The Army employed a dynamic booth presence and face-to-face interactions with Soldier bloggers to show attendees at the 2010 BlogWorld & New Media Expo the strength of its signature blog and story-sharing community.
An introduction to to the conference from Gen. David Petraeus, commander of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, broke the ice with references to grandparents Tweeting and a Lady Gaga video parody by Soldiers that became a viral sensation.
Afterward, a few visitors to the Army’s booth in the exhibit hall asked if Soldiers were there to recruit, but others who had heard the general’s message or encountered the Army at BlogWorld in previous years didn’t need to ask. They got it: The Army does social media.
A large infographic displaying statistics about ArmyStrongStories.com drew people in for conversations about the Army and blogging. Army Strong Stories is the cornerstone of the U.S. Army Accessions Command’s social media efforts and now has more than 500 Soldier bloggers. It is supported by a team from Weber Shandwick’s Seattle and Minneapolis offices.
In addition to the infographic, drill sergeants and two other Soldiers who blog for Army Strong Stories were able to engage visitors to the booth about their experiences with blogging, an important personal touch. The Army’s BlogWorld presence included Maj. Benjamin Grimes, lead defense attorney for the Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and Lt. Col. Andre Dean, an infantryman and former Ranger instructor who is now chief of strategic communications for Accessions Command.
The two drill sergeants from the Drill Sergeant Exhibitor program, Staff Sgt. Levi Peffer and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Short, kept up with a steady stream of bloggers willing to do even one pull-up or pushup, driven by the promise of a T-shirt, water bottle, or the chance to look good in front of friends and Twitter followers.
The Army also sponsored BlogWorld’s Milblog track, which offered specialized sessions for service members, their families, veterans and others who blog about military issues.
The combined efforts of the Army and Weber Shandwick team resulted in more than 25 media interviews and countless other interactions over the course of the conference. The engagement continued through Tweets, blog posts and comments in the weeks afterward. Read more about the Army’s BlogWorld activities and results in blog posts by Lt. Col. Dean, Maj. Grimes, Staff Sgt. Peffer and Staff Sgt. Short.