FDA Spending $182,814 to ‘Better Understand’ Social Media

Consultants previously worked for Obama for America


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is paying six figures to a group that worked for the “Obama for America” campaign to monitor its social media platforms so it can be more effective on Facebook and Twitter.

The agency awarded $182,814 to IB5k, a company billing itself as “the People Who Brought You Obama ’08,” to provide “comprehensive coverage” of the FDA’s social media websites.

The company will track the FDA’s online presence so it can “better understand” its social media campaigns, measuring the agency’s impact by Facebook “likes” and Twitter mentions.

“Obtaining a snapshot of conversations that our audience is having will help us provide better counsel to FDA leadership so they can communicate more effectively and provide timely content,” the FDA’s Office of Acquisitions and Grants Services said.

The agency hopes that by monitoring its social media websites it can become better at messaging. The FDA has a smaller social media presence than other government agencies, with over 71,000 Facebook “likes” and 35,000 followers on Twitter.

By way of comparison, the State Department has over 384,000 Facebook likes, and 653,000 Twitter followers. NASA has over 4.8 million Twitter followers, overshadowing the White House’s 4.2 million.

“By monitoring the success and failure of our messages via measurement and sentiment, we can plan more useful strategies to serve our audiences,” they said. “The metric should be, but is not limited to: engagement, sentiment, likes, follows, and mentions.”

IB5k is a new media company founded by a team of filmmakers, producers, editors, and strategists who worked for President Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. The company says its videos helped lead Obama to victory through fundraising.

“The well-oiled Obama campaign set fundraising records during the 2008 cycle, and a large majority of that money came in through our website,” the company said.

The company now offers new media strategies, and its current clients include Microsoft, Johnson and Johnson, and Kraft.

The FDA will use IB5k to “monitor overall conversations to see what the public is discussing about our work, answer questions for them, and develop consumer content for FDA.GOV and our social media channels.”

They also will provide “comprehensive scanning” of the FDA’s blog, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Wikipedia entry. Online mainstream news sites and discussion boards will also be monitored.

Elizabeth Harrington   Email | Full Bio | RSS
Elizabeth Harrington is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. Elizabeth graduated from Temple University in 2010. Prior to joining the Free Beacon, she worked as a staff writer for CNSNews.com. Her email address is elizabeth@freebeacon.com. Her Twitter handle is @LizWFB.

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