The Consequences of Social Media

We have discussed in great detail how social media is beneficial to you, but now you need to know how social media affects your audience, because as a health organization, you should probably care about your audience’s health.

Social media, of course, is a way for people to connect with one another. I have friends on Facebook that I have barely talked to in real life, yet they “like” everything I say and do. Is this constant connection with friends, family and barely-friends a good thing? And why should you health organization care about this?

 

social-media-graphic

(Photo from http://www.thenewdaily.com)

 

Addiction

The first consequence is social media addiction. According to Medical News Today, “Recent statistics show that 63% of American Facebook users log on to the site daily, while 40% of users log on multiple times a day.”

We all have our reasons for using social media. We like the compliments, we like looking at other people and what they’re doing, and mostly because we’re bored. Nevertheless, a lot of people are using social media and spending a lot of time on it.

So many people experience Facebook addiction that there’s even a way to measure it now. That’s crazy! It seems that those who are often in need of a self-esteem boost have stronger addictions. But why is this addiction a problem?

Social media addiction creates anxiety within people. They feel like they have to be checking their social media accounts constantly so that they aren’t missing out or making anyone feel ignored. This is especially true nowadays for teenagers. According to The Guardian, they are literally losing sleep over the addiction. Not okay!

 

social-media-addiction-infographic

(Infographic from http://www.blog.twmg.com)

 

Mental Health

Mental health can be affected by social media. Medical News Today says that people compare themselves to their friends on social media. When these friends are showing off their great accomplishments, it can make others feel poorly about themselves. Also, hardly anyone ever posts about the negative moments in their lives, and when people do, we accuse them of oversharing or looking for attention. Time says we present the perfect version of ourselves on social media.

With everyone trying to put on a happy face and hide the bad things in our lives, it can leave people feeling depressed and anxious. All people see is a bunch of happy people while they may be suffering in silence.

Eating disorders are fueled through social media as well, according to USA Today. If you search #thinsogram #thighgap or #bonespo, you’ll find disturbing images of extremely thin men and women, encouraging others to follow their advice. Social media is a platform for those with anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa to encourage each other in a negative way, offering tips to help them lose more weight and words of encouragement such as “skip dinner, be thinner.”

 

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(Photo from http://www.reasonwhy.es)

Narcissism

Getting a “like” feels great. We can all admit that. But what is that doing to us and to our relationships?

Social media causes shallow relationships, such as those barely-friends I discussed earlier. Why do we keep them on our pages? Probably because they increase our number of likes. I know, I’m judging myself here too. Psychology Today says that sometimes we even expect these likes or comments without even looking at other people’s updates. Makes you want to reconsider your social media habits, doesn’t it?

People are also ignoring their real life to get the attention they crave online. Do you have that one friend that can never get off their phone when you hang out? Try giving them a bunch of compliments. You may find that they start responding to you more.

 

Why your health organization should care

You may be thinking “how on Earth does this affect me?” Well as a health organization, you should care! People are being encouraged to participate in unhealthy eating behaviors, getting depressed and anxious, ruining their own relationships and becoming so addicted that they literally cannot function without checking their social media accounts. You should absolutely care, and you should do what you can to prevent it, especially since you’re self-promoting over the very thing that causes all these problems.

Men’s Health on many occasions has reminded its audience of the negative side effects of social media. Even sharing an article can help. Be sure to show your audience that you genuinely care about them. Social media affects them and no matter what your health organization is, your audience can experience these effects.

 

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(screenshot of Men’s Health Facebook page)

 

 

 

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Ethics and Your Organization’s Social Media Presence

Alright, I hate to switch gears on you so unexpectedly, but I’m going to switch gears on you. Knowing how to work social media websites, creating a strategy and evaluation are all important… for you. We now need to start thinking about how your organization is affecting/will affect others.

Your organization likely decided to get a social media presence for two reasons. The first, of course, was to get your name out there, which is perfectly fine. The second was to spread your health messages because (hopefully) you genuinely care about the cause you’re working for and want to help others.

That second part is where ethics come in. What ethical obligations do you have on social media? What ethical considerations should you take into account? Do your personal social media accounts matter?

