Once your organization has decided to venture into social media, a common misstep in the early stages is dissecting fact sheets into smaller bits of info to be posted on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. While the content accuracy may be transferable, the platform is different and requires you to re-package the content.
New media = new way of communicating (not just new tools).
Engagement is a communication style. It requires more than uploading a link to your existing PDFs with ‘Check this out’ text as a preface.
Because social media is a two-way communication tool, it creates an opportunity for people to interact with, create and yes, criticize content. Social media is an opportunity for public health to gauge people’s reactions, thoughts, questions and criticisms of the information and the way it’s presented.
These 5 tips can help you write ‘social health content’.
1. Be personable.
Write conversationally. Be conversational.
Are you worried about injury prevention for your family? Find out about prevention.
Worried that your kids will hurt themselves? Learn how to prevent injuries.
2. Ask questions.
Engage your audience by asking them what they think. What they really think.
e.g. We know safer sex is healthier sex. Why do you think some people don’t use condoms?
3. Don’t use text-speak.
Know abt what vax ur kidz need 2 get 2 go 2 skool.
Not only can it be confusing and difficult to understand, users don’t want to spend time dissecting your message. Social media is about standing out in a fast environment. Make your message as legible as possible.
4. Be alluring.
Think, why would I want to click on this information? Why would I want to share it with my friends/family?
e.g. Thinking about what to make for dinner tonight? We’ve got a simple, nutritious and delicious dinner recipe for you. It has only 3 ingredients and takes 15 mins to prepare: [link]
5. Keep it dynamic.
Use a mix of links, fun facts, questions, news.
For example, take a nutrition fact sheet about grain products and turn it into a series of tweets:
- Try these 6 tips on getting more grains into your diet: [link]
- Did you know grains are part of a healthy diet? Get your grains on with this easy recipe: [link]
- XY% of people don’t get enough grains in their diet. How are you getting daily grains?
- Grains gone wild – have you tried these new wild grains that Dr. Oz is talking about?
- Good morning! What’s your favourite way to have grains for breakfast? We’ve got a yummy oatmeal recipe: [link]
The CDC’s guide on Writing For Social Media is an excellent resource.
What are your best tips for turning health content into health conversation?