Goal: Increase awareness and visibility of the U.S. Marine Corps Wounded Warrior Regiment during the 2017 Department of Defense (DoD) Warrior Games
The mission of the Department of Defense Warrior Games is to provide an opportunity for athletes who have become wounded, ill or injured as a result of military service to grow physically, mentally and spiritually from the sportsmanship and camaraderie of a friendly and spirited adaptive sports competition. Participating athletes include active duty service members and veterans who have upper-body, lower-body and spinal cord injuries; traumatic brain injuries; visual impairment; serious illnesses; and post-traumatic stress. Athletes showcase their enduring warrior spirit in the presence of their families and a grateful nation by competing in archery, cycling, field, shooting, sitting volleyball, swimming, track and wheelchair basketball. Athletes qualify for the DoD Warrior Games by competing in qualifying competitions within their respective military service. Qualifying competitions were held in spring 2017 and the Warrior Games were held in July 2017.
Our social media strategy for the 2017 DoD Warrior Games built on the strategy we used for the Marine Corps' qualifying competitions — the 2017 Marine Corps Trials — held in March 2017. After completing background research on past social media activity, we determined video, especially live video, was underutilized during events such as the Marine Corps Trials and the DoD Warrior Games. During the trials, we successfully introduced the Regiment's Facebook audience to live streaming of athletic events for the first time, which had a significant impact on overall reach and engagement.
We enhanced our real-time coverage during the DoD Warrior Games by live streaming most of the athletic events in which Marines participated, as well as some general events — such as the opening ceremony and award ceremonies. This live access to the Games by Marines, their friends and family members, other Marine Corps-connected individuals and the broader Warrior Games audience provided ongoing, dynamic opportunities to engage fans and followers. With the exception of ESPN providing live play-by-play for one wheelchair basketball game, the Wounded Warrior Regiment's Facebook live videos were the only live coverage of events. Our Facebook live videos provided a first-hand look at the events as they were happening and enabled our audience to feel connected from locations all across the world. In addition to providing friends and family the ability to watch and engage with the Wounded Warrior Regiment, Marine Corps Installations around the world were able to cheer on their fellow Marines.
To complete successful live streams, the important technical pieces were a tripod for a cell phone, a secondary cell phone and a remote employee to assist with commenting and quality assurance.
In addition to our live coverage, we built out a comprehensive editorial calendar with pre-written content aligned with the live video. Content included schedule updates, memes, blogs, score updates and relevant shares of content from others covering the Games.
Our strategy emphasizing the use of live video for the Marine Corps' coverage of the 2017 DoD Warrior Games exceeded expectations for reach and engagement. Facebook post reach increased by 62.7 percent. Post reach for the month of July was 1,259,218, which was significantly higher than the average of 250,000. The top performing posts were live videos.
By providing live on-site video coverage of the 2017 DoD Warrior Games, we brought the spirit of the games directly into the homes and offices of people watching around the world. By providing this kind of access, we gave people an inside look into this inspirational event, fostering a spirit of community and patriotism.
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