Putting the Social in Social Media

For public health units, relationships are key.  Whether it is community partners, fellow health units, experts, residents or the media, relationship building is a large part of what we do.  In the offline world, relationships are developed through networks and communities with individuals of similar interests.  This transfers well to the online world and social media provides a great opportunity for those in public health to develop relationships and establish communities.

Treat your online relationships as you would offline:

  • It’s a two-way conversation.  Social media provides a great opportunity to “push-out” messaging as it provides direct access to residents, vulnerable populations, partners and the media.   Although this is important, it is also crucial to respond to questions posed to your networks and pro-actively join-in on relevant topics of your expertise.
  • Be personable.  Believe it or not, social media messages can be dull.  If your message sounds like something Robocop would say, it might not be the best message to tweet (for the record I like that movie).  Create unique messaging that relates to everyday life and your return of investment should increase.
  • Check-in every now and then will ya?  You know what it’s like to not hear from an old friend.  Don’t let this happen online, so give out a retweet, “like” a post, send a #followfriday, or even a direct message! Be visible.
  • Be Timely. Respond to inquiries and jump into conversations at a good pace.  Social media is a fast-paced world and responding timely will boost your cred and will showcase your understanding of the importance of social networking.
  • Don’t be a negative Nancy.  Having positive messaging sends welcoming vibes.  People are more likely to converse with someone of positive nature.
  • Sharing is caring. Don’t be afraid to share content and collaborate with your partners to spread the word.  Create a common hashtag for World AIDS Day, or share photos from their community event on your Facebook page.
  • Listen well.  Listen to what is being said about your organization and its initiatives.  Use monitoring tools such as Google Reader, or a platforms search tool.  Provide clarity on topics when applicable.
  • Transfer your relationships. Online relationships can be transferred to the offline world as well.  This can help with connecting to cross-promote events and resources, hosting tweet-ups, etc.

What are the key elements of a relationship that you bring to your social media platforms?


One response to “Putting the Social in Social Media

  1. Pingback: Is Public Health Pinnable? | Public Health and Social Media·

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