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Andy’s Answers: How the Navy uses social media to create news instead of respond to it

2 min read

Brands & Campaigns

Whenever there’s a military crisis, a natural disaster or a major relief effort going on, you can assume the U.S. Navy is there.

This international spotlight means communications officers are constantly working to communicate with their diverse audience of 328,000 sailors, families, the media and Congress.

In his recent BlogWell case study, the Navy’s David Werner focused on how social media allow the military branch to change the way it communicates. Instead of responding to the media, such tools allow the Navy to be proactive and drive the news cycle.

A few of Werner’s take-aways:

Free your local offices. The Navy doesn’t rely on one node to control social media — it counts on all levels to be involved. Werner encouraged brands with local offices to take the handcuffs off and let them engage in similar ways.

You can’t control the ocean of conversation, but you can navigate it. Werner said the Navy realizes it can’t control opinions or conversations, but it is figuring out how to create immediate and long-term effects by “riding” the wave of conversation and adding its voice.

Social media are more forgiving. Werner found through his experience that the audience in social media is much more willing to learn, listen and forgive than that of traditional media — if you’re committed to being credible, authentic and transparent.

Watch Werner’s case study. Slides are available.