Today, I had a chance to do that. I want to share some of their questions and my recommendations.
I’m taking over my command’s social media sites. What should I do now?
Ensure your site is registered with the Navy’s Social Media Directory and you are the point of contact for it. Make sure it has the required disclaimer text. Then, contact the Navy’s Emerging Media Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-614-9154. Relationships matter. Establish one early.
I don’t have a social media team. What should I do?
Make your social media a part of your routine. Set a reminder to check your social media presences throughout the day (i.e. in the morning, before lunch, before you leave work, and in the middle of the evening after work). Also, set aside time each week to plan your social media. Tell yourself this is my time to focus on social media. You can also schedule your content, but don’t become dependent on this – only use it when you need to schedule (i.e. being in a meeting or truly unable to post). It is easy to automate your social media. If you do that, your social media presence will quickly feel robotic and disconnected from your audience. Social media should be social. So, make sure you’re doing more than just posting content. Listen and have a conversation.
What social media networks should my command use?
Again, the answer is different for everyone. Ask yourself these questions:
How often should I share content?
This answer is different for everyone. For the Navy, we post about four times a day on Facebook. However, not everyone has the content or staff to do that. I believe quality is more important than quantity. I recommend at least posting once a day. Post twice a day if you have the content and resources. However, just don’t post content to post content. Make sure it is relevant and appropriate for your community.
How should a local command use social media in a crisis?
Apply the SAPP principle:
These are the same principles that you would use when responding to a media query. Social media is a communication tool.
Especially, in a crisis, there can be desire to put “something out there.” Work with your release authority and make sure it passes the SAPP test.
There should be a unified voice. In the event of a crisis that has the potential for national or international interest, contact your higher headquarters to ensure the Navy News Desk (703-697-5342) and Emerging Media Team (703-614-9154) have situational awareness and a point of contact on your team.
For more, read “What @USNavy Learned from the Washington Navy Yard Shooting.”
Which metrics are important and how can I get them?
This answer is different for each command. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish:
Most social networks offer free analytics built into them. Facebook offers Insights to pages with at least 30 likes. Twitter offers Twitter Analytics; email email@example.com to request that Twitter verifies your account. YouTube Analytics is available at http://www.youtube.com/analytics. On YouTube, it is easy to say a video has been played a certain number of times. Pay attention to your drop-off rate (how long are people watching the video).
Don’t just focus on the numbers; examine what can’t be counted (i.e. what is the tone).
My social media site doesn’t have a big audience. What can I do?
Cross promote it. Make sure it is on your news releases. Make sure it is in your signature line. Include links on your website. If you build it, people will come - if you let them know about it and you’re using it correctly.
What if I need help, have a question, or have an idea for content?
Contact the Navy’s Emerging Media Team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-614-9154.
The public and private sector – including Twitter – cited the U.S. Navy’s use of Twitter during and after the Washington Navy Yard shooting as a best practice to keep the public up-to-date during a fast-moving news situation.
In its analysis, Twitter found @USNavy became the “official source of information for followers and the media,” and guided the online conversation by creating the hashtag #NavyYardShooting, which resulted in 1,900 related tweets per minute at the peak of the story.
Sandy Gall, a member of the Navy’s Emerging Media Team and a part of the Navy’s response on Twitter, shares what the team learned from its crisis communication.
Relationships you’re building today will pay dividends later. It is something that Navy Chief of Information Rear Adm. John Kirby emphasizes. Don’t wait for something big to happen to get familiar with the public affairs officer in charge of media queries, build relationships on Twitter with your local media, know who your social media influencers are and communicate with them often. If you wait until you need someone to get to know him or her and how he or she works, you’ve waited too long.
Have a well-trained team. Be comfortable using Twitter before a crisis occurs. Even if you’re the Twitter person on your team, make sure the rest of your public affairs colleagues understand how to use the platform. For the Navy Yard incident, we had four people dedicated to various Twitter related tasks. So, set up a training session, have your colleague sit beside you when you draft tweets, and recommend some reading. Make sure you have people in your office, other than yourself, that you trust to tweet on behalf of your command. You never know when you will need the help.
