By Beth Clemons, U.S. Army Contracting CommandDecember 8, 2011
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala.(Dec. 8, 2011) -- The U.S. Army Contracting Command and several of its subordinate organizations have embraced social media to help tell the ACC story.
According to Art Forster, director of the ACC Office of Public and Congressional Affairs, the command began experimenting with social media in 2009. Since then, web and social media have become a vital part of ACC's public affairs strategy.
"Ten years ago, websites were the latest and greatest in communications tools. Today we've shifted our philosophy -- rather than trying to get the public to come to us, we go to them. Statistically, social networking sites are where people spend most of their online time. Utilizing social media, we are able to share our news and information with both our folks and the general public," said Forster.
The wide reach of social media is apparent:
• Twitter has 200 million registered users and adds nearly 500,000 users a day. On an average day there are 190 million tweets.
• Linkedin users have created more than 100 million professional profiles and one million company pages.
• Facebook has 800 million users worldwide, is available in 70 languages and the average user spends 15 hours a month on the site.
• YouTube has 490 million first-time users who visit every month and users upload more than 24 hours of video every minute.
• Flickr hosts more than 5 billion images and members upload more than 3,000 images every minute.
"We owe it to the American public to be candid, and honest, and approachable, and there is no better way that we know of to be as accessible to so many people in such a convenient way," said Maj. Juanita Chang, director, Online and Social Media Division, Office of the Chief of Public Affairs, Headquarters, Department of the Army.
According to Forster, the use of social media has become such an important part of the command's communication strategy that ACC hired a social media manager earlier this year. With a dedicated public affairs specialist who populates, monitors and maintains the ACC social media, sites have seen a significant increase in traffic.
For example, ACC Facebook users have increased by 79 percent, content has been viewed and/or shared 691,812 times and visitors have provided feedback 1,725 times -- up 5,464 percent from last year.
The popularity of social media sites is spreading throughout the command: Carol Lowman, ACC executive director (@carollowman); Harry Hallock, ACC deputy director (@harryhallock); ACC's Command Sgt. Maj. John Murray (@CSMMurray) and Brig. Gen. Joe Bass, the Expeditionary Contracting Command commanding general (@BGJoeBass) have joined Twitter, and the Mission and Installation Contracting Command recently established a Facebook page.
The ACC Office of Public and Congressional Affairs works closely with the command's information technology directorate to keep abreast of the latest social media trends to leverage these unique communication capabilities. Earlier this year, ACC's public website, www.acc.army.mil, and recruiting website, www.armyhire.com, were made available in mobile format, providing easy access from a smart phone. Mobile applications for the websites are also being developed.
"The U.S. Army Contracting Command is responsible for billions of taxpayer dollars each year. Our goal is to utilize every available resource to highlight ACC's mission, operations and people. Social media platforms provide us with unique opportunities to reach our key stakeholders," said Forster.