Engagement and Participation: How the Navy Wrote the Handbook

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This weekly blog pinpoints huge happenings in the world of Federal government contracting. Check out more on our Twitter account: @RIVA_Solutions. And search our new hashtag, #FedBuzz, for daily updates and join the conversation! Weekly, we, here at RIVA Solutions, like to spotlight government agencies that are leading the way as part of the new social government. We profile the agencies, their public affairs officers, new media directors, web mavens and other gov communicators who give form to the messages that the agencies want to convey. Are you ready to learn about this week’s agency? Read on!

It is through fair assessment, that I say that today’s parents are frightened by the concept of their child joining the military. We all can foresee the time of peace; however, we are still fighting a very real war.

Because of this, the Navy has taken a different approach to social media. If you are familiar with this branch of the military or Department of Defense, then you know that it consists of several young men and women who are bravely sent out into the world defending the United States. What you may not know is how these units or commands stay connected to the US when they are thousands of miles away.

In the Fall of 2011, the Navy released their handbook detailing the intentions and purpose that the Navy foresees and the expectations for all of those who participate in Social Media or as they call it “Social Networking Sites” under the US Navy. The result is that there are hundreds of representations of the Navy across Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and blogs. There is some form or representation for the various commands across the globe and the various stations in the United States. There might not be a Facebook or Twitter page for every unit, yet. But they now have to the tools to create one.

Find out which units and commands are currently using Social Networking Site: http://www.navy.mil/media/smd.asp

The most impressive of the things that the Navy has done is create a social network for moms. The reason that they created such a network is because during recruitment, the reasons that potential sailors gave as a why they couldn’t join was because of their mothers. Because of the final word of the mothers, there Navy had a difficult time recruiting new members. So the Navy set out with a goal was to have a peer-to-peer element, Linabury said, “to let them have it out, no holds barred, good and bad” to help parents, mothers, to understand  what their children will be doing if they join the Navy.

The Navy and Campbell-Ewald chose to use Ning to create “Navy for Moms” because it allowed them to create a separate, private social network. Upon joining a Ning-created site, users are asked qualifying questions to make sure they fit the community. Linabury said that was an important element in deciding to use Ning, in addition to the fact that it was free at the time of the launch. “We were looking at communities that had a lot of features that Facebook had, that were cost-effective and scalable, but also included privacy,” Linabury said. “We liked that Ning gave you an opportunity to ask qualifying questions. The other communities didn’t offer that without custom code.”

After reaching 300 members only weeks after launch, the site now boasts more than 56,000 members. The site is still gaining over 100 new members a day. The Navy measures success by tracking whether mothers change their opinion of the Navy and have a child join.“When we started getting recruits in Boston for the first time, we were able to prove ROI and prove that this worked,” Linabury said.

Learn more about the “Navy for Moms” at http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1008838&R=1008838

You can connect with the Navy at

Facebook: USNavy
Twitter: USNavy
YouTube: USNavy
Flickr: USNavy
Blog: USNavy Blog

To connect with any of the Fleets, Naval Academy, Units, Commands, or Bases, go to http://www.navy.mil/media/smd.asp

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