Be able to react quickly. The first step in a crisis situation is confirmation. You may not know all the details, and that’s okay, but the people involved and the media are starving for information. The days of waiting for that perfectly polished press release are over. News is happening and it’s happening now.
Instead of waiting to release a statement until you have the full story, ask yourself, “What do you know now?” This is where being a trusted advisor is critical. Talk to leadership and emphasize the need to get out ahead of the press release. For the Washington Navy Yard shooting, we knew there was an active shooter, we knew the location and we knew about our people. The ability to tweet that information – even before the full press release was created – helped to frame the story and controlled misinformation.
Sending tweets is only half of your job. Twitter is complex. A lot is happening all the time and it’s hard to keep up without diligently monitoring. The @USNavy team has several established monitoring streams that it checks multiple times throughout the day, but in an instance like the Washington Navy Yard shooting, they weren’t enough. I recommend setting up the following streams that you and your team should monitor daily:
In a crisis situation, we adapt and add streams based on how people are talking about the incident. During the shooting, we started the hashtag #NavyYardShooting to make it easier to track conversations about the event, but we also monitored mentions of “Navy + shooting.”
One voice. When something of this scale happens, it’s best to present one, united and informed Navy voice to the public. There will be a lot of questions. People will dig for information. It’s your job to identify the right voice. Identifying the appropriate spokesperson and directing people to that person is your job and will, again, go a long way to help minimize misinformation.
During the shooting, @USNavy was the “digital spokesperson” for the most part, but conflicting reports occurred from on-scene accounts. Some of these reports were untrue or unconfirmed at the time. Multiple Navy spokespersons were then quoted causing confusion and made @USNavy tweets appear uncoordinated.
Have a plan. Crisis situations often follow a bell curve. As you can see in the graph, there was a point where conversations minimized. When that occurs, there isn’t a need to post minute-by-minute updates, but you should still be an active participant in the conversations.
For days following the shooting, there were spikes in conversations when new information was released. However, there will still be people wanting more information. Continue to monitor and be ready to direct people to the correct point of contact for more information on your topic.
Editor’s note: Twitter’s analysis is available at https://media.twitter.com/success/tweeting-a-breaking-news-story.
There are many different ways to measure your online engagement – comments, likes, shares, favorites, retweets, views and +1. Your click-through rate is another way. If you post content with a link, you want your audience to visit it. But how do you know if you’re accomplishing that goal? Use short links.
You’ve probably seen them – especially if you use Twitter. Some examples are below:
Short link services such as bit.ly, goo.gl and ow.ly convert long links to – you’ve guessed it – short links. Besides being easier to share, short links allow you to count how many people are clicking on your links.
Most short link providers allow registered users to login to their website to see how many people have clicked on links. Social media monitoring and publishing platforms that integrate with a link shortener also offer this information. Some short link providers even tell you when users clicked on your link. This information is important if you want to determine when your content is most engaging.
You can convert .gov or .mil URLs into trustworthy 1.USA.Gov shortlinks thanks to the General Services Administration’s collaboration with Bitly.com. You can do this through Bitly.com’s website or any tool that integrates with Bitly. Just enter the .gov or .mil link and USA.gov will shorten it into a 1.USA.Gov short link.
If one of your Navy.mil links doesn’t convert to a 1.USA.gov link, send an email to USNSocialMedia@gmail.com and let the Navy’s Emerging Media team know about it. We recently provided GSA with a list of Navy.mil URLs that weren’t already in its system.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email or call us at 703-614-9154.
What is Instagram?
It is a mobile app where 150 million users are sharing photos and, now as of this summer, videos each month.
Social media continues to be a visual experience. Instagram allows users to share the world through their eyes. Each day, 55 million photos are shared on Instagram.
Why is the Navy on Instagram?
