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How Defense Contractors can Improve Public Relations Results with Social Media

Defense contractors who use social media for public relations can spread their messages exponentially farther, and immediately monitor and respond to what's being said about them.


While the formal practice of public relations has been around for over a century, in 1982 the Public Relations Society of America formally adopted a definition of public relations that remains accurate and accepted:

“Public relations helps an organization and its publics adapt mutually to each other.”

With social media, people now have one more platform from which to talk about defense contractors and their products and services.  What's different about social media, however, is its viral nature. When someone mentions your company in social media, what's being said (accurately or not) can be more noticeable and spread very quickly.

In a HubSpot whitepaper on leveraging social media for public relations success, several benefits derived from social media are outlined:

Generate Media Coverage - There are 3 primary ways that social media can boost your media relations efforts:

  1. Developing relationships. Social media (especially Twitter) enables you to interact directly with many journalists, bloggers and reporters.  By communicating with and helping these influencers, you can increase your company's chances of being top-of-mind.
  2. Pitching.  Social media enables you to follow what the influencers have been covering, and occasionally, what stories they are developing. Armed with that additional background, you can pitch more relevant and helpful story ideas.
  3. Creating interesting content. Using social media, a defense contractor can create interesting and even fun and entertaining content.  Publishing industry data and research that your company has fielded can be enormously effective.  This interesting content can be made available through social media channels such as a company blog and even a social media newsroom.

Social Media Monitoring & Crisis Communication - Social media monitoring is now a requirement for any PR professional.  But beyond just monitoring the conversations, social media enables a defense contractor to engage in the conversation and respond.  The greatest benefit to PR efforts, however, can be your ability to respond in a crisis communications situation by updating your publics early, often, and with transparency.

Awards & Speaking Engagements - Winning awards is a type of third party validation and can also be a great recruiting tool. Social media can extend the announcement of the award winning.  Similarly, social media can help promote upcoming speaking engagements of your key employees to underscore you company's thought leadership. Social media such as SlideShare, enable you to share the presentations afterward.

Customer Relations - Your customers are one of your most important "publics." Increasingly, customers are using social media to reach you (and journalists are watching and listening).

Employee Relations - Like it or not, a defense contractor's employees double as PR representatives. Being transparent and facilitating good employee relations is critical to maintaining worker trust and morale.  Social media tools such as internal wikis and corporate instant messaging can help.

Click here to download a free eBook from HubSpot, "How to Leverage Social Media for Public Relations Success," or view 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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