By Kate Aquillano
Every June 30, the world celebrates Social Media Day. Today, your feeds will undoubtedly be filled with fun gifs, emojis and memes, but the day also celebrates social media’s impact on global communication. And that, more than ever, is evident at the USO.
The USO supports 4.9 million active duty, Guard and Reserve and their families, and with more than 200 USO locations, our reach is truly global. Here are a few ways the USO uses social media to connect our men and women in uniform to family, home and country, throughout their service to the nation.
The campaign calls on Americans to show their strength as a Force Behind the ForcesSM by striking a biceps flex in support of our nation’s military and sharing it on social media. It allows the public to demonstrate appreciation and a personal commitment to service members and their families.
On July 4, #Flex4Forces photos will be streamed to screens in USO locations around the globe for service members to see. Our men and women show their strength every day and now it’s your turn!
Last year, we called on Americans to send 1.4 million messages of support – one for every active-duty service member. We reached that goal, but why stop there? This year, we’re doubling down on our goal. Be the Force Behind the Forces by taking a moment to connect with service members. Send a message of encouragement today at USO.org/messages, then share your actions on social media so others can follow your lead.
Earlier this month, the USS Fitzgerald – which is based out of Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan – collided with a commercial container ship near the Izu Peninsula, about 64 miles from its home port. Seven sailors were killed in the collision and three others, including the ship’s commander, were injured.
Citizens across the globe were looking for a way to support and turned to the USO Yokosuka Facebook page for answers. The center and its volunteers sprang into action, extending their operating hours to 24/7 to provide service members and their families with a safe, comfortable environment.
This summer, Dollar General is teaming up with Coca-Cola on a new Share a Coke® patriotic can series honoring service members, veterans and their families. Supporters are encouraged to recognize and thank the military community on social media by posting their message and a photo of themselves with one of the military Coca-Cola cans using the #CokeDGSupportMilitary hashtag.
Think about the service members serving far from home and country this Independence Day. After you #Flex4Forces, frame your flex by adding the USO’s July 4th Facebook Frame to your profile picture. Let’s show our men and women in uniform there is strength in numbers!
Simply go to Facebook.com/profilepicframes and search #Flex4Forces to add our frame.
While country star Trace Adkins was on his 13th USO tour, he streamed his concert at Aviano Air Base in Italy on Facebook live for all to see. When the cast of the hit NBC show “This is Us” stopped by Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, we Instagram-lived their base visit.
The USO regularly teams up with our top talent for concerts, meet-and-greets, unit visits and other interactive events for our service members and their families stationed stateside and overseas. Now, we can bring these events to an even larger military audience through social media.
According to the most recent Blue Star Families survey, nearly 90 percent of service members feel the general public doesn’t truly understand the sacrifices they make. The USO is working to change that. One way is through social media.
We utilize our platform to showcase the 11 million service connections the USO has with military members and their families each year. Whether it is profiling one of our many programs, like USO Pacific’s Operation Birthday Cake or the USO-hosted United Through Reading, or sharing a local USO event, the USO aims to keep members of the military connected to everything that gives meaning to their service.