It was worth it, says Brandon Friedman, the VA’s director of online communications. “We want to get veterans all the information they could possibly need,” he says.
The VA is finding that veterans look for that information online, particularly on Facebook. Through its various Facebook accounts, Friedman says, the VA reaches 356,000 people, 74,000 of whom follow the department’s local medical center accounts-and that number is growing all the time.
The VA started its first few Facebook pages in 2008, where they “kind of hung out for a while,” Friedman says. VA began building department-wide pages the following year, but efforts to build a network of Facebook pages for each regional medical center didn’t start until 2010.
What kicked the administration into high gear? Talking to veterans and thinking about how they view the VA, Friedman says.
“One of the things that was very apparent to us was that veterans don’t necessarily feel a connection the Department of Veterans Affairs in Washington, D.C.,” he says. “They feel a connection to their local VA. When they want information from VA, that’s where their first instinct is to go.”