Going from Black Coffee to an Iced Mocha: Why Defense Contractors Invest in Social Media

Going from Black Coffee to an Iced Mocha: Why Defense Contractors Invest in Social Media

Fifty years ago, a typical morning in the United States may have started with a cup of Maxwell House coffee and a hard copy of a national newspaper. Today, you have many more choices for both your beverage and your reading material! Starbucks tells us that if you’re in Boston, you’re likely to be drinking a skim latte; in San Diego you’re more likely to order a green tea Frappuccino. While you wait for your drink at a local coffee shop, you have lots of choices for how to catch up on news—you might be reading The Skimm, the New York Times digital edition or your Twitter feed.

Like our morning routines, the defense field has undergone a shift in recent decades; by necessity, our marketing approach has transformed. As companies merge, spin off and evolve, brands and reputations change. Our customers have more options when it comes to potential partners, and there is so much media noise that advertising alone is not enough to capture their attention. If we want potential customers to better understand our expertise, we have to use a variety of methods to communicate. No longer can (or should) we rely on potentially expensive and splashy ad campaigns, or word-of-mouth alone, when it comes to reputation building.

That’s not all that’s changed. In today’s content-rich environment, where a huge amount of data and words are just a click away, information overload is a real issue. We all have the opportunity to customize the information we see on a daily basis. The audience that we as a company hope to reach—our customers, as well as the media, current and future employees—expects us to add something of value to the ongoing conversation around the defense field. It’s not enough to have a great logo and slogan—we differentiate ourselves from our competitors by humanizing our brand and getting specific about what we do best. This is where social media enters the conversation.

Why Social Media?

Right now, there’s lots of news about social media—and it’s not all positive. You may question why defense contractors, which often deal with sensitive information and critical government missions, may want to have a presence on social media at all. There are a few reasons:

Social media connects a human face to the brand. We use it to tell the story of Engility and the people behind it in order to build relationships with the media, thought leaders, customers and others. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn provide a platform that allows us to expand our influence through these stories. A variety of topics on our feeds together paint a picture of Engility. Content marketing (providing quality content that is useful beyond just advertising ourselves), brand journalism (covering our own work) and thought leadership are critical elements of our communication strategy. By sharing interesting stories, we hope that our readers will choose to make Engility updates a part of the content they seek.

Social media is often where top talent looks for their next job. Our talent acquisition team uses social media as a tool to promote our job openings, share insight into our corporate culture and highlight opportunities we offer employees. When job seekers look for their next employer, we want them to make the Engility social media channels one of the tools they use.

Journalists are just as likely to find leads on Twitter as they are via a press release. When we’re doing something noteworthy—whether it’s building a home for a veteran or supporting a rocket launch—we want to make it easy for the media to cover that story.

How We Use It

Engility is an active participant in the social media conversation — we post original content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. We tell the story of Engility through profiles, series, themed content and live coverage of tradeshows and events. We promote partnerships and charitable causes, and our social media feeds give insight into the work our employees do for customers. Finally, it’s a platform for Engility thought leaders to participate in shaping our field and sharing their expertise.

Tomorrow before work, sit down with a cup of whatever customized, piping hot (or icy cold) caffeinated drink you prefer and make reading our social media posts a part of your morning routine.

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Posted by Candy Baracat-Donovan

I am a proud graduate of Virginia Tech, where I studied Communications and Leadership for Social Change. Facebook was just gaining popularity as I entered the work world, and I’ve used social media to promote the interests of companies and organizations in the defense, medical, and nonprofit sectors. I enjoy learning about how social tools can influence and change minds while connecting people IRL (in real life). Some of my favorite social media accounts to follow are: @NASAhistory, @CIA, @Smithsonian and @EngilityCorp (of course).