“FLOOD WATERS ARE RISING. Civilians are stranded. The governor has declared a state of emergency. You’re getting dropped right in the middle of it.”
Indeed you are, with a new Web page aimed at boosting recruitment to the Army National Guard. The site combines cutting-edge graphics with public information from visitors’ Facebook accounts to get visitors more involved.
The “Moments of Pride” landing page (www.nationalguard.com/momentsofpride) mixes documentary and staged footage of TV reports and uses the visitor’s name, location, friends list and photo to give a personal spin to the narrative, including text messages supposedly from a name off the visitor’s actual Facebook friends list and a “hero” headline in the paper complete with name and photo.
The Army National Guard has developed great strength in social media and online video in recent years, says Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bonny Bell, ranking second on Facebook among government-sponsored sites. “We’ve figured out social media,” Bell says.
The Guard’s marketing department did research about all the calls to action that might motivate young people to join — career advancement, money for college, etc. Ultimately, they decided that prospects would be most engaged by the chance to help their neighbors in need; working with marketing agency Red Peg and Web developer Team Lucid, Bell’s department put that message into action.
While the site educates the general public about the Army National Guard’s rescue capabilities, its main purpose is to drive recruiting by helping young people visualize themselves in the service, and Bell says so far it has performed well. In the month after the campaign’s April 5 launch, the Guard saw almost 20,000 click-throughs from its Facebook page to the “Moments of Pride” page, and of those, more than 100 visitors were engaged enough to fill out a recruiter contact card.
The Guard has two marketing aims for the near future: to reach 500,000 fans on Facebook and to keep those fans involved and returning to the site. “Social media is giving us a great return on our investment, and we will definitely turn to it again,” Bell says. “We have to be where our demographics are.”
Got a Web tip to share? Contact Brian Quinton at firstname.lastname@example.org