How the 200-Year-Old U.S. Census Bureau is Using Modern Marketing

Pamela Vaughan
Pamela Vaughan



2010 Census Logo While the U.S. Census Bureau still only accepts mailed-in forms, this year it's taking a lot of its efforts online to encourage citizens to fill out the 2010 form and be counted. 

The Bureau's new digital initiative, which uses social media to create social awareness and motivation for people to take action, is much like we saw in Obama's presidential campaign -- using online tools to affect offline change. 

And the Census Bureau is fully taking advantage of the trend. This week it launched Facebook , Twitter and YouTube pages in an effort to make more people aware of the census, especially college students, twenty-somethings and some ethic groups who are commonly known to ignore it.  Its Facebook page in particular features links to Census videos, press releases, a demo showing how to complete this year's form, a PDF guide in English and Spanish and Census news stories.

So, as marketers, what can we appreciate about the Census' new campaign?

Key Elements:

Social Media for Social Awareness: The Bureau has definitely been paying attention to recent online trends and the successes others are experiencing with using social media for social change.  President Obama and many fundraising organizations and non-profits are starting to understand the powerful impact of social media to organize groups of people to take action, and the U.S. Census is following suit.

Facebook Marketing Strategy: It looks like the Census has also been doing its research on the right ways to use Facebook for marketing.  A recent MarketingProfs survey of B2B and B2C marketers revealed that creating Facebook applications and surveys were among the most effective Facebook marketing tactics.  The Census' new Facebook page includes an application/survey-like feature to help visitors understand the ease and quickness of filling out the 2010 census form.

Interactivity: Not only is it utilizing social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to get the word out and evoke conversation and communication, but the Census also features various interactive elements on its website such as a Road Tour Blog and a Director's Blog as well as videos, etc.

Targeting: Among the Census' toughest demographics to locate is young people.  And just who makes up the largest represented group of users on Facebook?  You guessed it!  Facebook is a great marketing tool to target college students and young people, which makes it the perfect marketing tool for the U.S. Census.

Measurement: We often forget that an important part of any campaign is marketing analytics , but the Census is definitely not one of them.  According to Joanne Dickinson, chief of customer research and marketing for the U.S. Census Bureau, the Census is planning to pay close attention to the metrics of its social media pages in order to better tailor its efforts to different segments of the population. 

Are you a non-profit, political or fundraising organization trying to affect social awareness, change or action?  If so, are you making the most of the power of social media in your social campaigns?

Non-Profit Inbound Marketing Kit


Download our non-profit inbound marketing kit .

We're committed to your privacy. HubSpot uses the information you provide to us to contact you about our relevant content, products, and services. You may unsubscribe from these communications at any time. For more information, check out our Privacy Policy.

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.