The Navy is a visual organization; just look at the images posted on Navy.mil from around the world. We operate forward. Instagram allows us to share our Sailors’ world through their eyes as captured by our public affairs officers and mass communication specialists.
How is the Navy using Instagram?
We’re using it to share compelling imagery. I want to emphasis compelling imagery. Like the rest of social media, quality is more important than quantity.
We’re sharing short blurbs of information about the photo rather than the entire Navy.mil caption. Why? Instagram users scroll through the app. It’s important to grab their attention with the compelling image and share enough information before they scroll to the next image.
Here’s an example:
Now, here’s the original Navy.mil caption:
GUIUAN, Eastern Samar Province, Republic of the Philippines (Nov. 16, 2013) Sailors wait to board three helicopters to return to the U.S. Navy’s forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) after delivering food, water and other humanitarian supplies in support of Operation Damayan. The George Washington Strike Group supports the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade to assist the Philippine government in response to the aftermath of the Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Republic of the Philippines. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Paolo Bayas/Released)
See the difference? Social media content should be social.
Notice Instagram uses hashtags too, and notice the first hashtag that we use at the end of each photo description - #NoFilter.
While filters are an important part of Instagram, DoD Instruction 5040.02 (Visual Information) prohibits the alteration of official DoD images by adding, changing, or removing of individuals, equipment, scenery, or the unrealistic changing of color or light.
Should every command have an Instagram account?
No. Social media presences need to have a purpose and they need to be sustainable with both content and staffing.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Navy’s Emerging Media team at email@example.com or 703-614-9154.
The Navy’s social media directory has been updated.
The directory, which now has a refreshed look, can now accept registration requests for Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, SlideShare, LinkedIn, Storify, Tumblr, Vine and MySpace, as well as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, blogs, and YouTube.
Does this mean that Navy units should start up presences on all of these sites? No. Some commands don’t need a social media site. Most commands don’t need more than one or two presences - if they are being used effectively.
Each social network is different. Whether you are responsible for your unit’s social media site or you are considering starting one, be sure to ask yourself:
If you those answers guide you to deciding that you want to establish a presence, be sure to visit www.navy.mil/CommandDirectory.asp to review the registration checklist before requesting registration on the Navy’s Social Media Directory.
Remember that registration and approval through CHINFO is required for all official Navy social media sites (ALNAV 056/10).
If you decide that your unit no longer needs a social media site, there’s nothing wrong with that. Please contact the emerging media team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-614-9154. We’ll discuss how to properly retire it.
By Cristina Crawford
Over the summer, I interned for the Navy Office of Information as a college student from Virginia with no connection to the military.
What does it feel like to be an outsider working on the inside? There’s one word to describe it – confusing.
Coming into this experience, I had no idea what to expect. At first, I was completely and utterly clueless on the ranks, ratings and daily military jargon, and let’s not even mention trying to find my way around the Pentagon.
But after my 10-week internship, I’ve definitely learned a thing or two. Now I am obviously no expert, but I’m here to share some best practices in the communications field that I’ve witnessed here from an outsider perspective.
Social media is one of the ways that Navy Media Content Services tells the Navy’s story. Navy Media Content Services takes stories, photographs and videos and shares them with the public. It creates a two-way conversation between the Navy and the rest of the world to answer questions, explain issues and tell what’s happening in America’s Navy.
So here are some best practices that I learned:
So, after 10 weeks here, I may still technically be an outsider, but I certainly don’t feel like one. This summer made me feel apart of something bigger, and I’ve personally seen how great a job the Navy does to communicate to the world what its capabilities.
If you take away one thing from this blog, it is don’t be afraid to share, even the simple things. Communication is all about engagement.
By Lt. j.g. Eric Durie
Social media continues to evolve as an increasingly more visual experience. However, like most things online, not everything is worth posting. So before you post what you think is a great photo, use the acronym SHARE to help decide whether you should hit that upload button.
