How the National Guard is using social media


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I prepared this presentation in January, 2010 as a means for convincing the leadership of the Georgia National Guard that, not only are social media valuable, but that NGB had already been capitalizing on them.

The content of this presentation aims at showing "technology immigrants" what the mysterious world of social media is all about, and how it was/is providing tangible benefit to NGB’s public affairs outreach.

*Slide 18 looks muddled because it's layered - as the presentation is meant to be clicked-through (text bubble by text bubble...)

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How the National Guard is using social media

  1. 1. The Benefits and Features of <br />Social Media Use<br />
  2. 2. The Primary Social Media Tools<br /><ul><li>Facebook: An online community for people to connect with others and share videos, pictures and information
  3. 3. Twitter: a “microblogging” service where users frequently “follow” friends as a means for aggregating news, links and information
  4. 4. YouTube: the foremost online service for uploading and sharing videos. Users can subscribe to “channels,” and “add friends”
  5. 5. MySpace: a social networking site known mostly for its multimedia functions and customizability, which make it uniquely suited as a multimedia aggregate
  6. 6. Flickr: an online photo management and sharing application
  7. 7. Digg: the premier social bookmarking service that allows users to create accounts and “digg” stories they like – the more “diggs” a story gets, the more exposure it gets through the website
  8. 8. Wikipedia: the primary online encyclopedia with socially generated and edited content
  9. 9. LinkedIn: a networking site aimed primarily at business interaction and professional relationships
  10. 10. Blogs: websites with items of content in reverse chronological order which often allow commenting</li></li></ul><li>Glossary of Key Social Media Terms<br />Content - text, pictures, video and any other meaningful material that is on the Internet<br />Community - group of people using a social medium<br />Democratization - process by which a community decides what content it likes best<br />Direct Message - a private message (much like an e-mail) exchanged between two individuals<br />Feed - means by which you can read, view or listen to items from blogs and other RSS-enabled sites without actually visiting the source site<br />Feed Aggregator - streams all syndicated content to which a user is subscribed into a single, easy to read, location <br />Forums - discussion areas on websites<br />Friends - contacts whose profile you link to in your profile and vise versa<br />Groundswell - a social trend in which people use technologies to get the things they need from each other, rather than from traditional institutions like corporations<br />Groups - collections of individuals with some sense of unity through their activities, interests or values<br />Hashtag - Similar to regular tags, these are keywords associated and assigned to an item of content with a hash mark (#) attached to the front of the word. Hashtags make it easier to follow a topic of interest discussed on Twitter<br />Integration - making your social media accessible and visible; i.e. sharing your other social media links on each social medium <br />Microblogging - form of blogging where the entries/posts are limited to a certain amount of characters or words, i.e. Twitter.<br />Multimedia - media and content in different forms such as videos, pictures, etc. Examples include YouTube and Flickr<br />Online Presence - whether you show up when someone does a search for your organization or terms relating to your organization, and whether you are available for contact through social media<br />Opinion Leader - a person specialized in a specific subject matter and highly recognized within an online community as having the ability to sway others’ thoughts; frequently used as a reference<br />
  11. 11. Glossary of Key Social Media Terms<br />Photosharing - uploading images to a website like Flicker, which allows you to add tags and offer people the opportunity to comment or even re-use your photos<br />Post - an independent item on a blog or forum<br />@Reply - a tweet on Twitter which is directed toward another Twitter user (viewable by both that user and the general public) <br />Retweet - a reposting of another person’s tweet<br />RSS - “Really Simple Syndication” allows you to subscribe to content on blogs and other social media and have it delivered directly through a feed<br />Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – process of improving volume and quality of traffic to a website from search engines via search results (relative to search engine’s algorithm) <br />Sharing - offering other people the use of your text, images, video, bookmarks or other content<br />Social Bookmarking - method for people to search, organize, store and share items (i.e. blog posts, online articles, pictures, etc.)<br />Social Media - term used to describe tools and platforms people use to produce, publish and share online content and to interact with one another<br />Social Networking - creating profiles on social media and then socializing with others through a range of social media tools including blogs, video, images, tagging, lists of friends, forums, messaging, etc.<br />Synching - setting up your social media such that you can post something on one medium and that content will automatically post to all other social media<br />Tags - keywords attached to a blog post, bookmark, photo or other item of content so you and others can find them easily through searches and aggregation<br />Threads are strands of conversation<br />Tweet - a post/entry made on Twitter<br />Widget - stand-alone application you can embed into a website<br />
