Social media is key to communicating with troops

It’s no secret that the overwhelming majority of young people get their news from social media. Every day, the military’s public affairs machines strive to get their messages to the junior enlisted. Since most of that audience won’t ever read a newspaper, product promotion must be done online.

Marine Corporal Cedric Haller is a great example of the importance of harnessing social media. If a story airs on television he’ll never see it.

“I don’t own a television,” the 21-year-old Haller said. “There’s no way I’m paying a monthly bill to access something I can do immediately on the phone.”

U.S. Marines Twitter
The U.S. Army uses Instagram to deliver small bites of news in photo format.

And that brings up the second point, mobile compatibility. If a website doesn’t play well with a consumer’s cell phone or tablet, that’s a very bad thing. It’s something the military struggles with.

“Because you have an increased security requirement on these military sites, getting the proper plug-ins is more difficult,” said Carrie McLeroy, Chief of Army Production Web and Social Media. “We don’t have mobile-friendly sites where we should.”

Having recognized the power of social media, the United States military is slowly getting a grip on how to use the big three: Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They’ll be just in time for the next generation of applications.

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