Ethical Considerations

While thinking of your social media strategy, I urge you to take a very careful look at each post of yours. Can it in any way offend anyone? Can it be taken the wrong way? Is this going to be helpful?

A good way to answer these questions is by seeing if your organization’s cause (nutrition, diabetes, etc) has social media guidelines. For example, There are social media guidelines for mental health and suicide prevention made by TEAM Up. They offer tips that I would have never even thought of, such as using people-first language.

I like TEAM Up’s guidelines because it says that you need to actually respond to people reaching out. For mental health, this could be when someone posts suicidal thoughts, such as shown below.

 

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Also, try to stay away from being too trendy. As it turns out, people are more annoyed by it than anything, according to thinkprogress.org. What they were referring to was the disaster of using “The Dress” in a domestic abuse ad. Yikes. Doing something like this makes domestic violence look less serious, which is the exact opposite of what The Salvation Army wanted. “The Dress” was a lighthearted situation, that also caused a bit of annoyance for some, so using it for a serious cause proved to be more disastrous than helpful.

 

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(This picture was taken off of http://www.thinkprogress.org)

 

Ethical Obligations

Yes, your personal social media accounts matter, for everyone, but I’m looking hard at you doctors, nurses, and other medical staff. You are trusted by the public to be professional. Their lives are literally in your hands, so don’t be mad when people find out through your social media accounts that you’re wasted every other night and violate HIPAA laws. Speaking of which, please don’t do that. I mean, that should be obvious. However, people still think it’s okay to do it if you don’t include names. Just steer clear of talking about patients online, okay? It’s unprofessional.

 

(This picture was taken from http://www.newslinq.com)

 

You’re also obligated to read through the information you’re sharing, such as an article related to your cause. According to The Verge, more and more people are sharing articles without reading them through. This may not sound like a big deal, but who knows what could be said in the article. There could be incorrect information or something extremely insulting.

A silly mistake on your personal page isn’t much of an issue, but if you share without reading on your health organization’s social media accounts, you could get yourself in trouble, and there goes your credibility.

Negative Comments

What do you do when someone or a lot of people are posting negatively about your organization or on your posts? It sounds simple until it happens to you. Insight180 has some great tips when dealing with negative commenters. I’ll highlight the things I found important.

  • Always respond. “Conversation between an audience and an organization on social media is the epitome of transparency.” See if you can resolve the issue out in the open or message them privately.
  • If the comment is just rude, profane or unjustified, try to delete the comment if possible and block the user. It may just be an internet troll.
  • Develop a strategy for dealing with these comments
  • Don’t let negatively stop you from posting your beneficial posts!

 

Having a social media presence is a lot harder than it sounds, I know. Your organization is responsible for what it does and what it posts, so always put your best foot forward. Remember you are there to help your audience; use this to drive everything you do on social media, and think before you post! Use social media guidelines to help you through this, read through all the articles you share, don’t be dumb on your personal social media accounts, and know how to respond to negative commenters. You can do it.

 

 

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Don’t Make Your Organization’s Success a Guessing Game

So you and your health organization know how to work social media sites, and you know how to generate good content (you’re welcome), but now you need to know if you’re actually succeeding at it. Now, I believe you are, of course, but your social media analytics may or may not agree.

What is Davey Jone’s locker is a social media analytic? Your new best friend. Tech Target says it is “the practice of gathering data from blogs and social media websites and analyzing that data to make business decisions.” Basically, it tells you if what you’re doing on social media is working or not.

 

(Image from http://www.ibm.com)

 

Social media analytic tracking is relatively new to the world, so social media sites are slowly but surely trying to help you out with this. Before, it was common for businesses to hire third party companies to track the analytics for them, but it’s pretty expensive. Luckily for us, sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and newly Twitter have given us a free analytics dashboard! Thanks guys!

Here are the sites that will teach you how to use their analytics dashboard: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

 

(This is a sample Twitter analytic dashboard from http://www.viewbistro.com)

 

What are analytics specifically measuring? Avinash Kaushik, the Digital Marketing Evangelist for Google, proposes four social media metrics that are measured.

