our Contact Us page to continue the conversation.

— By Karen Hiser