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How a Defense Contractor's Social Media Can Soar Like the U.S. Air Force

Defense contractors who adopt top-flight social media policies and best practices can raise their profile, enlist supporters, counter detractors, recruit top talent and grow their business.

5964755888_827af510a3_z.jpgphoto credit: Air Combat Command via photo pin cc


In a recent DefenceIQ study on the use of social media by the defense industry, defense contractors indicated that they plan to increase their use of social media.

To defense contractors, the benefits of increased social media use include improved brand awareness, recruitment, thought leadership and media relations.

However, defense contractors, like any businesses, have justifiable hesitation and concern about confidentiality. Also, because of limited understanding and skill sets, many defense contractors have not fully embraced social media.

In my talks with defense contractors (and as verified in the DefenceIQ study), many defense contractors want to utilize more social media, but don't know how to get started.

Fortunately, defense contractors need look no further for social media guidance than from one of their biggest customers: the U.S. Air Force.  In a 41-page eBook, "Navigating the Social Network: The Air Force Guide to Effective Social Media Use," step-by-step guidance is offered to help all Airmen safely and wisely use social media to help share the Air Force story.

In the guide, the benefits of social media, as well as how to handle issues such as operational security are outlined. The guide includes detailed explanations on setting up a social media program, as well as FAQs such as these two which are directly applicable to defense contractors:

Why should my organization use social media?

Social media is a very influential communication tool that many people use to find and share news and information. Your organization should use social media because people who are interested in you are already using it. Social media allows you instant feedback from your audience and gives you a direct communication line to it. Don’t underestimate the ability of your audience to share your news with an even larger audience by sharing it with their friends and family online.

I'm afraid to use social media. What if people make negative comments?

Negative comments are acceptable. Allow your audience to openly communicate with you, so you can address concerns. This fosters an environment of open communication, which is essential to earning and maintaining public support of your people and mission. You have the ability to moderate comments by putting a comment policy in place and consistently enforcing it.

The guide includes a detailed overview of the most popular social media tools and how best to use them

The guide also contains a glossary of social media terms, including my favorite:

Troll - A hurtful, but possibly valuable, person who, for whatever reason, is both obsessed by and constantly annoyed with, and deeply offended by everything you write on your site. One may not be able to stop the commenting of trolls on your site. You can’t ban them from commenting on other sites and pointing back to the page, and they can’t be banned from posting things on their own page that point back to your site.

QUESTION: What barriers to social media adoption is your organization facing?

Click here to download a copy of "Navigating the Social Network: The Air Force Guide to Effective Social Media Use" or see the SlideShare presentation below.

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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