Conversation Rate

You know how I said (like, a million times) that you need to engage with your followers? There’s a way to measure if you’re doing it enough! The conversation rate is the number of audience comments per post. You can do this with every social media site, and it’s easy to do on your own because it usually says clear as day how many comments you’ve gotten. Your conversation rate is arguably the most important (argued by me) because it forces you to really know your audience.

Amplification Rate

Amplification is the rate at which your followers share your content through their network. So for Twitter, this is a Retweet, for Facebook, it’s a share and so on and so on. Again, easy enough to measure, but there’s a catch. The only reason you want to measure this is to see what content is generating the most amplification, so that you could post that kind of stuff more often. That could be tricky to do yourself, so take advantage of those free analytic dashboards where applicable.

 

(Picture from http://www.everything-pr.com)

 

Applause Rate

This is your organization’s pat on the back for a job well done. It doesn’t seem like it means a whole lot, but now you know you got some attention. The applause rate is the likes or favorites you get on a post. They may not seem as helpful to you as a Retweet or share, but don’t think that way. It just means your audience likes what you’re doing, and that’s great! A bunch of likes can make your post stand out above others.

Economic Value

This is where hard business comes in. For you, this means whether or not your organization is generating donations and what have you through your social media. Health organizations are obviously a lot different than businesses; you’re trying to help people, not roll around in money. But, at the same time, money does make the organization go ’round.

Economic value is the sum of short and long term revenue and cost savings. Basically, is your social media presence bringing in enough money to pay the people you need to pay and pay for the things you need to pay for? Are people donating? Are other organizations or even companies talking about you or with you? Do they want to pair up for events? Is anyone talking about you? You don’t want to waste your time if it’s not working, right? Read up on macro and mirco conversations. This is a metric that will have to be done with an analytic dashboard.

 

(Picture from http://www.charitychap.com)

 

The National Institute of Mental Health is a well-known organization. They have a great social media presence! They must have gotten to my tips before I even wrote them. Their conversation rate, amplification rate and applause rate are fabulous on all their social media websites! They post great articles, invite others to participate and post pictures. Check them out!

 

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(This is a screenshot of NIMH’s Twitter page)

 

Social media is a lot more work than you thought, right? I know, but I believe in you and your health organization. If you haven’t thought about hiring someone specifically for social media, I would at least consider it! There are also a number of third party companies that will help you with analytics, if you believe that’s what is right for you. That’s one quick Google search away. I hope your analytics boards show you great news!

 

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

There is No Success Without Strategy

I’ve been more than happy to describe how specific social media can help your health organization and how you use them, but now it’s time to get serious. It’s great to know all that information, but it’s useless without having a social media strategy. So, let’s develop one together.

20-social-media-icons

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, I want to cover some important concepts.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Guide to Writing for Social Media is an excellent read that I highly encourage you take a look at. It agrees with all my other blogs in saying that your social media’s outreach should have four main goals: defining a target audience, determining an objective, selecting the proper channel for your message and deciding how much time and effort to invest in it.

We’ve talked a lot about finding your target audience, so I’ll skip this one, but here’s a good link just in case you need a little more help.

The CDC’s Guide brings up a phrase, “plain language,” which basically means KISS, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Here are their tips for using plain language.

  • Quickly engage the reader.
  • Limit use of jargon, technical, or scientific language.
  • Write in active voice.
  • Keep messages short.
  • Write in a friendly but professional tone. Sound familiar? (Yes, I’m giving myself a compliment.)
  • Choose words with one definition or connotation.
  • Use measurements that are familiar to your audience.
  • Choose familiar terms, and use them consistently.
  • Use acronyms with caution.
  • Use numbers when they help you make your point.
  • Consider using alternatives to words expressing mathematical concepts. Maybe I’m bias here, but I don’t know much about math, so this is important to me!

Even though WebMD enables my hypochondria and makes me think every little pain is a deadly illness, they use great language on Twitter! Short, sweet and to the point while using other important tips to create good content.

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Creating content? What do you mean, Bek?

