The Army wants to be your friend, on Facebook. The latest phase of U.S. Army recruitment ads is working toward penetration of the social media sphere. While keeping its slogan "Army strong" as a central pillar of the campaign, new efforts on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Youtube, and even the silver screen, signify a shift in the way the Army is looking to attract new recruits.
One top general in recruitment tells the New York Times that multitasking on smartphones and fast-forwarding through commercials on pre-recorded shows means that recruits previously targeted through television ads, must now be reached elsewhere. In the 1970s, a third of the U.S. population looked to military service as a career path. Now that figure is sinking below 10 percent of the population.
In order to attract more recruits, the Army has focused on using social media to connect potential recruits to serving soldiers, emphasizing the symbolism of Army fatigues. The Army’s "Go Army" page on Facebook features soldiers’ stories, photos, and Army apps for the tech savvy. The page also offers exclusive footage from the new action flick, "X-Men: First Class". The partnership with the Hollywood film is the first sponsorship of its kind for the Army.
Since embarking on the social and digital campaigns, the Army’s budget for major media advertising has declined, meaning they're prepared to invest more time and money into the new initiative. Though Army recruitment leadership admits to being novices in the realm of social media, they’re hoping to learn quickly. Currently, the @GoArmy Twitter account has a paltry 3,047 followers. The online effort might seem meek now, but those in recruitment are hopeful that the campaign will become strong; dare I say, Army strong.