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    Armed forces social media ‘We need to revolutionize it’



    Story by Staff Sgt. Anthony Alcocer Castillo 

    335th Signal Command (Theater)

    Military influencers
    Armed forces social media ‘We need to revolutionize it’
    “At the @AFGlobalStrike Challenge, my #Airmen just won Best Bomber Maintenance Wing in @usairforce,” tweeted the B-2 Stealth Bomber Nov. 15, 2017.
    The voice behind the aircraft was Air Force Tech. Sgt. Corey V. Schuler, a San Antonio native, now an instructor at the Defense Information School, Fort Meade.
    In 2016, Schuler was part of the public affairs office on Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, and was given the task of growing the base’s Twitter following. Under the Twitter handle @Whiteman_AFB, he created the stealth aircraft’s personality.
    “It was fun trying to figure out what the personality of a plane should be,” said Schuler, “but also, being like an actor. Every time I had to tweet I had to be a B-2 Bomber.”
    The goal was to increase social media engagement and grow the social network’s reach. With the right plan in place, the public affairs members could use the platform to spread the command message and reach their followers in a faster and efficient way.
    Social media strategy is the key to enhance the way the military communicates its messages to its audience.
    Schuler said getting to know his audiences through the B-2’s personality allowed him to better inform and engage with them.
    He said that coming up with creative ways to keep the followers engaged is imperative to improve the way the military communicates with younger and more mobile generations.
    Brooksan Epiceno works in the faculty training and development office at DINFOS. She said the U.S. Marine Corps members have been very successful with their social media influence because they are not afraid to fail. They try different social platforms and monitor the engagements to determine what works.
    What the Marines learned from their posts was that the military will not be able to satisfy all audiences on every platform, but they manage to find what works best for their main target audience.
    “They were very good at strategizing what each platform is and who is on it,” said Epiceno. “The thing with social media that is really hard as a professional is that the thing that worked yesterday will not work tomorrow.”
    She said traditional journalism skills are not outdated, but the way the content is delivered changes constantly, and advises that the military needs to keep up with the rapid changes to ensure the message impacts the right audience.
    When she was a DINFOS instructor, Epiceno cautioned public affairs specialists about the ways social media can be detrimental to their careers if is not used in a professional way, something that Schuler also stresses when explaining how the military social media currency is its credibility.
    Schuler said private entities and other countries use social media to spread their message. He thinks the military should have public affairs specialists specially trained on how to launch, manage and maintain social media campaigns to combat misinformation from adversaries.
    Service members are the voice of the military, and for that reason, they can become fact checkers when misinformation is spread online, according to Schuler. Credibility and professionalism are key ingredients to keep that currency.
    Epicino and Schuler agree that the current generation of military story tellers and communicators need to train, understand and experiment with the massive outlet that social media provides. Strategizing on how to grow the following on this new medium is imperative for the military to effectively communicate the facts to the public.
    Combining the multiple communication platforms with the creativity and expertise acquired by public affairs professionals is the key to plant the military’s flag in the digital era.
    In order to catch up and be relevant on social media, “We need to revolutionize it,” said Schuler.



    Date Taken: 08.06.2019
    Date Posted: 02.15.2020 23:42
    Story ID: 363273
    Location: FORT MEADE, MD, US 
    Hometown: SAN ANTONIO, TX, US

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