Creating social media accounts is not enough. If you want the attention and to achieve your organization’s goals, you must create good content. CDC’s Guide says social media content should be relevant, useful, interesting, easy to understand and share, friendly, engaging and action-oriented.

There are so many ways to create good content. Here are a few of my favorites from Forbes:

  • Fill-in-the-blank posts
  • Polls
  • Infographics, which you should definitely be using! Infographics are like, made for health organizations.
  • Fan photos
  • Posts that prove you’re an actual person.
  • ‘Caption this’ contests
  • Profile an employee
  • Sharing awards or accolades you’ve received, because you’re great and people should know.

A really easy way to make sure your content is great is to plan it out ahead of time (sorry to the procrastinators). Plan out your content on each social media platform from week to week, that way you aren’t scrambling for ideas the day of. I don’t want to see any scrambled egg content, because trust me, it’s obvious. Use any calendar format or even an Excel sheet to help you. Plan it out once a week, or even once a month if you think you’re ready, just be sure to fill in where needed. If something comes up aside from the scheduled content, be sure to post.

It’s also important to know your voice. If you have a fun voice for your nutrition organization, be fun! Be serious if you want to be serious. No one is more you than you. I believe it was Dr. Seuss that said that. Knowing your voice will create loyalty and add consistency to your content.

Time your content accordingly. You wouldn’t say “Merry Christmas” in April, so make sure you know what you’re saying is timely.

Edge_Infographic_Creating-Good-Social-Content

Listen!

People think they are listening when really, they are only hearing. ‘Hearing’ would be reading people’s posts and moving along. ‘Listening’ requires engagement, which I believe I have been quite clear that it is important.

Dave Kerpen, author of “Likeable Social Media,” another good read for you, wrote in his first chapter that communication is 50% listening and 50% talking. Listen to people’s stories. Listen to their advice. Listen to what they want. Interact with them. If they’re telling you that they lost five pounds because of your tips, you better congratulate them. If that sounds too demanding, than give your social media coordinator a raise, because this is how you get what you want.

People will love you even more if you prove that you’re listening. Your relationship with the public will grow stronger, and your goals are more likely to be achieved. To help with listening, stay up to date on hashtags so that you can skim through and react and leave your notifications on to alert you when your organization is mentioned.

Do you see below where is says “Very responsive to messages?” That is your goal. Right there. You go, Health Digest.

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Alright, folks. That’s all I’ve got in me. If you’re in need of more information, as I’ve said, the CDC’s Guide to Writing for Social Media is incredibly helpful and can offer you some examples. However, I’m very confident you can do this because you rock.

 

 

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

InstaSuccess

Another lame title by me. Would anyone like to be my employee? Your only job is to keep me from writing any more cheesy titles. I can pay you… in friendship (blogging isn’t exactly a six figure career, especially since I do this for free).

Anyway, let’s talk about Instagram, my favorite social media site. It’s great for visual people like me because it’s all about pictures! You can add a caption of course, but unlike blogging, Twitter and so on, the star of the show is the picture. I’d rather look at pictures, and so do a lot of people, especially those hip, youngsters. Instagram has over 100 million users that could be looking at what your health organization is up to.

I’m going to divide this up between general Instagram tips and then specific ones for your health organization. I mean, what’s a Bekki blog without tips?

General tips:

  • Making your profile will be like all your other accounts. You need a solid profile picture, throw your website into the bio and so on. Make sure you have goals set in place. Let’s see if you were listening to my other blogs.
  • Followers are important, obviously. As usual, go follow people that make sense to follow, like other health organizations related to your area. Know your target audience. Be sure to like and comment on their stuff so that you get some engagement back!
  • To be fun or to be serious? I say both, just balance it. If you’re having a fundraising event, post a picture of people having fun at it. Other times you’ll need to post about donations or the sad statistics that drive your organization. Feel it out, but don’t do too much of one over the other.
  • Videos are great for promotion, but I wouldn’t go overboard. In my experience, videos don’t get as much interaction as pictures. Just make the videos count.
  • Be trendy! Instagram uses hashtags too, and you’ll want to stay in the know.
  • Know the power of a good caption. It’s not Facebook, so don’t write paragraphs, but be interesting.

