U.S. Navy Facebook Virtual Capture the Flag game SOCIAL MEDIA CASE STUDY
Goal: Increase awareness of various Navy commands and their missions, increase fan engagement, grow command level audience, and increase Navy wide social media proficiency and use. *Actual fans were counted prior to the CtF game announcement and when they were eliminated. Not all new fans can be attributed to the CtF game. ** NECC was the CtF winner and was tagged on the U.S. Navy FB page Sept. 5-7 resulting in an significant increase in fans. Participating Commands (+ new FB fans, %)* Norfolk Naval Shipyard (+448, 20.9%) Surface Warriors (+216, 4%) Pacific Fleet (+532, 4.2%) NAS Pensacola Public Affairs (+315, 65%) Commander SUB Force Atlantic (+140, 13%) Naval Air Forces (+338, 2.6%) Navy Expeditionary Combat Command (+1137, 27.7%)** Navy Health Clinic New England (+50, 6%) Naval Facilities Engineering Command (+65, 2%) US Navy Life (+872, 2.3%) Naval Sea Systems Command (+325, 34%)
How to Play: The game ran August 22 – 25 on the U.S. Navy Facebook page with ( www.facebook.com/USNavy ) as the host and referee. Hurricane Irene caused a game delay of the championship between Navy Sea Systems Command and Navy Expeditionary Combat Command until Sep. 2.
On August 16 participating commands posted the designated “I’m Playing Capture the Flag, Team: BLANK” as the profile picture for their page. They requested that fans interested in playing on the command’s team upload the same picture as a profile picture
Commands began by posting their first “flag” at 0800 local for that command. The flags were premade and submitted to CHINFO’s Emerging Media Integration Team by 1600 EST August 1. The flag is a jpg uploaded as a photo to the Facebook page.
The game is played as fans “Comment” and “Like” the flags. Defending a team’s flag with a “Comment” and attacking the opponent’s flag by “Liking” their flag. At 2000 local each command’s comments/likes were tallied. A select number of commands with the most likes (attacks) were eliminated and the rest continued on to the next day of play.
On Day 2 at 0800 local the command posted their 2 nd flag (different message from the previous day’s flag). And the game continued. The U.S. Navy page announced each evening which commands were eliminated and which are still in the running.
Commands still in the game on the final day post their final flag at 0800 local Sep. 2. The comments/likes were tallied at 1200 EDT and the U.S. Navy page announced the winning team.
Prizes*: The winning command will be featured on the official U.S. Navy Facebook page profile picture for the Navy Facebook page the week following the game. Plus, bragging rights!
*Please note none of the prizes had monetary value due to government restrictions
Creating the “flags” The game winner! Some commands took some liberty with the flag design.
Commands were given a generic “flag” to customize by adding their command mission.
The generic flag served as a common background so that players could know which commands were playing.
Five unique flags were requested, in case the team made it to the fifth and last day of play.
From this To this
Friendly competition between commands encouraged engagement and excitement Facebook, Twitter and You Tube platforms were used to enhance awareness of the game Commands promoted themselves to their own fans and U.S. Navy Facebook fans
Team spirit was evident from the fans Some fans got creative with their comments to defend their flag. NAVSEA! Some fans were confused about where to comment; command FB administrators monitored their fans and helped them play.
Championship was delayed by Irene And then real world events trumped the game ….
Feedback Best part was obviously the gain in fans and ability to get people excited about your Facebook page and spread information. Our fans are now using our wall as a way to communicate with each other. It was excellent timing with Hurricane Irene because we gained more fans so we had more people to communicate with about the storm and to provide status updates . --Brienne Lang, NAVSEA Would have liked to see the participating commands tagged often and early on the Navy Facebook page to increase our exposure… tagging saves folks from having to do a search for the commands on Facebook. --Chuck Bell, PACFLT For our command I do think it helped to show we have a valuable communication tool and I have noticed more active participation because of this- -I think this is great and I hope to keep up the momentum.– Jennifer Zingalie , Norfolk Naval Shipyard I think the game helped some leaders gain a better understanding for how the social media channel can be used to reach the masses . --Jeannine Bennett, Navy Expeditionary Combat Command
Cross-promotion of Navy pages introduced different audiences to new commands and their missions, telling a more well-rounded Navy story
Encouraged commands to activate fans so that when we need that communication channel (e.g. during Hurricane Irene), the community was already actively listening and engaging with that command
3,802 new likes on Navy Command’s Facebook pages
Hundreds of comments on participating teams’ Facebook pages during first four days of game
Significant increases in engagement and “likes” for many of the participating command FB pages
Results Lessons Learned
Planning and coordination is key. There are many steps including coordinating with the commands to create the flags, explaining the rules of the game, managing the game as it is played, answering questions during game play, and finally counting attacks/defends at the end of the game play each night. Don’t skimp on this step.
You’re in the Zone. It’s difficult to play a game with 11 commands in four time zones. It was confusing, but there may not be another way to make it fair.
Nevermind! Don’t ask fans to upload the CtF graphic as their profile pic. Few fans did it.
Make it easy for the fans. Attacking by “liking” a page may be counterintuitive to game play strategy. However, having “comments” as attacks would have resulted in negativity on the command FB page. Done this way, the Defends were positive support for the command. However, if reversed and Attack with comments in the future, only use the word “Attack” to stop negativity.