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.
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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,
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.