One of the most significant parts of planning your reunion is developing and implementing your communication strategy. How are you going to reach your target population to publicize your event? How will you track down attendees? How will you develop excitement? How will you sell tickets to your reunion? How will you sell swag? Recognize that planning a reunion and the actions associated with it are not official actions of the Marine Corps, so ensure the information you present does not imply that the event is an official or Marine Corps approved event. All of this information and more will be part of your communication strategy.


Your Social Media Strategy


How do you want to use social media? How will you conduct outreach on social media?

  • Balance the need for marketing and the need for security as you develop your social media strategy.
  • Engage other groups & pages on the social media platforms you choose to use. Request that they share your event information.
  • Develop a “stock” request, including sample posts and tweets to make it easy for the other groups and pages to assist you.

Effective use of social media requires planning. Create viral social media campaign plans.

  • Plan how you will use specific posts, videos, images, and calls to action.
  • Viral social media campaigns include “revealing” swag, special guests, speakers, and other information.

Tip! With every social media post, regardless of platform, include some call to action, whether it’s to like a page, join a group, purchase a ticket, share a post, tag other members of the target population, visit a website, purchase some swag, make a post with a hashtag, or something else pertaining to your reunion. Engage your target population to effectively market your event.

Tip! If you’ve opted to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat and you’re using swag for awareness of the event prior to the event, ask your target population to post pictures or videos of themselves and/or the swag to generate excitement. Consider featuring one or more of the shared pictures or videos to keep the momentum going.

Tip! Consider creating and using a hashtag for your event across social media platforms (especially if you opt to use Instagram and Twitter, where hashtags are most effective), so that you can easily see all posts including those that others are making that have to do with your event. Use #USMCreunion too!

What platform(s) will you use? Consider the platforms that your target population uses. There is a tremendous amount of resources available on the internet for conducting reunion communications. Some free, some at a cost. You must decide which platform best meets your specific reunion needs.  Provided below are examples of several platforms as examples of how social media can be used.

Facebook

Are members of your target population active on Facebook? Recent reunion AARs strongly suggest using Facebook to help reach and inform your group. Will you use a Facebook Page, a Facebook Group, a Facebook Event, or a combination of all three? They are distinct, and there are positives and challenges to each.

Tip! Use media in your Facebook posts. Facebook posts that include images or videos are more successful than Facebook posts that are text only.

Tip! Reach out to the Marine Corps on Facebook.

Tip! If you are still active duty Marine Corps, keep in mind existing policies related to the use of social media, including Facebook.

Facebook Page

  • Positives
    • A Facebook page has a more “official” feel than other options.
    • You can create and schedule posts in advance.
    • You can review the analytics and make informed choices about when to post and what to include in future posts.
    • You and other page followers can invite other members of the target population who are your Facebook friends to follow the page and receive updates in that manner.
  • Challenges
    • Facebook pages and posts to the page are public; consider security as you develop your posts.

?Tip! If you’ve opted to use a Facebook page, invite your friends who are in the target population to like it. As that page, post a request that all who like it invite their friends too. Share this post regularly.

Facebook Group

  • Positives
    • Facebook groups may have a range of privacy settings applied; consider security as you develop your posts.
    • You and other group members can invite other members of the target population who are your Facebook friends to join the group and receive updates in that manner.
  • Challenges
    • You cannot create and schedule posts in advance.
    • You cannot review analytics.

Tip! If you’ve opted to use a Facebook group, pin a post to the top of the group page to highlight the content of that post. This post might include the link to purchase a ticket and/or swag.

Tip! If you’ve opted to use a Facebook group, invite your friends who are in the target population to join the group. Follow this up by making a post in the group requesting that they invite their Facebook friends who are in the target population to join the group.

Facebook Event

  • Positives
    • An event makes it easy for a Facebook user to see when an event is.
    • Facebook events may have a range of privacy settings applied; consider security as you develop and share your event.
    • Facebook users who have marked “Going,” “Maybe,” or “Interested” receive reminders about the event from Facebook.
  • Challenges
    • You cannot create and schedule posts in advance.
    • You cannot review analytics.
    • There may be some confusion about the difference between making an RSVP to the Facebook vs purchasing a ticket for the event. Mitigate this with clarifying language in the details of the event and in other related posts.