  12. 12. National Guard Bureau’s Use of Social Media<br />National Guard Bureau PAO is already heavily involved with the major social media and generating significant interest<br />More than 210,000 friends on Facebook<br />More than 3,100 followers on Twitter<br />More than 1,800 subscribers and 6,745,000 views on the National Guard’s YouTube channel<br />More than 1,100 comments and 14,300 friends on MySpace<br />More than 2,500 images uploaded and almost 100 contacts on Flickr<br />Here are some of the features of the major social media services being utilized by the NGB…<br />
  13. 13. Make a Facebook profile…<br />Post links, images, videos and comments…<br />Those who like the content you post will respond!<br />Increase your reach!<br />
  14. 14. Make a Twitter profile…<br />Increase your reach!<br />“Retweet” relevant content<br />Tweet links for all of your followers to see<br />Reply directly to your followers<br />
  15. 15. Make a Youtube profile…<br />Provide your fans with a way to post your videos on their site<br />Post videos to tell your story visually<br />Get feedback!<br />Get exposure!<br />
  16. 16. Make a Flickr profile…<br />Upload, label and tag photos…<br />Reach a new audience in a new way!<br />
  17. 17. Make a MySpace profile…<br />Blog integration<br />Image Stream<br />Promotional Wallpapers<br />Music and MP3s<br />Live Interaction<br />Recruiting!<br />Increased Reach<br />Social Media Integration<br />Videos<br />News Feed<br />Advertisements<br />
  18. 18. Blog<br />The NGB does not currently have a blog on its website, but it does have a blog on its MySpace page…<br />Blog links provide yet another way to drive traffic to your main site<br />Simple and informal formatting; Previously released/declassified content can easily be repurposed as blog content<br />Blogs allow viewers to add their comments directly to the content<br />
  19. 19. RSS Feed<br />The RSS feed lets widgets, which can be embedded onto other websites, automatically update with your most recent content<br />An RSS feed allows people to “subscribe” to your content<br />Each new item you post goes from your site, to the RSS Feed, to their feed aggregator<br />
  20. 20. The ROI on the National Guard’s Social Media Use<br />The National Guard began its full-fledged use of social media Feb. 2009. Notice the (sustained!) change in web traffic within a month of its social media engagement…<br />This is what can happen to your website traffic after you effectively engage social media<br />
  21. 21. What the Guard Audience Wants from Social Media<br /> *Pulled from on Jan. 8, 2010<br />But found on Facebook!<br />
  22. 22. Social Media the National GuardIsn’t Using but Probably Should<br />There is a NG Digg account, but there has been no activity with it<br />Nonetheless, there have been over 2,500 articles submitted to Digg with the National Guard mentioned. <br />Of those, ten received more than 1,000 diggs<br />25 received more than 500 diggs<br />58 received more than 100 diggs<br />And 105 received more than 50 diggs<br />Articles about the National Guard Submitted on Digg:<br />
  23. 23. Social Media the National GuardIsn’t Using but Probably Should<br />There is also a Wikipedia page for the National Guard, which appears as the 5th result in a Google search for “National Guard,” but has been entirely put together by individuals who likely have no official relationship with the Guard<br />In the first ten days of Jan. 2010 alone, this Wikipedia article has attracted more than 7,200 views<br />
  24. 24. Social Media the National GuardIsn’t Using but Probably Should<br />There are also several (seemingly) unofficial National Guard groups on LinkedIn, none of which have more than a few hundred members despite the fact that there are more than 10,000 employees of the National Guard currently using LinkedIn<br />There is a disconnect between those inherently interested in the Guard on LinkedIn and those being engaged by the Guard on LinkedIn<br />
  25. 25. So We Want to “Do Social Media.”What Does that Mean?<br />The ultimate purpose and task of social media engagement is to control our messaging - what’s being said to whom and in what way? Part of being able to answer this question is understanding and optimizing the extensive reach social media offers.<br />Repackaging and repurposing content to drive traffic to the organization’s website and to increase user engagement by asking users to discuss the organization/brand in new ways, allowing us to use that feedback in various public affairs initiatives.<br />Because social media websites generate so much traffic and viewership, social media initiatives must be frequently reviewed and adapted for SEO optimization.<br />Considered the most basic social media goal, the point is to create brand advocates by allowing users to engage with the brand in a more personal way. This aspect of any social media initiative requires constant participation – with an active and consistent voice of the brand.<br />Locating communities which are already talking about the brand requires substantial listening and searching. After locating the community, relationship building can begin<br />The ‘insurance’ against unhappy or unsatisfied audiences, this level of social media customer service ensures that issues are dealt with ASAP.<br />*Images and Points pulled from The Jordan Rules<br />