Healthy Food Advice is making me hungry with its impressive looks! But boo, their following to followers ratio makes me sad.

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Health organization specific tips:

  • Here’s your chance to be creative. Start your own hashtag! The Red Pump Project promotes awareness and education to women and girls about HIV/AIDS using a red heel as their symbol, so they created #RockTheRedPump. Users have loved it and posted their own pictures with the hashtag!
  • Offer incentives. I wish everyone was as passionate about your organization as you are, but sadly, that’s not how the world works. People like stuff, so send some their way.
  • I’ve already said engage with people, but I’m so serious about it that I’m going to say it again. Engage.
  • Obviously, you need your pictures to be interesting. Carefully plan your pictures. If you have a photographer on hand, coolio. If not, become one yourself. Download some photo editing applications. You also want your pictures to match your organization. If you’re about fitness, post some motivational pictures. It’d be weird to share a picture about how you’re eating McDonald’s for lunch.
  • Let people know who is behind the organization. Take cute pictures of people at the office and behind the scenes and what not. Let your followers know you’re real people.
  • Promote! Promote your website. Promote your text-to-give campaigns. Promote your personalized hashtag. Promote fundraising events. Promote discounts. And then thank your donors as you see below. It’d be great to have someone who’s good at graphic design to make stuff like this for your organization.Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 12.02.45 PM

 

I think I covered it all. In summary, post some really great pictures, slap a good caption on it, be creative and engage with other people. Sounds easy enough, right? Now go try it out. Comment with your Instagram handles so that I can further stalk you.

 

 

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Link In To Your Health Organization

Glad to have you back. Are you getting sick of my not-so-clever titles yet? This week on “Bekki Blogs for Your Benefit,” we’ll be talking about LinkedIn. Since you’re already a professional, chances are you either have an account or have at least heard of it, but I’m going to let you know how to set one up for your health organization.

For those of you who aren’t sure what LinkedIn is, basically it’s another social networking site, but its goals are entirely professional. It allows its members to establish and document networks of people they know and trust professionally. It emphasizes employment history and education and has professional network news feeds. For personal use, it’s mostly used to get a job or recruit for one. Study up on its glossary.

Establish a Marketing Plan

You know that word “goals” I keep using? Yeah, still important. Just like all your other social media accounts, to have success with LinkedIn, you’ll need to make a long-term commitment to them. Que Beyonce singing “If you like it then be sure to put a ring on it.”

Step One

Set up your page, of course. You’ll want to build a LinkedIn company page so that you have access to additional features that enhance your visibility. As usual, think about what profile picture and graphics will suite your organization best, add your website link, and with LinkedIn, you can add volunteer or job opportunities! Woo!

Once you have that set up, invite your existing employees or volunteers, clients, customers, vendors and so on to follow your page. You can even have these people recommend you, which shows up on your page for everyone to see and adds to your credibility. You’ll then want to fill the page with interesting status updates about your organization so that you get noticed. Over 1.5 million healthcare professionals are available to connect with you, so take advantage!

Would you look at that banner picture from Pan American Health Organization? And look at all of that information right there for you to see. I’m just so proud, I might cry.

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Step Two

Become familiar with LinkedIn groups. They’re pretty cool because they help you become a “thought leader” of your area of expertise. When you launch the group, get the word out to employees, clients and partners that revolve around your health organization. The most successful groups focus on gaining relevant members with common goals. Get a good manager for these groups as well.

The group will give you the ability to message your members once a week, which goes directly to their email inboxes, to deliver special promotions or campaigns. Make sure whoever is managing the group is fostering a healthy community by provoking discussion and adding content. Happy wife, happy life, but in this case, happy followers, happy… well, life I guess.

Step Three

Obviously, you can’t force LinkedIn upon your employees and volunteers, but it’d be great if everyone had one. It sets up an extended network that strengthens your organization’s presence. If everyone looks professional with a neatly designed profile and added goals, it makes your organization look even better.