Tip! If you’ve opted to use a Facebook event, invite your friends who are in the target population to the event. Share the event on Facebook frequently and widely.

Twitter

Are members of your target population active on Twitter? If they are, consider incorporating the use of Twitter in your Communication Strategy.

  • Positives
  • Challenges
    • Marine and Family Programs is not on Twitter and cannot offer support on this platform.

Tip! If you are still active duty Marine Corps, keep in mind existing policies related to the use of social media.

LinkedIn

Are members of your target population active on LinkedIn? A LinkedIn Group may be a way to reach that segment of your target population.

  • Positives
    • Many Marines who have recently separated or retired are familiar with the LinkedIn platform and have profiles.
    • The Marine For Life Network, part of Marine and Family Programs, maintains an active presence on LinkedIn, and can help you reach Marines who are already on LinkedIn.
    • LinkedIn groups may have a range of privacy settings applied; consider security as you develop your posts.
  • Challenges
    • LinkedIn’s demographics skew older than many other social media platforms. If your target population is not largely separated or retired Marines, this may not be a good use of your time.

Tip! If you’ve opted to use a LinkedIn group, make a post inviting your connections who are in the target population to join the group. Follow this up by making a post in the group requesting that they invite their connections who are in the target population to join the group.

Tip! If you are still active duty Marine Corps, keep in mind existing policies related to the use of social media.

Instagram

Are members of your target population active on Instagram? If it is a popular social media platform with your target population, consider incorporating the use of Instagram in your communication and swag strategies.

Hashtags rule on Instagram. They are extremely common and expected. Create one for your reunion, use it, and encourage your target population to use it in addition to #USMCreunion.

  • Positives
    • Because of the visual nature of Instagram, it can be an effective aspect of your swag strategy.
    • You can encourage your reunion attendees to continue to use Instagram during and after the event to share their photos from the event.
    • The Marine Corps is active on Instagram.
  • Challenges
    • Because Intagram relies so heavily on graphics, text is not as prevalent.
    • Creativity is required for Instagram to be an effective social media platform for your reunion.
    • Marine and Family Programs is not on Instagram and cannot offer support on this platform.

Tip! If you are still active duty Marine Corps, keep in mind existing policies related to the use of social media.

Snapchat

  • Positives
    • Snapchat is less formal than many other social media platforms.
    • The Marine Corps is active on Snapchat.
  • Challenges
    • Snapchat’s demographics skew younger than many other social media platforms. If members of your target population are not younger, this may be not be a good use of your time.
    • Marine and Family Programs is on Snapchat so they cannot offer support on this platform.

Tip! If you are still active duty Marine Corps, keep in mind existing policies related to the use of social media.

Your Email Strategy

Expect to receive many email bounceback messages as you build your email list, especially if the timeframe you are celebrating was quite a few years ago.

With every email, make it easy for the reader to purchase a ticket or like or follow your reunion social media accounts.

Tip! Use BCC when emailing a large group.

Tip! With every email, include some call to action, whether it’s to like a page, join a group, purchase a ticket, share a post, visit a website, purchase some swag, or some other action. Engage your target population to effectively market your event.

Your Snail Mail Strategy

With your mailing, include links to primary sites: where to purchase a ticket, where to purchase swag, main social media source of information (such as a Facebook page, group, or event). Consider using QR codes.

Tip! Snail mail gets expensive quickly. Limit the amount of postal mail you send and anticipate quite a few pieces to be returned to sender.

Tip! Use Mail Merge to print mailing labels to save a lot of time.

Your Swag Strategy

Consider the extent to which your swag, if any, is intended to raise awareness prior to your event. How are you using swag to raise awareness prior to the event?

Your Other Marketing Strategies

Provide details about reunion for posting to reunion website.

Reach out and provide details about the reunion to the Marine For Life Network, Marine and Family Programs Marketing, Wounded Warrior Regiment, and VSOs who may be able to pass the word.