Army Social Media Strategy? Why NOT you!

Written by on November 18th, 2008

You could recruit new leads, JUST like the Army!

Straight From Iraq

I was aware that the Army had been investing in some of the smartest and most sophisticated weapons in the history of mankind but little did I realize that part of the 220 million dollars they spend to recruit new soldiers will be spent on social media!

The other day I shared with you how a little known business consultant’s podcast became as popular as the business podcasts produced by the Economist, Bloomberg and other well known brands.  Today I wanted to show you how the Army is investing in WEBCASTING to become more relevant to their prospective customers.

In an article in the New York Times by Stuart Elliott, Stuart outlines the new strategy being used by the Army.   On their newly redesigned website, recruits will be able to view a new section called Straight from Iraq.   According to Lt. Gen. Benjamin C.  Freakley, the commanding general of the Army Accessions Command in Fort Monroe, Va, the goal is to provide,  “verifiable information about what being a soldier is really like”.

YouTube style videos

The section offers dozens of YouTube style videos of less than a minute where soldiers talk about the conditions they are living and working in.  The videos remind prospective recruits they have access to computers, the internet and “all the equipment” they need.

The goal of these videos are to help recruits gain a better understanding of what a typical day would be like for them.   These short videos show casual working conditions and normal “joe” soldiers that recruits can identify with.   In a day and era when advertising is being over done, this campaign is designed to help prospects hear from “the horse’s mouth”, what it’s really like.

They talk about their living conditions, how they sleep, where they show and provide the impression, “it’s a lot like home”.  You’ll get a tour through the Liberty PX, where soldiers can buy everything from candy, bikes, barbecues, small refrigerators,  greeting cards to send home, CD’s to electronics at huge discounts.  (One thing they didn’t have was my favorite and SPC Gaylord’s favorite candy – Reese Peanut Butter Cups!)

You have to remember that the videos are not high definition or look like they were done by a Hollywood camera crew. (although they probably were!)   The advertising agency McCann World Group’s goal was to make them look like they were videotaped by a buddy and were designed to send home to family and friends.  They are grainy, the lighting is, well – whatever it is, and the sound varies from interview to interview.

I can’t imagine it cost that much for this campaign but according to the Army, they had to cut back on Rodeo sponsorships!  You could shoot these style videos using your video camera, FlipIT camera, web cam or even cell phone. Literally you could replicate this concept only using staff time.

It’s a sales and marketing tool!

Instead of handing a prospect a flyer, now a recruiter, anywhere in the country, in a small town like Peoria to a metropolitan city like Atlanta can use this section of their website as a sales tool to keep developing a positive image and eventually close the sale. (no printing cost, more relevant information and the prospect can view it anytime, anywhere)

So what are you thinking about?  How can you use this to help your organization?   Here’s a couple thoughts off the top of my head.

  • Colleges and universities could be using this concept to show life, as it really is for students.
  • Theme parks and entertainment centers could use these to show real customer input and thoughts
  • Volunteer organizations could use this concept to show what volunteers do, what they like about it, how little time it takes and how good it makes them feel!
  • Businesses can use this to encourage customers to share how they use their products and why they like them.
  • Religious organizations could be using these to share member experiences, why their church is a fun place to be, how it’s members help each other and how good it makes them feel

Got the idea?

Using webcasting to get your message across should be integrated with your PR, sales, advertising and marketing campaigns.  By investing a very little amount of time creating a campaign like the Army did, you will be able to have additional content that will drive people to your website and keep them there!

More importantly you will be using your customers love and passion for your product to sell your product and develop leads for your sales team.

How would you use webcasting?

Be Sociable, Share!

No Comments »

No comments yet.

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.