Plus, who’s a bigger fan of your organization than the people actually working with it? They’ll be able to update their personal pages with information and promotions about your organization, which will get to all their connections. Your web of people just increased big time!

social-networking

 

You know I always have tips

  • Proofread your profile. Please.
  • Ask and answer questions. There’s a “Q&A” module in LinkedIn that your can participate in, which will get your profile viewed by people who have interest in your organization.
  • Visit the resource pages. LinkedIn loves its nonprofits because its all about building relationships. There are even resources tailored for nonprofits.
  • Fill your page with keywords. This will help search engines pick up on your profile in search results.
  • Showcase yourself. This is new from LinkedIn. It allows you to highlight specific campaigns and programs, which just so happens to be great for health organizations like you. You can also advertise with sponsored updates. Like I said, check out your resources.
  • As always, look at what other similar organizations are doing. They can provide insight to the content you may want to share and who to connect with.

 

I’m a big fan of the Susan G. Komen profile. I follow this page personally, and I noticed that their banner picture is always changing to keep up with its events, which I think really shows attention to detail. They also managed to get a lot of their employees to get on LinkedIn, which we talked about before. The information they provide is terrific, and they’re good at keeping and gaining followers. What I really enjoy, however, is the personal stories they share. They do promotion too of course, but it’s the personal touch that keeps my attention.

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Now go on and make those awesome pages. As always, I’ll be watching.

 

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! Nope, it’s a hashtag.

A little birdie told me that you’re thinking about using Twitter to further promote your health organization. Aren’t you ambitious? Twitter happens to be one of my favorite social media platforms. It offers quick information for those who can’t keep their attention, like me. It’s also a great way to generate discussion.

A lot like Facebook, Twitter begs for interaction. The difference is that you have a character limit with Twitter. You’re limited to 140 characters, which is a blessing and a curse. The good thing is people won’t become exhausted by a long post, because that’s not possible. The bad thing is you need to learn how to make every word count and tweet more than once a day.

Setting up your account

  • Think creatively while setting up your account. Choose a profile picture that suites your organization best and a Twitter handle that is easily recognizable. Pick a good header picture to capture people’s attention as well.
  • Add a description that includes your mission. This reminds me of all those relatives that relentlessly asked you what you’re going to do with your life when you graduated college. Beat them to the punch and tell them why you’re on Twitter and what you’re going to do!
  • Follow who you want to follow, as long as it makes sense. I love Beyoncé just as much as everyone else, but maybe follow her on your personal page. Also, try to keep your followers and following numbers about the same. If your followers are higher, it looks like you’re only interested in spitting out facts. If the number of people you follow is higher, people might think you’re a spam account.

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Stand Up to Cancer does a great job of setting up it’s account. They use their logo as their profile picture so that they’re easily recognizable, their header picture is bold, and uses the biography space to promote themselves further. No shame in sending people to your donation website! Their followers to following ratio is off, but when you’re that big of a health organization, you’re forgiven. Also, 21K is a lot of people to follow if you think about it.

#BestPractices

If you don’t know why there’s a # in front of “Best Practices,” I would highly suggest doing some extensive research before being in charge of your organization’s Twitter account. There’s no shame in letting someone else handle the account! Actually, that’s usually how it’s done for organizations. Figure out who will do it best. Here are some other tips.

  • Twitter is 20% promotion and 80% conversation. Do not just spit facts! I’ll be so mad at you! Be a person, not a robot. Talk to people and your personality will be what gains your organization attention.
  • #Do #Not #Hashtag #Everything. Seriously. That’s extremely annoying, and no one can read that. Use trending hashtags or hashtag key words to get noticed, just don’t overdo it.
  • You should feel like a rockstar if you get retweeted. That means your information just went to new webs of followers who will see it and may retweet it and so on and so on. So, tweet retweetable information! Be unique and interesting rather than constantly asking for donations or sending out advertisements.
  • I know the young, hip kids are using abbreviations and whatnot, but stick to clear, concise language with proper punctuation.
  • Retweet stuff yourself. If it goes with your mission, don’t be afraid to share it. It gets your name out to other organizations as well.
  • Tweet and retweet about 2-8 times a day at a steady pace. Too many times is annoying and not enough won’t gain you any attention. Also, tweeting a bunch in 10 minutes is not helpful. Even it out through the day. Be sure to tweet on weekends too.
  • Include cool links and pictures.
  • There is an analytics dashboard that you’ll want to learn how to use so that you can note patterns in the types of tweets that receive a lot of engagement.

