How Federal Health Agencies Can Drive Engagement on Twitter

Nov 24

A study came out in PLOS ONE earlier this month that looked at the factors associated with Twitter engagement, as measured by retweets, of Federal health agencies. As someone who’s worked with numerous Federal health agencies on their Twitter content, I found the study findings particularly intriguing. Looking at 130 Twitter accounts from 25 agencies, the authors collected 164,104 tweets and examined them based on a number of factors including tweet count, number of followers, use of hashtags, user-mentions (a combination of @replies and @mentions), URLS, sentiment, and topic area, among others.

The authors found that hashtags, user-mentions, and URLs are positively associated with retweets, as is follower count. Based on my experiences at Ogilvy, I find these results unsurprisingly. With roughly half of people who use Twitter using it as a news source, users expect tweets to contain links. It is easy to see that a tweet without a link would be seen as less valuable in this context. For example, for one of my clients, we found that when the Twitter account posted open-ended questions, the tweets performed more poorly than when we posted similar open-ended questions with a link. People want to retweet tweets that they think their followers will find useful. A link is a sign of usefulness.

The author also found that a higher number of tweets is associated with fewer retweets. They note:

“This suggests that an agency might consider only tweeting posts that it regards as important so as to not ‘dilute’ the public’s attention. However, this observation must be balanced against the fact that information dissemination on a topic may be an organization’s main goal and not necessarily public response.”

They raise an important point: quite often an agency may find that one of its mission areas is not consistent with what is popular among its followers. In that case, the agency must determine how to make it more popular. Because ultimately, by driving a greater number of retweets, agencies are able to distribute their message to a greater number of people, and to those outside of their core audience base – both vital to improving reach. Experimenting with how you structure the tweet, when you send it, and how often you send the message becomes so much more important when you are dealing with an unpopular topic area.

We are seeing the co-dependent relationship between reach and engagement on many social channels now. Facebook’s algorithm is making it increasingly challenging to garner organic reach — no matter how great your content is — and encouraging fans to share your posts on their wall is pretty much the only way to spur organic reach. Plus, Facebook just announced last week that it is cutting organic reach even further for certain types of posts (although this is more likely to affect brands, not health agencies). On Pinterest, a channel growing in popularity for Federal health agencies, much like on Twitter, reach is dependent on getting people to re-pin content.

The PLOS ONE study points to the importance of 1) understanding that engagement and reach are critically intertwined on social media, and 2) optimizing your content ruthlessly for channel best practices and what is popular with followers. You have to know which of your content is popular, and which isn’t. For the content that isn’t popular, agencies have to think: how necessary is the content? If it is necessary, they need to determine strategies for making it more popular so that they can drive the engagement that leads to more reach.

What have you seen on Twitter? Do the authors’ findings mesh with what you’ve experienced?

Revisiting Point of Care Marketing for Today’s Connected Consumer

Nov 12

A good friend of mine recently found out through an annual physical exam that she weighed ten pounds more than she had expected – pushing her into the overweight category. She knew she had been gaining weight but didn’t realize how much. This news catapulted her into action. What’s the first thing she did? Go online, of course: she searched for information on how to adjust her calorie intake to effectively lose weight and she looked for apps to help her do it. While I recognize that she is just one person who happens to be pretty “plugged in”, her experience reflects growing trends in healthcare. Many of us regularly turn to the Internet and our constantly accessible mobile devices to get the information that informs our health decisions and to manage our health on a day-to-day basis.

I recently attended the 2nd annual Point of Care National Conference, co-hosted by DTC Perspectives and PoC3, which focused on how to leverage point of care communications to drive patient and healthcare provider engagement—and ultimately improve patient outcomes. The PoC3 defines “point of care” as the healthcare setting or channel (doctor’s offices, hospitals, and pharmacies) in which communications are delivered through various forms (digital, video, and print). Think of the TV screens in the clinic waiting room or coupons in the pharmacy aisle. Yet the question swirling around the conference was this: is point of care really limited to the traditional health care setting or does it happen any time a person is making decisions about their health? With today’s connected consumers and the increasingly advanced and accessible technology used by providers and patients, thinking about where and how people get “care” is critical.

There are several key ways that technology is having an impact. Thinking about point of care in the traditional way, more and more people are using their phones (and other devices) to have virtual office visits with their health care providers. And telemedicine is not just for rural communities anymore. For example, as this recent article in The Washington Post describes, the UCLA Health System is offering virtual access to doctors via cellphone, computer, or tablet, bringing point of care into patients’ living rooms. In addition, down the line with meaningful use, more patients should have easy access to their electronic records and relevant health education materials through patient portals, and presumably easier, more frequent electronic correspondence with their providers.

Outside of the traditional point of care setting, our DIY culture for health certainly leverages technology. We have technology at our fingertips (or in our pockets/pocketbooks, as the case may be) that allows us to search for health information at the moment we need it, or get tools and tips to keep us on track when we are in the moment of temptation. For example, an app called Fooducate provides on-the-spot nutritional information—and alternative recommendations—for restaurant/fast food meals (e.g., is the Wendy’s grilled chicken sandwich any better for you than the crispy chicken? The answer is no, actually…) as well as grocery store items (with a simple scan of the barcode). And people are turning to the hundreds of tracking tools related to what we eat, how much we sleep, how much we eA hand holding a mobile phone with a red cross symbolizing health on itxercise, etc.

