April 21, 2014 (RARC-WP-14-010)

No doubt about it, social media has revolutionized the world of communication and commerce, radically changing the way people decide what, where, and when to buy. Accordingly, most businesses and organizations now view social media as an opportunity to reach and engage large customer audiences in ways impossible before: directly, in-real time, and at lower cost.

Indeed, effectively integrating social media into an omnichannel marketing and communication strategy will likely offer businesses numerous benefits well into the future as Millennials – the generation that has grown up with the Internet and smart devices – wield more and more economic influence.

The U.S. Postal Service has a presence on 18 social media sites, including the two most popular, Twitter and Facebook. Its social media strategy, however, is currently limited. This new white paper, based on research by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG), concludes that a stronger, more robust social media strategy could help the Postal Service remain competitive in the digital age by better responding to changing communication needs, improving the customer experience, creating value through social commerce, and cutting costs.

Suggestions for the Postal Service include among others: allocating additional resources for social media; increasing social media visibility; improving customer care via social media; turning social media into a valuable data source; and creating new products. Although not a “cure all,” social media offers significant benefits, and many opportunities exist for the Postal Service to expand in this area, particularly regarding new products and services.

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