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CMHA National does a very good job with its content. Pulling in a Prime Minister? I’m all about it. They don’t abuse the hashtags either and tweet out informative articles. You’ll find something missing if you go to their Twitter page, however. No interaction! While trying to find an account that does a good job of this, I was shocked at how many are breaking the cardinal rule. Interact. With. Your. Followers. I’m going to tweet at all of you just to make sure you’re listening to me.

One more thing

Twitter has this cool thing called Periscope. You can share and view live broadcasts from your cellphone, which would be great to use for one of your fundraising or awareness events! Offering that real-time access builds a more personal relationship with people, which happens to be exactly what you want. Don’t write a script or anything for these. People can relate to real people.

 

And once again, I confidently send you on your way. Share with me your Twitter handles so that I can make sure you’re listening to me. Just kidding. (Not really.)

 

Best of Luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A Fresh Face for Facebook

Well, well, well. Look who’s back. You mastered the art of blogging, and now you think you’re ready for something more, like Facebook (dun, dun, dun). Good! Facebook isn’t just for posting pictures of cats and trying to avoid that strange relative that comments on everything you do. Facebook may just be the perfect fit for your health organization.

Blogging offers interaction, but Facebook demands it. That’s why it was created: constant interaction. You’re interacting with your followers and vice versa even when you think you aren’t. Simply skimming through a post counts! And nothing feels better than a “like,” the ultimate sign of approval that lets you know that your followers really are listening to your health information! How can these likes and comments bring success to your health organization though?

Benefits of Facebook you need to know:

  • It’s relatively free. There’s no charge for a Facebook account, but you will need to put a good amount of time and effort into it. You’ll want to remain active and keep visitors engaged. Facebook also has an option for advertising that comes with a fee, but it creates highly targeted ads.
  • It creates a targeted, engaged audience. Social media involvement creates loyalty, satisfaction, and a positive experience with a specific audience.
  • Constant interaction helps you to get to know your audience. With communication running all ways, from you to your audience, your audience to you, and your audience to each other, you’ll be able to learn valuable information to understand your audience’s needs and wants.
  • It can help build your brand. Facebook is another way to show the world who you and your health organization are. It can help you build a great reputation, just remember that you’re in charge of it.
  • There’s a place for a donation button and a fundraising page. Yeah, you heard me. Well, read me.

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There’s always a catch.

Setting up an account for your health organization is not like setting up a personal page. You’ll want to read the terms and conditions, privacy information and other instructions. However, it will look similar to a personal page. Here’s what healthcaresuccess.com considers to be a good page for health organizations:

  • Logo and branding that carries throughout the Facebook page
  • The “Wall” tab presents the organization’s news feed and visitor comments
  • The “info” tab has a “request an appointment/information” option, phone numbers, and the organization’s mission
  • Other tabs for pictures, videos, events, questions and links

What now?

Once you’ve set up your page, it’s time to be engaging, which may be hard for you if you’re anything like me (using bad jokes is only okay when I do it… hardly). You’ll want to check out this site for more information, but I’ll summarize. Be relatable. Ask questions. Post relevant content with credible sources. Offer incentives and rewards. Learn it, live it, love it. Repeat these tips over and over again in your mind. Don’t think I won’t check out your Facebook page to make sure you’re listening.

What makes a successful Facebook campaign? Clear goals, defined target audience, a clear message and evaluation. Thanks for asking. Similar to blogging, you want to be likable. You want people coming back to see what you have to say. You want people to share, like and comment on your posts. You want people talking about your health organization, because that is how you spread your health information.

Although I really want to see the cute things your pet does (and trust me, I genuinely do), leave it for your personal page. Your health organization’s Facebook page should be professional, but inviting. Don’t be a robot randomly sending out information. Tell your fans why the information is important and how they can get involved. Start a discussion! It’s your responsibility to be engaging. Scary, I know, but I believe in you.

