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FedRAMP, or the US Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program, is a government-wide program that acts as a standardized model for security assessment, authorization and continuous monitoring for cloud-based IT products and services. Through FedRAMP, federal agencies can work with an approved cloud computing service provider with complete confidence that their data is secured according to a stringent set of cybersecurity safeguards. This is critical in the digital age as some of the nation’s largest companies have succumbed to phishing scams and data breaches. It is imperative that the government, across its many agencies, stays vigilant in ensuring the safety and security of their mission-critical data and sensitive information.

When a government agency selects a FedRAMP certified (or FedRAMPed) partner, they benefit from the highest possible levels of data protection but also from significant cost savings across the entire enterprise.  Working with a FedRAMPed cloud solution can cut costs by 30-40% and save staff time and energy by eliminating redundant security assessments.  When you see that a potential service provider is FedRAMPed, you can rest assured that they’re serious about keeping your data safe. 

IQ is the CRM solution designed specifically for government organizations. It’s flexible enough to handle the complex and unique processes of robust government agencies and available on a FedRAMP approved cloud platform to ensure the utmost in security standards and regulatory compliance. When you choose IQ, your government agency benefits from the security, flexibility, and reliability of a CRM provider invested in helping you carry out the mission of your government organization.

Security
IQ is available on a FedRAMPed CSP uniquely positioned as a highly secure option for organizations operating at every level of classified status.

Flexibility
IQ is highly configurable and designed to navigate complex workflows. We work with 100+ government agencies to help simplify and automate even the most involved business processes.  

Reliability
When you choose IQ, you will receive a Project Manager, an Information Technology Consultant, an Engineer, and a Trainer to help you install and tailor IQ to fit your unique organizational priorities, and to guide you along the process of getting set up.

Leidos Digital Solutions is pleased to offer government agencies IQ, our industry leading CRM solution, available on a secure, stable and scalable FedRAMP certified cloud platform. IQ can be acquired quickly and easily on our GSA Schedule 70, Contract GS-35F-0636K.  To learn more about IQ, browse our website or contact us with any questions you may have. 

Visit our YouTube channel for a preview of how IQ really works!

After the 2016 election, many political scientists turned their attention to the ways social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are impacting and evolving political discourse in the US. And while Facebook has been around for a long time, its use as a conduit for the spread of political information feels much newer. Facebook, which started out as a social network to help college students meet and connect, has grown into a platform for over 2 billion people, companies, and brands around the world to reach each other in ways people could hardly imagine just 15 years ago.

But is this phenomenon really new? Or is it just new to our democracy? Much research has been published on the effects of social media on governments in other parts of the world. The Arab uprisings, which began with the ousting of Tunisian President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali in 2011, have been repeatedly cited as evidence of the destabilizing effects social media can have on longstanding regimes. Most Western talking heads pointed to social media with pride while examining its role in tumbling governments in other parts of the world. However, now that the focus has shifted to the US and we are beginning to see exactly how powerful and disruptive social media can be to the usual order of politics, suddenly there is a sense that we may have created a monster that even we cannot control.

According to a study by the Pew Research Center, Facebook may in fact be contributing to increased polarization on both sides of the aisle. Pew reported that 25% of social media users follow government officials or political candidates online, and that Facebook is the main social media site most Americans go to for news. Pew analyzed data from January 2015 to July 2017, and found that of the news articles shared by Members of Congress on Facebook nearly half (48%) were to outlets predominantly linked to by members of just one party – and 5% of those news links pointed to outlets that were exclusively shared by members on only one side of the political divide. Additionally, they found that the more partisan the news source was that the Member of Congress linked to, the more likely it was to be shared among Facebook users – meaning the most partisan stories had the farthest reach.

In analyzing this data, it’s no surprise that many have been feeling a rise in political tensions in the US relative to the past few decades. But the heightened tension online has not escaped those in Silicon Valley. Facebook has faced intense scrutiny over its role in spreading “fake news” with executives even being asked to testify before Members of Congress about vetting practices of political advertisers. In response to growing concerns by Congress and the public, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced some surprising changes to its News Feed algorithms, changes that he said in a Facebook post, “should encourage meaningful interactions between people” by making public content like posts from businesses, brands, and the media less visible to Facebook users. He also conceded that he expected time spent using Facebook to decrease among users as a result. Advertisers and media outlets alike have decried the change, arguing that it will hurt American democracy and advertisers’ revenues. But the true impact of the imposed changes remains to be seen.