STRIKING. It may seem basic, but if you want your photo to get attention in the social media world, it needs to be something worth your audience’s attention. A great photo is a great photo. You know one when you see it. So, if you have one, share it. If your photo is striking and immediately grabs your audience’s attention, it is most likely going to play well regardless of which medium you present it through.
HISTORICAL. If the photo that you want to share via your social media channels has some historical value, your audience will likely connect with it. People like to feel they are taking part in history. Sharing or liking a photo can provide your followers with a feeling of taking part in something bigger than themselves. If you have such a photo, by all means, post it and let your audience participate. They’ll thank you for the opportunity.
ACTION INSPIRING. On Facebook, photos attract 53 percent more “likes” than text-only posts and links according to a study by the marketing company HubSpot. This statistic should not come as a surprise to anyone. Think about your personal use of social media. Are you more likely to pay attention to an eye-catching photo or a block of text? Hopefully, you answered eye-catching photo. To that end, ensure the photos you are posting on any of your social media sites are powerful and interesting enough to initiate action. Is your photo worth sharing, liking, retweeting, etc.? If not, it’s probably not worth posting in the first place.
RELEVANT. While they can be entertaining, photos of animals in costumes don’t really play well with our audience. The bottom line is that photos you post on your official social media channels need to be relevant. If the content you’re posting has nothing to do with your organization or an issue you’re dealing with, don’t post it. You don’t want to negatively impact the credibility of any of your platforms.
EMOTIONAL. On social media, the posts that capture the most attention are the ones that create an emotional response. Whether it is pride, happiness, sadness, anger or sympathy, you want your images to spark a reaction (hopefully, a positive one).
So, keeping these pointers in mind, is your photo something to SHARE?
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact the Navy’s Emerging Media team at email@example.com or 703-614-9154. We look forward to hearing from you and collaborating.
This blog was published in the summer edition of Navy Imagery Insider.
By MCC (AW) Sam Shavers
How you structure your story is an essential ingredient to good storytelling. That’s why mass communication specialists should always strive to use the right style–––for the right story. However, most of us are only familiar with two types of storytelling styles.
The Inverted Pyramid is the best style for breaking news events. It opens with a lead that summaries the most important facts, followed by subsequent paragraphs, each adding more detail.
Features are best for stories about a person with the intent to inform, entertain or involve readers emotionally.
Both writing styles are taught at DINFOS and used often in the Fleet. Starting in December, MC A-school students will be introduced to an additional writing style called Kabob. The style is known as The Wall Street Journal formula.
Kabob is best used for stories on trends or events––where you want to show how people are affected or involved. It typically starts off with a lead and anecdote of a specific person, and then transitions to the nut graf before adding more details. At the end, the story connects the anecdote with the main information.
To see how this style can be applied in the fleet, download and read this: http://ow.ly/nhR7t
I found the story on Navy.mil. Notice the text was written using the Inverted Pyramid style. Now download and read this: http://ow.ly/nhQYo
Notice it’s the same story, just written using the Kabob style, and when done correctly, the overall writing and content of your story should leave your readers full and satisfied.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-614-9154.
Many of our Navy stories include facts and figures, and when those exist you may want to consider portraying the information as an infographic rather than a news story. At first glance, creating an infographic may seem a bit overwhelming, but if you take it bit by bit, it can be rather simple and much more successful than a story.
When creating an infographic, data is the foundation. Infographics also include three elements: visual, content and knowledge.
Think of your infographic as a storyline and organize the content with a beginning, middle and end.
Beginning: Share the problem or thesis.
This infographic from www.top-nursing-programs.com begins with a well stated problem - unnecessary and costly trips to the ER can be prevented with more knowledge. The infographic then continues with data to educate readers that will result in giving the knowledge to avoid the problem introduced in the beginning.
Middle: Back up the original thesis with your data.
This infographic titled “How Tech Savy Are Our Kids” from angiolotty.co.uk in collaboration with webtise.co.uk shares data outlined in sections in the middle supporting the initial thesis presented in the beginning.
