Military families represent a “huge, untapped market for brands,” says marketing expert Desiree Martinez, founder of All-in-One Social Media. Some 48% of the 1.9 million active duty military members and their spouses earn more than $40,000 a year, after housing and healthcare expenses, according to an All-in-One Social Media white paper. Since the military covers many expenses, there’s a greater capacity for buying and spending—and reaching military members through social media can be quite simple and effective, Martinez explains.
Martinez is a a military daughter, wife and social media expert, who shared some of her insights into this market and social media. The most important first step is to deeply understand how the military lives, she says, and then consider their purchasing and social media preferences.
Why do you believe military families represent an untapped market?
Military families need things just as much as every family needs them. We need food, cars, cell phones, toys, electronics, you name it. But the difference is, we live a very different life in a culture all our own.
There’s this misunderstanding that military families don’t earn high incomes, but the vast majority of our life expenses are covered by the military. Military families are paid more than single military members, have great healthcare coverage and have a housing allowance to cover the expense of living on or off base, oftentimes with utilities included. Their entire paychecks can be spent on products like cell phones, food, cars, clothes, insurance, and so on.
What do military members look for in brands?
Military families tend to be budget conscious. With active duty military personnel moving an average of every two to three years, some 47% of military spouses are unemployed. The military takes care of many of our life expenses, yet we try to stretch out our dollars as much as possible. Military discounts really go a long way for us.
When marketing to military members, show us that your brand understands or can relate to our unique way of life. We’re drawn to brands that understand the challenges that might come from having a spouse deployed or living far away from family. And be sure your marketing is accurate. Include the right military uniforms, for example, and take the time to really learn about our lifestyle, from our interest in selling items through network marketing to paying homage to the national anthem every day at 5 p.m. on base.
What can you tell us about how military members use social media?
The most common social networks among military families, according to an All-in-One Social Media survey, is Facebook, followed by Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp. Some of the main reasons for using social media are: Staying in touch with family and friends, communicating with a deployed spouse, promoting an individual’s own business or services, staying connected with favorite brands, and participating in selling groups.
In short, social media is vital to our survival. We are hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from family, and we might be going through a deployment. Social media is how we stay connected. It’s where we spend the majority of our time.
What’s your best advice for engaging military members through social media?
If you want to target military families, consult with a military marketer or current military member to make sure your messaging is accurate to current military matters. The best advice is to tailor your messaging and ads toward military messaging.
Also understand what military members value most: Incentives that cater to military life. For example, car loans with 100% military approval, banking and insurance through USAA and stores, and websites that offer military discounts grab our interest.
At least 71% of military families have bought something because they saw it on social media, according to my market research. Military members are part of a tight-knit community, so one peer review or recommendation on social media can spread quickly and quite effectively. Multiply that, and the opportunities are endless.
Get to know the military community.
What blogs do military members visit most? Find out in our guide to the military blogosphere.Download