What do you think about the role of social media in politics? Has your office faced challenges adapting to the age of social media? For tips on using social media to connect with younger demographics, check out our best practice tips here.

This year, take the time to engage with the people who sent you to Washington.  Your state may still be in a blackout period with various restrictions on your outreach. But that doesn't mean you can't proactively communicate with your constituents - within Franking rules.  Sending 499s is a great way to communicate with targeted groups or random selections of contacts.  Whether you are restricted by blackout rules or not, we can help make sure your next email campaign is effective as possible.  Here are a few tips for optimizing your next newsletter:

1.  Design

Did you know that 84% of email users aged 18-34 use a preview pane to manage their inboxes?  Emails that don't pass the sniff test in the preview pane are destined to wind up in the trash.  Using intriguing design elements is a great way to engage your constituents before they get to your primary message.  Don't have an in-house design team?  We do.  Our graphic artists design custom eNewsletter templates for IQ offices - free of charge.

2.  Subject Line

A catchy, succinct subject line can sometimes be the difference between a successful email campaign and one that falls flat.  In fact, studies show that 69% of email users in the U.S. may report an email as spam based on the subject line alone!  Try to keep your subject line under 50 characters and resist the urge to use splashy clichés.

3. Use Social Media

Social media is a excellent way to generate opt-ins, build your contact lists organically and promote meaningful engagement in your district.  After all, anyone who follows the Member on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. has already taken an active interest in what the Member is up to in Washington.  Using the IQ eNewsletter Wizard you can push your latest newsletter out to your social channels in just one click and direct your followers to your email opt-in page.

4. Events

Live events in the district are another great way to increase your opt-ins and build better contact lists.  IQ is integrated with Eventbrite, a leading global event management platform, which allows you to capture the contact data for everyone who registers for an event in your district, and then import into IQ for use in your next outreach campaign.

5.  Call to Action

As simple as it may be, a strong, consistent call to action is vital to generating opt-ins.  If you want people to sign up for your mailing lists, don't forget to ask!

6. Optimize for Mobile

Last year, 48% of all emails in the U.S. were opened via mobile devices.  Optimize for mobile and make sure your message is accessible in any format.  Clickable areas should be between 40-50 pixels and any images you use should be compressed.  This way, your audience can access and interact with your message on a mobile device, even with a weak cell signal.

7. Purchase Scrubbed Contact Lists

While we do believe that organic growth through opt-ins is the best way to build your lists, sometimes it is necessary to augment by purchasing new data.  If you do decide to go this route, it's very important to work only with trusted sources.  Leidos offers fully vetted, scrubbed data files to Congressional offices in a variety of purchasing options that can meet any budget.

8.  Quality vs. Quantity

In some Congressional offices, staff are under pressure to reach out to the largest possible number of constituents, regardless of the quality of the contacts or the likelihood of an interaction.  We encourage you to focus on fostering meaningful conversations with engaged constituents rather than simply looking at the total number of outgoing emails in a given campaign.

9.  Timing

When planning your next email campaign, consider conducting a simple A/B test to better understand when you can best reach your constituents. To perform an A/B test, simply split your list in two, choose different day/time combinations for each group, then send and review the results after about 48 hours.  While every district is different, Tuesdays and Thursdays, mid-mornings and late afternoons are historically considered "sweet spots" for email campaigns.

10.  Targeting Your Message

The audience of your message is one of the most fundamental componenets of any outreach campaign.  However, even the most experienced communications staffers sometimes neglect to take the time to properly understand who will receive their messages.  IQ gives you the ability to easily slice and dice your data until you've targeted the exact group you want to reach.  For example if you wanted to reach out to retired veterans in a certain ZIP code who also consider agricultural legislation their top issue, you can identify and select this group in just a few clicks and then craft messaging specifically for that group.

To learn more about how we can help your office optimize email outreach and generate opt-ins, get in touch with us today.