The ubiquity of social media – notably Twitter and Facebook – has changed how patients seek information on their condition. This kind of environment in which anyone and everyone can share information, regardless of its veracity, has prompted health organizations to get involved in social media to ensure that patients find the correct information about their health from a reputable source.
To help organizations better understand how to use social media tools to communicate health information, Consumer Reports created a five-part training series for Choosing Wisely® grantees and partners.
“We got a lot of questions about social media at the Choosing Wisely Summit earlier this year, and that’s what led us to think of hosting this series,” said Lane Rasberry, Wikipedian-in-Residence at Consumer Reports. “This series provided an opportunity to share some ideas about very inexpensive, short-term and low-commitment methods for reaching a larger and different audience segment.”
Through these trainings, Consumer Reports shared five key ways to engage in health care conversations through social media:
- Become familiar with the social media platforms you plan to use before launching your campaign by trying them outside of work. Most people will feel comfortable with a social media platform after about a month of using it daily.
- Spend about an hour a week – preferably 15 minutes each day – working on your social media campaign. Allow time to track your influence and determine your impact by using free tools, such as Google Analytics, TweetReach, Hootsuite or Bitly.
- Follow influencers and adopt a communication style that mimics those who have a social media presence that you admire.
- Make friends online and remember that no one is successful alone. Social media is the perfect place to ask questions and engage.
- Explore opportunities to use social media to broadly share content you publish elsewhere, such as blogs, reports and newsletters.