End: Wrap up your infographic with a conclusion.
This infographic from www.instructables.com on “How To Build A Light Saber” ends the content with a conclusion neatly wrapping up the data that was presented above.
When designing your infographic, color, flow and design are important to the overall visual appeal. There are a number of blogs written specifically on what color pallets work best and how to optimally display data, but as an alternative there are a number of online platforms that help generate infographics: Visualize, Easel.ly, Piktochart, Infogr.am and Visual.ly. You can find more specific information on these options in the additional resources.
When you have an opportunity to display info visually be sure to take it! With more and more information being pushed a simple infographic can be the eye-candy needed to draw readers to your information.
What is a hashtag and how should you use them?
Social media users create them (# + Word = #Hashtag) to group conversations online. I think Twitter’s Adam Sharp best described them as this:
So what can you do with them on Facebook now?
Regardless of where you use hashtags, here are some best practices to remember:
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com or 703-614-9154.
Twitter, Flickr, Google+ and YouTube recently unveiled changes.
So, let’s discuss what’s new.
Twitter now offers two-step verification. The new feature follows several high-profile account breaches – including a false tweet sent from the Associated Press’s Twitter account that reported President Obama was injured from two explosions at the White House on April 23.
When enabled, Twitter sends a text message with a unique code to a cell phone that must be entered to continue the login process.
The code can only be sent to one cell phone. This is an issue if multiple users access the same account. Account managers who need to give access to multiple users should consider a service like Hootsuite. Of course, comprehensive protection against a security breach requires more than just one feature like two-step verification. Twitter’s support center recommends:
Flickr unveiled a new look last Monday.
Full bleed, full-resolution photos in a justified grid layout have replaced Flickr’s thumbnails and white space. In a way, Flickr looks more like Pinterest now.
Like Facebook and Google+, Flickr now has a cover photo that can be adjusted based on its vertical position. The Flickr cover photo window is approximately 614 pixels tall; the width automatically adjusts based on the browser’s size. Like your page’s photos, your page’s icon is larger (now approximately 220 pixels by 220 pixels).
If your Flickr page used a smaller icon before the new look was unveiled, you may need to upload a larger icon. Otherwise, the smaller icon will sit in the foreground as an inset; the same icon will fill the background.
Besides the new look, Flickr also announced three different account options: Free, ad free and doublr.
The free account offers:
The ad free account, which costs $49.99 per year, replaced Flickr’s Pro account. It offers the same features as the free account without ads. While Flickr Pro is no longer offered to new users, recurring Pro members currently have the ability to continue renewing at the same price and keep their Flickr Pro features.
More information is available on Flickr’s blog.
Stream: Like Flickr, Google+ has a new look. Google+’s Stream (similar to Facebook’s Newsfeed) now uses a multi-column layout that displays one, two or three columns of content depending on your screen size and orientation.
Google described the enhancements to the Stream as focused on design and depth.
One of the differences between Facebook and Google+ is content discovery on Google+.
Like Twitter and Pinterest, Google+ supports hashtags. If you aren’t familiar with hashtags, users create them to group conversations about a particular topic whether it is the #USNavy, #MilitaryFamily, #Technology – the possibilities are endless.
Google+ took it one step further with related hashtags.
Google+ analyzes the content of a post and applies appropriate related hashtags using search results that are ranked on importance and social proximity to the user. This allows the user to discover new content from the original post.
Hangouts: Google+ combined its text, photos and live video messaging into a single, standalone app, Hangouts, that works across Android and iOS devices and traditional computers. Hangouts allows you to video chat with up to 10 people. The video chat is how the Navy held its Internet panel discussion about the USS Monitor graveside interment ceremony in March.
Photos: I’m only going to briefly discuss one of Google’s new Photos features; Google+’s Auto Enhancement will do exactly what its name implies. Remember that regulations such as DOD Instruction 5040.02 regarding the alteration of official imagery still apply when using an Internet-based Capability (social network) for official U.S. Navy purposes such as a command presence.
