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How Defense Contractors Should Respond To Critics on Social Media

Defense contractors will always be criticized by a vocal minority. That does not mean they should eschew social media. Here's how to respond.

Defense Contractor Social Media Response

Defense contractors are often the target of criticism. While they sell legally authorized products and services, they can’t shake the perception held by some of being evil merchants of death. And with the Internet and social media, critics of anything have megaphone.

And it’s not just defense contractors who are on the receiving end of social media attacks. Anyone associated with the industry is a target. Here’s an example of fire I’ve drawn:

Defense Industry Troll

I don’t mind it actually - as the youngest of four children, I’m still happy to get any kind of attention. (It gets worse - another anti-defense industry activist who was harassing me and some other defense industry people on social media was later arrested by the FBI on weapons charges.)

Sensitivity to social media criticism has a lot of defense contractors afraid to step up their social media activities. One of the most frequent social media questions I get from defense contractors is “What happens if someone criticizes us?” My response is “What do you mean ‘if’’? You’re already being criticized.”

Nature abhors a vacuum. The same goes for public relations and social media. If you are not part of the ongoing conversation of social media, you will be defined by your critics. That is just one of several reasons why defense contractors should engage on social media.

To help with that, Bplans has developed a handy Social Media Response Flowchart. The chart provides a detailed response strategy for every situation - good and bad. Keep in mind that your responses on social media should positively reflect your company’s mission and values.

And, in many instances you don’t need to respond to the haters. I don't.

Social-Media-Response-Tree Click to enlarge

photo credit: Hossam el-Hamalawy حسام الحملاوي via photopin cc

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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