How Warfare Tactics Can Help Personalize Your Virtual Recruitment Efforts



According to Shauna Clark and Xeriqua Garfinkel of the US Army Recruiting Command, “the battlefield always changes and it’s important to adapt.”


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The U.S. Army has been recruiting for a long time with its legacy systems, but today they acknowledge that this is a new world and strategies must shift. Their traditional approaches include walking in the mall, cold calls, billboards but they are now focused on two-way conversations and listening more, using social media to do so. It’s important to make sure that their recruits are given the information that’s right for them, and as they are now 100% virtual they are finding that they’re better at targeting conversations than ever before.

During #SMWONE the U.S Army Recruiting Command’s marketing team — including Shauna Clark and Xeriqua Garfinkel — and an enterprise consultant at Digimind joined forces to outline the strategies they’re using to recruit and how you can apply it to your brand.

Here are the primary insights and takeaways:

  • Preparation and not forcing your agenda will foster authenticity and deeper understanding of your audience
  • Social listening is key to blending messages and creating loyalty
  • The battlefield is always changing so it’s important to adapt

Understanding what is key to your audience

With Digimind,the global leader in AI-Powered social listening platforms and market intelligence software, they understand the pivot that needs to take place. With everything revolving around COVID-19, it’s important that their team turns out dashboard solutions, outreach programs, and ways to best connect to COVD-19 information from a customer perspective.

Digimind’s platform has given the U.S Army the ability to slice and dice the information out there and help them recruit. In terms of specific adjustments as a result of COVID-19, there’s best practices now put in place around COVID-19 needs, and a new product that is a dashboard-solution only. The team is being reactive to help clients connect to this new normal in any way possible, as Tony Calega of Digimind explained.

How the U.S Army is using data and applying it to their overall strategy and tactics

Shauna says they use The Art of War by Sun Tzu to explain the reasoning behind why they are successful, using the strategies outlined in that book in their day to day work.

  • A wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy: embrace your fan’s content. Recruiters can create their own content so their voice can be heard and allow their virtual community to engage
  • Let the object be victory, not lengthy campaigns: build your strategy with intention. Know where you want to go first so that you are managing your time well, and you have a measurable deliverable and the benchmarks in place to get you there.
  • Know the enemy and know thyself: understand your target market by using resources to understand what triggers a users response and use a social listening tool to dig down to a user’s sentiment.
  • The first to the battlefield is fresh, the second will be harried and exhausted: it’s important to be prepared first. Readiness and understanding the market is important so you can pivot without having to play too much catch-up.
  • Impose your will on the enemy and do not let you enemy’s will be imposed on you: Have a concrete plan and use a platform that you’re already familiar with.
  • Water shapes its course according to nature’s ground as does a soldier working out his victory in relation to the foe he faces: adapt your tactics to your platform. Don’t force your agenda and have a two-way conversation and don’t treat every social media account the same.
  • Gongs and drums banners and flags are a means to focus on a particular point: conversations are easier to listen to when their intention is focused on a single point.
  • The enemy may not be coming but be ready if he does: social listening plays a key role in understanding your target audience, and the influencers of your target audience.
  • Rapidity is the essence of war: stay current and respond to trends or market changes. It’s important to adapt without losing your strategy.

Adapt, adapt, adapt

The most important tip? The battlefield always changes and it’s important to adapt. It’s also important to use social media as a listening tool to inform your strategies and know where to go next.

The large takeaway: these strategies are applicable to any business and any market that is trying to navigate how they should approach social media. more specifically, how they should approach social listening and a general process for gathering and gaining different insights. Themes of rapidity, flexibility, having intention in your strategy, being prepared are all prescient, relevant, and timely considering where we are today but can undoubtedly be melded to fit the future.

“As long as we are agile and can stay focused on what our overall strategy will be, that’s where we see our success,” Garfinkel said.

Beyond agility, Clark articulated the power of social listening. “Our target market is a very small group. We go after a certain age group, some college, no college, you name it — and we use social media and social listening to blend our message and create loyalty not only in our market and also in influencers. It’s really about understanding what works best and who is there, who is present, and how they’re responding and using that information to inform decisions on where you go next.”

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