Military uses social media to recruit

Serving in the world’s finest military was probably not top-of-mind when Mark Zuckerberg and his colleagues created Facebook.

But the US Army is happy to take advantage of what it has to offer to fill their recruiting goals.

“Facebook is the primary platform that we use. Instagram, on occasions, as well,” said Shawn McKenna, a recruiter based in Raleigh.

For the Army, it’s something of a digital shingle that they hang out, waiting for those who may be interested to “walk in,” so to speak, asking about the items the Army puts out.

“By having people who are already interested and more committed than the person you walk up to on the side walk, it gives us an advantage too,” said Capt. Blake Ramey, who works out of the High Point recruiting office. “Every single person you run into, with minor exceptions, has a social media account from the grandma at the grocery store to our own mothers, whoever.”

“Whoever,” in this case, are young people like Reece Ayers. Ayers went to High Point University on a running scholarship and, after graduation, was working as a construction foreman, but began to realize that he wanted more out of life.

Ayers then used the internet to do his research to make sure that what the Army was offering in its online posts was what he’d get if he joined.

Without that, says Ayers, “I wouldn't have the full, painted picture. I might not have a clear understanding or things might be different when I got there. Like, ‘Man, this is not what I expected.’”

Sometimes the posts on social media are cool videos, other times they are headlines, of sorts, for things the Army offers, like money for education.

“Earn up to a $40K bonus, for an example, that sounds great, what does that entail?” McKenna said.

Meet Ayers and see the posts the Army puts on Facebook in this edition of the Buckley Report.