U.S. Navy Media Blog

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By Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs 

The U.S. Naval War College Library in Newport, R.I. on Feb. 24, 2014 unveiled online the 4,000-page “Gray Book” collection of Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz' communications beginning in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack and running up until the closing days of the war. The event, produced by the Naval War College and carried live on the Navy Live Blog, was the culmination of an extensive communication plan requiring the efforts of commands around the world.

Although every public engagement is different, they all offer opportunities to learn from what went well, and what might have been done differently.  Following the engagement, we worked with the half dozen commands involved to put together this comprehensive review of the entire process.  We thought we’d share our experience with you.  Please let us know what you think!

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

Expect a new look for your Twitter profile.

Twitter announced a new profile design Tuesday that it says will make it “even easier … to express yourself through a new and improved web profile.”

The Facebook Page-like profile allows the use of a larger profile picture and header photo as well as:

  • Best Tweets: Tweets with more engagement appear slightly larger.
  • Pinned Tweet: Pin a tweet to the top of your page.
  • Filtered Tweets: Select which timeline to view on other users’ profiles – Tweets, Tweets with photos/videos, Tweets and replies.

Right now, the new profile is available to a small group of users, including new users. Twitter says it will roll out the new features to everyone over the coming weeks.

How should you prepare for the transition? Stay tuned for more information.

If you have any questions, contact the Navy Emerging Media Team at 703-614-9154 or usnsocialmedia@gmail.com.

By Sandy Gall
U.S. Navy Emerging Media

Responding to fan questions and comments is one of the most challenging, rewarding and important jobs for a social media manager like me. Finding the right words, staying on message and the sheer volume of comments can make the task daunting. But the best social media managers don’t shy away because they know that managing a social media site like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram is more than simply posting great content – it’s about the engagement – the two-way conversations – this is what makes social media such a powerful communication medium.

As managers of the Navy’s social media accounts, sometimes a reader’s post draws special attention. When a fan leaves a comment reporting a sexual assault, as community managers, we must respond – and we must ensure this person understands where to go for help.

Whether you are in a leadership position or not, if a shipmate of yours reported a sexual assault while you were on deployment, you would respond and you would begin the standardized Navy process necessary to get your shipmate the assistance they need. The same standards apply for social media managers, except, we can’t directly see to it that our shipmate goes to medical. However, we can standardize our responses in an effort to make sure each person reporting sexual assault is directed to the correct and most useful resources to ensure every Sailor and every victim who reports sexual assault is treated with dignity, respect, and professionalism they deserve.

As you can imagine, the US Navy Facebook page receives a lot of fan comments and inbox messages. We try to read and respond to as many possible, but we make it a point to respond to all reports of sexual assault. Victim response is critical and victim reporting is vital. When a Sailor or Navy family member reports an incident via your social media pages, it is your duty to direct them to the right resources.

When responding to a report of sexual assault on your command social media platform take the following steps:

Once you have responded to and provided resources to the victim, record the incident in your internal records. It is critical for the investigation to ensure that all records of reporting are on file. US Navy’s emerging media team has a password protected file where we keep screen shots of the report and our response.


Sexual assault is a serious crime and the Navy is committed to eliminating it within our ranks. Sexual assault prevention and response is an all hands effort; we – as social media managers –  can do our part by directing people to the services at their disposal.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154. 

Editor’s note: Additional blogs about sexual assault prevention and response are available on Navy Live blogs at http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2013/12/18/navy-sexual-assault-prevention-improve-victim-response/ and http://navylive.dodlive.mil/2014/01/15/creating-a-command-climate-intolerant-of-sexual-assault/

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

What is Twitter?   

Twitter describes itself as “a social broadcast network that helps you create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.”   

How long is a tweet? 

Tweets are limited to 140 characters, but  you shouldn’t use all of them. Save at least 20 characters to allow people to retweet or comment. 

What makes Twitter different? 

Twitter is real-time. People share news, events and conversations that are relevant as they’re happening.

What are some common Twitter terms? 

  • Mention (@): Bring a tweet to someone’s  attention by using their username.  If you want to start a tweet with someone’s  username and want all of your followers to  see it, put a period before the username.  Otherwise, only users who follow both you  and the other person will see it. 
  • Retweet (RT): Share a tweet with all of your followers. 
  • Modified tweet (MT): Manually retweet  a message with modifications such  as shortening a tweet. If you think of retweeting as quoting, a modified tweet is paraphrasing. 
  • Hashtag: The # symbol, called a hashtag, marks keywords or topics in a tweet. The use of excessive #hashtags #looks #bad and is a #common #mistake. Try to use no more than two hashtags per tweet and hashtag with a purpose. Frequently used @USNavy hashtags are #USNavy, #Breaking, #NavySAPR, #PartnershipsMatter, #PresenceMatters, #PeopleMatter and  #PowerMatters. Hashtags also are supported on Facebook  and Google+. 
  • Direct message (DM): A private message that only you and the recipient can see. 
  • Follow: Subscribe to someone’s tweets in your timeline.

Should you link your Facebook page to your Twitter account and automatically post from Facebook to Twitter?

No, this is a common mistake that prevents  the Navy Emerging Media Team from using these tweets because of the following reasons: 

  • Facebook posts that are automatically shared on Twitter are frequently truncated   since they are often longer than 140 characters.
  • Twitter uses unique terms as above explained. 
  • Social networks attract different users.  Some content may be more appealing to one network’s audience than another audience. For example, news articles on the Navy’s Twitter account usually receive more user engagement than on the Navy’s Facebook page.

Take the time to understand the similarities and differences between your audience on each social network. If you take the time to properly use Twitter, you’ll see more engagement and a greater return on investment. 

Is Twitter right for every command? 

No, but it is definitely worth considering.   If your unit or command isn’t on Twitter, you’re likely missing an opportunity to reach your audience. 

What should I do to get started? 

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, create a personal account and use it until you become comfortable with Twitter. When you are ready to use it as a command   or unit, review the Navy’s social media registration checklist at www.Navy.mil/media/smrChecklist.pdf, create your unit’s Twitter account and register it at www.Navy.mil/CommandDirectory.asp

You may be surprised how you can reach more people by saying less – in no more than 140 characters.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154. 

By Naval History and Heritage Command Public Affairs

The Naval History and Heritage Command publicly unveiled its new logo on Feb. 27, 2014.

It was the culmination of a nearly year-long process to create a graphic that accurately represented the command’s mission, builds internal and public support and understanding for NHHC and Navy history, and could be easily duplicated and recognized in a variety of sizes and resolutions across the widest number of mediums. 

We believe we succeeded. Whether you agree or not, we wanted to share some of the lessons we learned in the process that you might be able to use if you’re considering a similar endeavor. Let us know if you have any questions or feedback.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)
U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

1) Keep your posts short. 


While the statistics vary slightly, shorter Facebook posts tend to do better than longer posts. Try to keep your posts to less than 80 to 100 characters or about three lines of text. 

2) Be conversational. 


Remember you aren’t writing a www. Navy.mil story or a news release; you’re writing for social media. Use short, concise and easy to understand sentences. Avoid acronyms. 

3) Use an image with your post. 

Social media continues to become an ever-increasing visual experience. Look at your own newsfeed, which is where the majority of Facebook users see content. Your newsfeed is likely filled with images. Instead of just posting a status update with text, use an image related to your post and what would’ve been your text update as your caption. 

4) Rewrite your captions. 


There’s a right way to caption photos for www.Navy.mil, and there’s a right way to caption photos for social media. Remember to make your caption short and conversational. Consider starting your caption with a short phrase that summarizes the photo. You’re competing for people’s attention; grab it. 

5) Engage with your audience. 


Social media should be social. Ask a question and be prepared to answer it. If you don’t know the answer, tell the user you’re researching it. Your audience will appreciate knowing that you aren’t ignoring the question. 

6) Have a call to action. 


Do you want your audience to like something, talk about it, share it or visit a link? If so, say it in your post. 

7) Experiment with content. 

Facebook Insights, which are available to administrators of a page with at least 30 likes, provides metrics about your page’s performance. Regularly review Insights to determine what content is performing the best, when your audience is online, and how it is engaging with your content. 

8) Mix it up. 

Post a variety of content: news about or relevant to your command, links, photos and videos. Your Facebook page isn’t your command website. Don’t treat it like one by just posting text status updates. 

9) Draft your content. 

Write your posts in a program that allows you to spell check them. You wouldn’t send a news release without spell checking it. Review your content and then hit post. 

10) Be professional. 

Remember your Facebook page represents your command and the U.S. Navy. The principles of security, accuracy, propriety and policy apply to social media.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)

U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

The Navy Live blog (http://navylive.dodlive.mil/) – the official blog of the U.S. Navy – tells the story of America’s Navy through individual perspectives. The blog features varying perspectives from the greater Navy community through posts by leaders, Sailors, family members, subject matter experts and other relevant stakeholders. In many ways, it is the hub of the Navy’s flagship social media sites because it allows us to have a longer conversation that wouldn’t be possible in just a post or tweet.

So, what makes a great Navy Live blog?

WRITE IN FIRST PERSON This is your Navy story. Be yourself because authenticity matters. If you are ghost writing, sync your writing style with the author’s voice.

BE CONVERSATIONAL The best social media content establishes a connection between the author and the audience. You can do this by writing conversationally and avoiding acronyms. Imagine you’re talking to a complete stranger about your blog’s topic. Make your blog easy to understand. We edit blogs so they use plain-writing and AP styles.

Be Timely. Social media users want to know what’s happening now. Contact the Navy’s Emerging Media Team at 703-614-9154 or usnsocialmedia@gmail.com in advance of an event or known issue to discuss a possible blog. We can help you develop your blog.

Know Your Audience. Navy Live blogs discuss issues on a “big Navy” level. That doesn’t mean issues at a local level can’t translate into a Navy Live blog. USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72)’s blog about the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address is a great example of a timely blog that translated a command-level issue into something more. Check it out at http://1.usa.gov/1fMZJds.

Be Visual. Another thing that made Lincoln’s blog great was its use of imagery. It went beyond just text. The blog also included a video of Lincoln’s Sailors reciting the Gettysburg Address line by line.

Blogs should be a good mix of text and imagery. If you’re submitting a Navy Live blog, send the high-resolution photos that you want used or include the photos’ VIRINs. Be sure to include the photos’ captions as well. Let us know if you want to include a video and need help transmitting it.

Include links. Did you pull a fact from an outside source? Does your command have a website? Include those links in your blog where you want them used.

Give us a preview. We want your blog to be successful. We request that you send us a draft – especially if you are ghost writing – before you get it approved. It is a lot easier to provide feedback while the blog is still being written.

Have a call to action. Ask a question or invite readers to leave comments and plan to reply to them. Email us the response and we’ll post it as “U.S. Navy.” This gives the response credibility.

Can readers get additional information? Tell them how to do it.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)

U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

It’s no longer a question of if, but how Navy commands should use social media. The latest Navy Imagery Insider focuses on answering that question. It is important to know that there is no cookie-cutter solution.

Your social media sites should be an integral part of your command’s communication strategy. Before launching a social media site for your command, consider what you want to accomplish. What are your communication objectives and how do they move your command closer to achieving its mission?

You should consider your command’s audiences. Do you want to communicate with Sailors in your command, command leadership, family members, the local community, a broader Department of Defense audience, the American public, or another group altogether?

Just like other parts of your communication strategy, you should adapt your social media plan as your communication objectives change.

In fiscal year 2013, the Navy Emerging Media Program focused on reaching so-called one-offs, such as a Sailor’s family members, veterans and people who have an established interest in the Navy. This year, the program is looking for opportunities to provide context to the American public – especially people who don’t have a connection to the Navy – about what the Navy is doing and why the Navy is doing it.

This strategy doesn’t mean the Navy’s flagship social media sites aren’t communicating to those one-offs, Sailors and journalists. We’re still reaching those audiences through our content.

We’re tailoring our best practices to accomplish our goal. In this Insider, we share best practices for some of the most popular social media sites. I encourage you to adapt them for your command and visit the Navy Media Tumblr page at http://usnavymedia.tumblr.com for regular updates. As always, you may contact the emerging media team at 703-614- 9154 or usnsocialmedia@gmail.com for additional assistance.

Download the Navy Imagery Insider Fall-Winter 2013 issue. 

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)

U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

"Just the facts, ma’am" isn’t just a catchphrase from the show Dragnet. It’s an important part of plain writing.

Two Facebook posts caught my attention today for giving its audience just the facts. Both posts were from MCM Crew Dominant. Take a look. 



The captions are remarkably easy to understand. There’s no doubt about what’s happening and why it’s important.

This is especially important in social media when you are competing for both your audience’s attention and characters within your own posts.

Think about how you use social media. There’s a good chance that you quickly scroll through your Facebook Newsfeed or tweets to see what’s happening. I frequently encourage social media writers to think like their audience. 

Ask yourself who is your audience and where are they consuming your content. Let’s use a photo as an example. Is your photo for an internal publication that is read by people who are familiar with all of the terms and acronyms in the caption? Or is it social media? You don’t have to use the same caption across all platforms. 


 Navy.mil caption: 

SAN DIEGO (Jan. 15, 2014) Ensign Dolph Eich, left, Ensign Charles Hasenbank and Ensign Kelly Reightler, receive their surface warfare officer (SWO) pins during a ceremony aboard the littoral combat ship USS Freedom (LCS 1). Cmdr. Timothy Wilke, Freedom’s commanding officer, presided over the ceremony that marked the first group of U.S. Navy ensigns to earn their initial SWO qualification aboard the LCS platform. (U.S. Navy photo by Senior Chief Mass Communication Specialist Donnie W. Ryan/Released)

Possible social media post: 

Congratulate these history makers!

These three are the first group of #USNavy ensigns to earn their initial surface warfare qualification aboard the littoral combat ship platform. http://1.usa.gov/1fKEABC

It sounds obvious, but social media should be social. Write like you’re talking with your audience - not at your audience.

Visit PlainLanguage.gov if you want to learn more about plain writing.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154.

By LT Chika Onyekanne
U.S. Navy Emerging Media

You may already understand the importance of social media when it comes to getting information out, but do you use it as much as you should to speak to your audience?

The Pew Research Center’s Internet Project conducted a 2013 survey on social media usage among online adults and how the social media platforms compare to each other. The survey compared Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Pew surveyed 1,801 adults, all at least 18 years old.

We all know that when it comes to the number of users, Facebook is king.

Percentage of online adults who use: 

  • 71 percent of online adults are on Facebook
  • 22 percent on LinkedIn
  • 21 percent on Pinterest
  • 18 percent on Twitter
  • 17 percent on Instagram.

Even though Facebook had a slight head start, the disparity is quite large. It shows you have the potential to reach the most people on a single social media platform by using Facebook. 

For public affairs professionals, it’s not enough that users (potential audience) are on these platforms. They also need to engage frequently on social media for us to truly benefit in getting our messages seen. Among Facebook users, 63 percent visit the site at least once a day while 40 percent visit multiple times a day.  The numbers are slightly lower for Instagram (57 percent  daily, 35 percent multiple times) and Twitter (46 percent daily, 29 percent multiple times).  Looking at this, we see yet another reason to engage on social media, especially Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. From the number of users for these platforms, about half visit the site daily.

When it came to the use of multiple platforms by online adult, 42 percent used two or more.  36 percent used only one platform and out of that number 84 percent chose Facebook, 8 percent use LinkedIn, 4 percent use Pinterest, and 2 percent use Instagram or Twitter. 

