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10 Ways Defense Contractors Can Succeed at Social Media Marketing

Defense contractors who use social media correctly can increase awareness, build brand loyalty and attract top talent.

Many defense contractors feel like they should jump on the social media bandwagon but aren't sure what to do.  Alternatively, others don't know quite what to do but have taken a "ready, fire, aim" approach, sometimes alienating the very groups they want to reach.

In a recent series in Forbes, the corporate world's best practices for social media are outlined.  Here is my summary as it relates to defense contractors.

  1. Be social. Social media is no place for the hard sell.  Think of social media as being at a friend's cocktail party. If you only talk about yourself, you'll be labeled a bore and left alone.  There's a place for business talk, but it needs to be weaved into the fabric of a two-way conversation.
  2. Be human.  Many companies have trouble coming out from behind their logos and showing some personality.  The more human that companies can appear in the digital age, the more they can differentiate themselves.
  3. Engage.  Communicate consistently and authentically, and don't worry so much about the number of followers.  You want engaged and loyal followers.  And make sure to respond when asked a questions or, more likely, when presented a problem or complaint.
  4. Commit.  It is better not to enter the social space than to enter it and then abandon your efforts there.  Before launching social media efforts, carefully analyze each site and make a firm commitment to staying engaged.
  5. Make sure there's adult supervision of your social media efforts.  Too many companies delegate their efforts to younger employees, even interns, who are familiar with social media but might not understand corporate strategy.
  6. Be a thought leader. "Information is the coin of the social media realm, and providing great information is exactly what can distinguish your brand on social media."
  7. Use appropriate caution.  Because of the speed with which social media can send a message, it's important not to be indiscreet.  Establish a company social media policy, and be mindful that legal action can result from some inappropriate behavior.
  8. Admit your mistakes.  If your company has made a mistake, a sincere apology along with actually fixing the problem will garner more fans.
  9. Convert the "likes" to love.  The more you can become critically involved in the lives of your followers, the greater the asset they become.
  10. Leverage your community. Give your followers enough to share so that their legions of followers can be introduced to follow you as well.

Click on the following link to read the full series, The 10 "Don'ts" of Corporate Social Media.

The Principal and Founder of Artillery, Douglas Burdett is a former artillery officer and Madison Avenue ad man. He also hosts The Marketing Book Podcast, where he interviews authors every week about the latest in modern marketing and sales.

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