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This is a lot of information, so perhaps looking at an example would help. The World Health Organization looks great to me. The first thing I noticed was that they post regularly, without being overbearing. Secondly, they post and share informative news articles and ask questions that furthers their mission and brand. These posts allow people to engage and share their thoughts. Their pictures and videos are easily found, along with their organization’s website, where you can donate. You can find their hours of operation and telephone number, reviews, and other relevant information without a problem.

All this talk of Facebook has reminded me that I have a cute picture of my cat to post. Now go off into the world of Facebook, and make me proud. I’ll be watching!

Best of luck,

Bekki C.

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

A Blog About Blogs: How to Blog Your Way to Success

So, you’re thinking about using a blog to promote your health organization (or you clicked on the wrong link. There’s still time to go back.). The first step is admitting that social media is beneficial, if used properly of course. Blogging is a great way to get your ideas, thoughts and news across to large audiences. It’s like a microphone that can reach anyone in the world!

The word “blog” is a cross between “web” and “log,” which offers you no useful information other than the fact that I never knew that, and I think it’s cool. Even cooler, though, is that your blog is an expression of you, or your organization’s character. You can be as funny, serious, breezy or whatever other personality you want your blog to have while getting across valuable information to your audience.

As with everything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to blog. You want people to read what you have to say, right? Otherwise, you’re just talking to yourself, like that diary you kept in middle school that you don’t like to talk about (or the one you stole out of your sister’s bedroom).

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Define your goals.

Please do not just start blogging about anything and everything like you would on one of your personal social media accounts. Remember you are blogging on behalf of your health organization, so I imagine your most important goal should be something along the lines of passing on important health information. Your blog has a greater chance of success if you know what you’re trying to accomplish. What are you hoping your blog will do over the course of six months? A year?

One of your goals will likely include people knowing more about your organization. That’s perfectly fine! Include a link or talk about the organization, just don’t do it too much or in an obvious way. You don’t want to be a used car salesman.

  • Be yourself.

No one is more you than you. People will know if you’re faking it because something will  feel like it’s missing or it just won’t read well. Plus, if you’re always being yourself, your blog will be consistent, which will allow you to gain loyal followers.

Also, people read blogs because they like to get the facts with some flair. This is the one place where your opinion is always welcome. If people want the dry facts, they’ll read a newspaper. You’re a blogger, not a reporter.

  • Talk about what you know.

If I tried to blog about biomedical engineering, it would be an absolute disaster. It would be filled with dry facts that I pulled out of textbooks and jokes that I don’t even understand. If your area of expertise is fitness, then you fill that blog of yours with fitness related material and don’t stray. You’ll always be focused and have plenty to talk about. Don’t be like Joe down there trying to blog about how argyle sweater vests are no longer in style.

 

So now you know what to say, but you still need to actually put it onto your blog. Don’t forget about the importance of layout. Visuals matter. Have you ever walked into a house that was so cluttered with home decor (or maybe actual clutter), that it was just unappealing? People will have the same feeling about your blog if it’s filled with nonsense. Here’s another bullet point list of tips.

  • Carefully format every post.
  • Constrain your column width. Narrow columns are more visually appealing and are much more easily read.
  • Use headers, sub headers and lists.
  • Grammar doesn’t go out the window! Use correct punctuation, capitalization and so on.
  • Fonts matter. Use something that can be read without squinting.
  • White space is good. It gives the reader’s eyes time to rest.
  • If you’re using a colored background, make sure it goes well with your font color.
  • Images are great, but too many distracts from what you’re trying to say.

Girls Gone Strong is a great example for layout. The home page has its recent blogs available so that readers can scroll through to find what post would interest them. The post then has a clean format, nice and narrow with white space. It also includes visuals that help to tell a personal story.

I send you on your way to start your successful health blog. Be sure to check out other health blogs to get an idea of what you think works and what doesn’t.

Best of luck,

                      Bekki C.

 

 

 

Read something you agree or harshly disagree with? Let me know! The cool thing about opinions is that they aren’t facts and can change at any time, including mine. I’d love to hear your thoughts.