Photographic techniques that “achieve the accurate recording of an event or object” such as dodging, burning, color balancing, spotting, dusting, de-noising, sharpening and contrast adjustment are permitted.
Prohibited alterations include “the addition, changing, or removing of individuals, equipment, scenery, or the unrealistic changing of color or light.”
If there’s any doubt whether the enhancement crosses the line, don’t do it.
If you haven’t already upgraded your YouTube channel to the new One Channel design, you have until June 5 to upgrade or YouTube will do it for you.
The new design emphasizes responsive layouts for mobile devices, tablets, desktops and laptops, and TVs. A single banner on a white background replaces a customizable background and color scheme. YouTube recommends using a single 2560 x 1440 px image that fits its template.
The featured video has been replaced by a Channel trailer for non-subscribers. Think of it as a short video that welcomes people to your Channel and tells them what it is about and why they should subscribe.
You can create horizontal or vertical sections on your homepage based on popular uploads, recent uploads, all playlists, likes, recent posts, recent activities, a single playlist or a tag (i.e. all videos on your channel that have been tagged with the keyword submarines).
On the right side of the homepage is a section called Related Channels, which are selected by YouTube. You can hide this section by hovering over it and selecting disable. There is tradeoff. This will remove your Channel from showing as related on other Channels.
The section may be displayed as Popular, which means YouTube wasn’t able to determine which Channels are related to your Channel. In this case, YouTube will select Channels with the most views and subscribers.
For more information, visit:
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-614-9154.
It is easy to just post information on your social media sites.
However, social media is about more than just posting information. It is about having a conversation.
As a Navy public affairs specialist, you need to be prepared to engage your audience. Think of yourself as a community manager who represents both your commanding officer and the U.S. Navy. Every time that you post or respond to a message, you are making an official statement on behalf of your CO and the Navy. This is no different than responding to a media or legislative inquiry. So, while the medium may differ between the physical and virtual worlds, the same principles that you learned at the Defense Information School apply – with some exceptions.
(User’s name), thank you for sharing your concern with us….
The Directorate of Public Works is repairing a water main break at the intersection of Main Street and Hometown Avenue. Please avoid this area until further notice.
Example: (User’s name), thank you for sharing your concern with us about the dog park. We are forwarding your concerns to our environmental division. We’ll update you as soon as we know anything.
Example: (User’s name), thank you for sharing your concern with us about the pharmacy wait times. While social media is great resource to provide feedback, it is not always the most effective. Did you know you that can submit an Interactive Customer Evaluation survey at http://yournavywebsite.mil or talk to the patient advocate at 301-555-1212? If you still need assistance, the garrison commanding officer has an open-door session every Monday from 4 to 6 p.m. in his office, 123 Any Street.
Social media has blurred the lines between command information, media relations and community outreach. Your social network’s audience likely includes users from each of those categories: Sailors, military families, reporters, as well as internal and external community members.
Your social network provides these audience members an opportunity to share their concerns and ideas with you. Listen to them. You may not be able to solve everyone’s problems over social media, but you can understand what issues matter to them.
Last Tuesday, the Associated Press’ verified Twitter account sent a false tweet that explosions occurred at the White House and President Obama had been injured. There were no explosions; the President was fine. However, the tweet was enough to send the stock market sharply lower before it recovered. The AP reported that the false tweet was preceded by phishing attempts on its corporate network.
The false tweet demonstrated:
Justin Herman, the lead for Social Media in the General Services Administration Center for Excellence in Digital Government, wrote a great blog about protecting your account from hacking, repairing your account after hacking and responding to rogue tweets from a hacked account. I encourage you to read and bookmark it.
In the event of a compromised account, the blog recommends you notify the Center for Excellence in Digital Government. You should also notify the Navy’s Emerging Media team at email@example.com.
Twitter is reportedly working on a two-step verification system. Both Facebook and Google offer verification besides your password.
Below are some other resources for account security and compromised accounts: