Keeping Up a Social Media Strategy that Works

Case Study 4 min
Review lessons to emulate and paths to improve on how to have a successful social media strategy like the U.S. Marine Corps.

The United States Marine Corps (USMC) has established a strong and systematic social media presence. Across all platforms, they know their audience and are engaging with that audience. They understand the functionality and purpose of each platform, and they have a consistent format that suits the platform. Instead of posting the same content across them all, they post plentiful, well-planned content unique to each platform. This is no accident, but instead, the work of informed public affairs, social media experts and communication strategists that have curated and maintained these platforms for many years to stay relevant with the times and with their audience.

Their current structure across all platforms is to post a photograph with a short caption and post a longer description underneath that generally covers the who, what, where, why, when and how. This strategy gets users' attention and makes them want to click the link to see more. Click through to read more about each individual platform strategy.

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USMC's Social Media Strategy

USMC presence on Facebook

U.S. Marine Corps Facebook page shows a complete, dynamic page. There is new content every day but never more than three posts per day. Each post uses consistent captioning and incorporates a mix of media, including videos, photographs and articles. Their audience base is so strong that they have very little negative feedback, and their audience defends the Marines' account when necessary.

USMC presence on Twitter

U.S. Marine Corps Twitter page tweets one to three times per day with engaging, informational content and consistent captions so the audience knows what to expect. Their use of emotive visuals encourages the following of an already dedicated audience.

USMC presence on Insta­gram

U.S. Marine Corps Instagram page posts once or twice a day with imagery that focuses on their people and their equipment. They use their story thoughtfully.

They continue their captioning structure on this platform as well.

USMC presence on YouTube

U.S. Marine Corps YouTube channel posts videos with a very specific style that gives insight into various jobs, tasks, equipment and exercises of the Marines. The consistent style of these videos makes different styled videos stand out, benefiting these videos further as they are generally an important or different type of announcement pertinent to Marines.

USMC presence on Pinterest

U.S. Marines Pinterest page exemplifies that they know their audience as well as the Pinterest audience. With witty and targeted board names like "semper fI Do," "Marines with Dogs," "Dump the Plump," and "What every Marine needs (care package ideas)," they know who they're talking to and what families are looking for. Each board is complete with a title, description and plenty of pins to keep users engaged.

USMC presence on Snapchat

U.S. Marine Corps Snapchat posts stories once or twice per week with daily hashtags such as "Workout Wednesday" or "Motivation Monday." They also post videos from speakers, leaders and special guests to keep content fresh and relevant for their audience.

USMC presence on Flickr

As the use of Flickr decreases, so does U.S. Marine Corps' presence on Flickr. This reflects an effort to keep up with the times and put resources towards other projects and platforms. Flickr was one of the first platforms Marines, and other DoD accounts joined, so it is understandable that they still have the account but only post once or twice every few months with high-quality shots that Flickr users are looking for.

Although their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest platforms are all updated regularly, their Flickr feed isn't as up-to-date as the others. Whether this is because Flickr's following is diminishing or a lack of resources, is unclear, but it reflects the current social media atmosphere.

Lessons Learned

It takes considerable human resources to populate so many platforms and engage with the audience but your level of engagement will drive your success. Spend some time unlocking what users want, and what they respond to. Post plentiful, well-planned content unique to each platform and your users will reward you with loyalty.