As you start or continue to use social media to tell your story, think about using multiple platforms. It will give you a better opportunity to reach more people and different demographics. If you can only use one for whatever reason, as of 2013, Facebook is still king.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)

U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

You may want to re-evaluate how you’re sharing content on your command’s Facebook Page.

Earlier this month, Facebook announced that it is “paying closer attention to what makes for high quality content, and how often articles are clicked on from News Feed on mobile.”

What does this mean? If you can’t answer a yes to the following questions, then there’s a good chance fewer people will see it in their Facebook News Feeds:

  • Is this content from a source you would trust?
  • Is this timely and relevant content?
  • Would you share it with friends or recommend it to others?
  • Is the content genuinely interesting to you or is it trying to game News Feed distribution? (i.e., asking for people to like the content)
  • Would you call this a low quality post or meme?
  • Would you complain about seeing this content in your News Feed?

Facebook used those questions, it announced in August, to survey thousands of users about what they thought described high quality content, and then - later - to detect that content. It added that content algorithm to its News Feed ranking algorithms as a way to determine a News Feed story’s score. It found during testing:

  • Significant increase in likes, comments and shares with high quality posts that appeared higher in the News Feed.
  • Users in the test group hid fewer stories.

Facebook expects that Pages with engaging content should experience their content reaching more people. However, some Page administrators are reporting a decrease in their content’s reach and engagement.

You don’t need to take your social media plan back to the drawing board, but you do need to remember that content is king and it needs to be timely and relevant if you want to build trust and credibility with your audience.

Facebook recommends asking yourself, “Would people share this with their friends or recommend it to others” and “Would my audience want to see this in their News Feeds.” It goes back to knowing your audience and what it wants to see.

Facebook believes users want to see more relevant news and what their friends are saying about it. According to Facebook, average referral traffic from Facebook to media sites almost tripled in the last year.

Again, what does this mean for you?

Post the link to Facebook and don’t use it as a caption within a photo.

Recommended by Facebook

You can’t “meme your way” to your audience. If you’re used to posting a photo with a link, your content strategy likely won’t work as effectively. Instead, post the original high-resolution photo to the website of the link that you want to share and then post the link with a status update. The photo should appear under the status update field as part of the link that you’ll share.

Social media is always changing. It is part of the challenge and the fun. The Navy’s Emerging Media Team works with industry and stays updated on all of those changes and new opportunities. We’re watching these changes and evaluating how we share content.

You should do that same.

If you have any questions, contact the team at usnsocialmedia@gmail.com or 703-614-9154.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)

U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

One of the best things about my job is talking with public affairs students at the Defense Information School at Fort George G. Meade, Md., about how to use social media.

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 usnsocialmedia@gmail.com 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: 

  • Who is my audience?
  • Where is my audience?
  • What am I trying to communicate?
  • How does a particular social network help to accomplish your goal?
  • Do I have the resources – both content and manpower – to sustain the community? 

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:

  • Security: Safeguard classified and operationally sensitive information.
  • Accuracy: Be first with the facts. Don’t speculate.
  • Propriety: Release appropriate information.  
  • Policy: Follow procedure for release of information at various levels of authority.

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: 

  • Do you want to reach more people?
  • Do you want to have a conversation about a particular topic?
  • Do you want to accomplish something completely different? 

Most social networks offer free analytics built into them. Facebook offers Insights to pages with at least 30 likes. Twitter offers Twitter Analytics; email usnsocialmedia@gmail.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 usnsocialmedia@gmail.com 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:

  • Your handle’s mentions
  • Your retweets
  • Keywords associated with your command. We know not everyone uses our handle @USNavy so we search for mentions of Navy, USNavy, #USNavy and @USNavy.
  • Campaign specific keyword searches (i.e. “Navy and LCS”)

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.

By Jason Kelly (@JasonKellyPAO)

U.S. Navy Emerging Media Director

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. 

  • If you don’t want to measure each platform’s engagement, use the same short link regardless of where you post it.
  • If you want to measure each platform’s engagement, use a different short link for each platform. This method is important if you want to determine what content is most engaging on each platform.

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.