Writing for Social Media

Writing for social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and X, formerly known as Twitter, requires a specialized style of writing. Short, direct sentences are essential. Audiences must easily and instantly understand messages. The social media environment is noisy. Our messages must cut through the noise, or they will be lost.

  • Be platform specific. The share copy for a social post should get people's attention, make sense for the platform it's on and include a call to action.
  • Use active language. An active voice and action verbs will make sure your copy is direct and clear to your audience.
  • Use your text and headlines to lead your reader. In a social post, the share copy and headlines should work together.
  • Lead social posts with a call to action when possible. Depending on your post, this may include requests to click on a link, comment on the post or take a different specific action.
  • Don't be afraid of abbreviations, symbols and a conversational tone. Abbreviations are appropriate and acceptable in titles. Social media is more casual in nature; therefore, a light, friendly, conversational tone is appropriate. The use of symbols such as the hashtag (#) and percent sign (%) is consistent with the quick communication in social media.
  • Do not use "please" in social posts for Military Community and Family Policy social platforms. For example, do not say: Please visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS when planning your next move. Instead, say: Visit MilitaryINSTALLATIONS when planning your next move. However, "please" is acceptable in blogs, as appropriate. Outreach Operations must approve all other exceptions.
  • Due to its algorithms, use either no cost or a variation of "take advantage of your benefit" on Facebook. Do not use free.

Below are some examples of lingo, emoji and hashtags we use to communicate with the military audience.

Resilience and strength:

Flex emoji

Hands emoji

Fist emoji

running emoji

Topic-based or awareness days:

Backpack emoji

Pumpkin emoji

Turkey emoji

present emoji

Emotion and lifestyle:

heart emoji

thinking emoji

thumbs up emoji

family emoji

Avoid emoji that are inappropriate or imply the appearance of vulgarity or impropriety, for example:

middle finger emoji

skull emoji

needle emoji

Examples of military lingo:

  • Time for some mandatory fun.
  • OCONUS PCS? No sweat. We've got your six.
  • 15 minutes prior to 15 minutes prior. It's never too early to start planning for…
  • On the double
  • Stay strong on the homefront.
  • Operation file taxes
  • Battle buddy
  • Rack (bed)
  • Rack time (sleeping)
  • DFAC or Chow Hall (food)
  • Top (first sergeant)
  • Hooah! (Army), oorah! (Marines), ooyah! (Coast Guard)
  • Oscar-Mike (on the move)
  • As you were (return to what you were doing)

Military OneSource and product hashtags:

  • #MilitaryOneSource (never #Military1Source), #BlogBrigade, #LoveEveryDay

Military community and events hashtags:

  • #MilitaryLife, #MilLife, #Military, #ArmedForces, #LoveFromHome, #MilBox, #MilitaryMonday, #RedFriday, #SupportOurTroops

Military family hashtags:

  • #MilSpouse(s), #MilitarySpouse(s), #[Branch Name]Spouse(s), #MilFam, #MilKid(s), #MilParent
  • #Army, #MarineCorps, #Navy, #AirForce, #USSF, #NationalGuard, #USMC, #Marines, #SemperFi, #Veterans
  • #VeteransDay, #DayoftheDeployed, #MemorialDay, #FourthofJuly, #VeteranWife, #VetVerify, #AskRobyn, #MilitaryFamilyMonth

Jobs and job search hashtags:

  • #Hiring, #TweetMyJobs, #HR, #JobOpening, #Employment, #Recruiting, #JobSearch, #JobListing, #HireMe, #LinkedIn, #Resume, #CV, #JobTips, #Career, #HotJobs, #Job, #HomeBusiness, #Entrepreneur, #WomenOwned, #MyVetBiz (Small Business Administration), #SmallBiz

Education hashtags:

  • #Education, #College, #Tuition, #BacktoSchool

Health and lifestyle hashtags:

  • #LifeHack, #AttitudeofGratitude, #PayitForward, #Kindness, #StressBusters, #Stress, #SpecialNeeds, #Nutrition, #Blogger, #HealthyParenting, #Parenting, #MilParenting

Financial hashtags:

  • #Money, #Savings, #Finances

Moving and housing hashtags:

  • #MilMove, #PCS, #Deployment, #DeploymentTips, #PCS, #PCSing, #MilitaryRelocation, #Moving

Recreation and travel hashtags:

  • #MWR, #SpaceATravel, #MilitaryTravel, #Travel, #DODMWRLibraries

Finally, here is an extensive list of social media-friendly military terms:

  • activation: Order to active duty (other than for training)
  • active duty: Full-time duty in the active military service — includes members of the reserve components serving on active duty or full-time training duty, but does not include National Guard duty
  • advance force, advance guard: Small force sent ahead for reconnaissance, minesweeping, preliminary site seizure, air support, etc.
  • check: Term meaning "yes," "affirmative" or "I agree"
  • chit: Any piece of paper authorizing something
  • commission: To put in or make ready for service or use, as to commission an aircraft or ship; a written order giving a person rank and authority as an officer in the armed forces; or the rank and the authority such an order gives
  • deployment: Leaving the normally assigned duty area, usually as a unit, to temporarily serve in another area
  • exercise: Military maneuver or simulated wartime operation involving planning, preparation and execution for the purpose of training and evaluation
  • expedition: A military operation an armed force conducts to accomplish a specific objective in a foreign country
  • fall in: To assemble in formation
  • forward observer: An observer operating with frontline troops and trained to adjust ground or naval gunfire and pass back battlefield information
  • forward operating base: An airfield the military uses to support tactical operations without establishing full support facilities. Use may occur for an extended time period. A main operating base must provide backup support for a forward operating base.
  • forward operating location: Similar to a forward operating base but without the in-place infrastructure, primarily used for counter-drug operations
  • friendly: A contact with positive identification as friendly
  • general orders: Permanent instructions, issued in order form, that apply to all members of a command, as compared with special orders, which affect only individuals or small groups; general orders usually concern matters of policy or administration
  • situation report/SITREP: A report giving the situation in the area of a reporting unit or formation
  • special operations: Operations by specially organized, trained and equipped military and paramilitary forces to achieve military, political, economic or informational objectives by unconventional military means in hostile, denied or politically sensitive areas. These ops differ from conventional ops in degree of physical and political risk, operational techniques, mode of employment, independence from friendly support, and dependence on detailed operational intelligence and assets.
  • task force: A temporary or semi-permanent grouping of units, under one commander, to conduct a specific operation or mission
  • theater of operations: a subarea within a theater of war defined by the geographic combatant commander required to conduct or support specific combat ops. Different theaters of operations within the same theater of war will normally be geographically separate and focus on different enemy forces. Theaters of operations are usually of significant size, allowing for ops over extended periods of time.
  • troops: A collective term for uniformed military personnel, usually not applicable to naval personnel afloat
  • alpha unit: Marine's spouse
  • blast: The first parachute jump after parachutist jump school
  • cherry blast: The sixth jump a parachutist makes after jump school
  • master blaster: Parachutist with master parachutist badge
  • Hollywood blast: A parachute jump for pay purposes
  • check six: Look directly behind you; twelve o'clock means directly in front
  • exercise the landing gear: To walk
  • eyewash: Superficial improvements or additions
  • hop: A mission or flight