  26. 26. What About the Sections of Our Audience Who Don’t Use Social Media?<br />Even if they aren’t online, the people they trust and look to for advice (i.e. “opinion leaders” or “influencers”) might be<br />We can collect valuable feedback on internal and public opinion of the organization - using social media as a business intelligence gathering tool is an important reason to participate<br />If they aren't online, we can still endear our brand with a new audience without alienating our current or prior audiences<br />Influential publications often pick up stories which make use of social media – we can use social media to get in front of our audiences via traditional media<br />If they are online but not involved with social media, they’ll still likely be using search engines - we can ensure our brand obtains search engine (result) dominance through the use of social media<br />If they visit our website; we can increase engagement by integrating real-time content fed to the site via social media tools<br />If we’re already communicating with them online, we can introduce them to our social media presence as an added value proposition<br />*Image and Points pulled from The Jordan Rules<br />
  27. 27. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)<br /><ul><li> Search engines (Google, Yahoo!, MSN, etc.) have a formula they use to determine how they will list the results of a given search
  28. 28. Included in any formula are several variables, each weighted differently than the others. Here are the primary variables:
  29. 29. How frequently and prominently the search terms are featured on the website
  30. 30. The diversity, quality and quantity of inbound and outbound links on the website
  31. 31. How much traffic the website generates
  32. 32. How frequently the website is updated
  33. 33. SEO is simply the process of understanding these variables and their relative importance and then adjusting our outreach accordingly such that our website generates the most traffic (i.e. exposure) possible</li></li></ul><li> How Social Media Affects<br />Social media content, in and of itself, can serve as a primary result in an online search (because of the high traffic rate of most social media websites)<br />The more social media an organization use, the more primary search results it will control<br />For example, an organization which uses a half dozen major social media will likely have their social media profiles appear in any online search for their organization – thus giving them additional control over the primary content one views when trying to learn about that organization (i.e. message control!)<br />Social media drive traffic to an organization’s website<br />Social media create conversations and buzz which can influence someone’s use of keywords in online searches, just like traditional advertising and public relations do<br />Providing useful information and provoking discussion through social media drives people to search for more formal information about the organization<br />Socially enabling content facilitates the distribution of that content within social communities – driving even more traffic toward the source of the content (the organization’s website)<br />
  34. 34. ROI<br />The ROI of social media engagement is significant and certain:<br />Direct access to those who choose to interact with us on social media<br />Making ourselves more accessible to those interested in the Georgia National Guard and building a relationship with them (i.e. building brand loyalty)<br />Access to opinion leaders who can reach and/or get the attention of communities or other opinion leaders we can’t<br />Search engine optimization (SEO)<br />Further controlling our messaging and brand<br />More Americans (40%) get their news and information from online sources than do those who get their info from print publications (35%), and the reach of the major social media far eclipses that of even the elite traditional media – so, social media provide us with a greater potential to reach more people more effectively (PEW Research)<br />Providing ourselves with a greater capacity to effectively handle our preexisting duties of public affairs, public relations and crisis communication<br />
  35. 35. Conclusion<br />Social media are already effectively used by the NGB and several state Guard entities, and we should follow suit – or even surpass their efforts and lead the way with an innovative integrated marketing strategy that optimally mixes traditional and new media outreach<br />Engaging these media will add immeasurable benefit to our external and internal communications – think of them as “combat enablers,” in a sense, which enhance our organizational readiness<br />People have come to expect an organization of the Georgia Guard’s size and importance to do more with social media than simply set up a few accounts and infrequently post content to them<br />People, within the organization and outside of it, hunger for activity, immediacy, novelty and responsiveness from the Georgia National Guard PAO<br /> Social media allow us to provide all of this and more<br />“Once a new technology starts rolling, if you're not part of the steamroller, you're part of the road.”<br />--Stewart Brand<br />