Other technology includes wearables, which could bring health tracking and patient engagement to a whole new level. There is an interesting argument that wearables are currently being developed for the young and healthy to track fitness, rather than to people with chronic diseases who really need it to track health. Yet, from the Apple HealthKit to the new Stanford Center for Mobile Medical Technology, there seems to be a desire tap into wearables’ potential to provide real data down the line that can have a clinical impact. In addition, there are also really interesting case studies from companies like HealthPrize of use of gamification to help with medication adherence, where people get rewards (e.g., points, badges) for taking their medication as scheduled. The popularity and effectiveness of some of these tools—completely outside of the health care setting—is intriguing.

If these tracking and information seeking behaviors have an immediate and direct impact on our health behaviors, should we consider those interactions to be point of care?  And, if so, how does that impact marketing and communications efforts?  Has point a care become a “moment of need” rather than a moment in a health care setting?

It’s Personal

Nov 03

We are entering a new frontier in medicine. It’s a world shaped by personalized medicine or what we fondly describe as “precision health care”. Genetic profiling or unraveling our genetic code will lead to improved diagnoses and targeted therapies so that the beneficial effects of therapeutics outnumber the side effects. Pharmacogenomics, proteomics, epigenomics, metagenomics, metabolomics and even astro-omics have and will increasingly transform how we practice medicine on Earth and in space.

I recently participated in two conferences that focused on this revolutionary approach to our health. One conference was held at the University of Pittsburg Medical Center. Scientists and clinicians espoused the benefits of using new molecular markers to improve the accuracy of biopsy reports.Yet, what could have been a very impersonal and technical discussion quickly became a forum to discuss the important role that pathologists can play to enhance patient centric care-where the needs and concerns of the patient are met by an integrated medical team working at the patient’s bedside.

This past week, I also participated on a panel sponsored by Women in Bio, a professional society for female biotechnology entrepreneurs. The room was filled with scientists, clinicians, educators, businesswomen and a few good men. We began our session focusing on genomics — a cornerstone for personalized medicine — and ended with a presentation by a woman who founded an organization focused on survivors of metastatic breast cancer. I had the opportunity to sit between the two of them. In some ways, I felt like the Rosetta Stone. I could translate the complex lexicon of the scientist to the policy and advocacy concerns of a patient who very well knows the statistics but also the hope and desire for a longer quality of life.

While I do believe that the advancements in genomic medicine will be extraordinary, I am concerned that that we may lose the essential elements of what makes “great” health care providers. Sir William Osler, the father of modern medicine and famous sayings, declared that “the good physician heals the disease, while the great physician treats the patient who has the disease”. During this current Ebola crisis, we need to remember this. We are seeing the impact of personalized medicine in the treatment of a disease that has an average mortality rate of 70%. Patients are being given plasma transfusions from survivors who have the same blood types and exotic monoclonal antibody cocktails are being manufactured (despite no human clinical trials to prove their safety and efficacy). These are desperate measures to treat a horrific disease which generates fear and isolation. Perhaps, the ultimate example of personalized medicine was the compassionate and courageous act of a nurse who held the hand of a patient dying from Ebola in Dallas so he would not feel alone. This nurse provided exactly what this patient needed.

Practice informing research informing practice at ACR 2014

Oct 31

With over 1000 presentations, more than 300 posters, and 1200 attendees, it was impossible to capture everything at the 2014 Association for Consumer Research North American Conference. For every talk I attended (e.g.,Choice Architecture; Aging Consumers: Beyond Chronological Age;  Interplay Effect of Goals and Planning on Consumer Welfare), there were several concurrent ones that I sadly had to forego (e.g., Consumer Perceptions of Fairness and Greed; Community and Celebrity; Gamification of Digital Services). Overall, it was interesting to see how different researchers drew inspiration from existing campaigns:

  • Silvia Bellezza (Harvard Business School) cited Virgin Mobile’s “Happy Accidents” commercial — in which cell phone users desperate to upgrade to new devices destroy their current ones — in her talk, “‘Be Careless with That!’ Availability of Product Upgrades Increases Cavalier Behavior toward Possessions.”
  •  The Choose Health LA initiative of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health appeared in Yann Cornil and Pierre Chandon’s (INSEAD) presentation about how sensory imagery can increase the hedonic appeal of smaller versus larger food portions.

 
As we strive to incorporate relevant behavioral research in our work, it’s important to recognize instances of practice informing science informing practice and distinguish iterative design from circular reasoning.

In some cases, it’s obvious where research intends to inform an improvement (rather than simply dissect a phenomena): Eric Johnson (Columbia University) and his colleagues studying choice architecture were fond of an animated screen capture from the Massachusetts health insurance marketplace that illustrates its overwhelming and inefficient comparison tool. In a series of studies, they demonstrate that people — including MBA students — are bad at choosing optimal plans from the current marketplace structure, but can be steered in the right direction with calculation aids and “smarter” defaults. Their paper claims that “implementing these psychologically based principles could save purchasers of policies and taxpayers approximately 10 billion dollars every year.”

insurance.gif

Massachusetts Health Connector insurance plan comparison tool. Recreated on 10/31/2014 based on Johnson, E. (2014, October). Perspectives Session: Choice Architecture. Session presented at the Association for Consumer Research North American Conference, Baltimore, MD.

Thanks to the Association for Consumer Research organizers and presenters for a great conference! The full 2014 program is available here.

Springboard: A New Online Resource for Health Communication

Oct 03

Springboard for Health Communications LogoHave you ever had a client ask you to brainstorm an idea for a new project or campaign, but you weren’t really sure where to
find some initial inspiration? Springboard for Health Communications (Springboard) is a new online resource from Johns Hopkins University Health Communications Capacity Collaborative (JHU HC3) that aggregates resources related to health communication while also knocking down the silos between practitioners through a social environment. Despite the impactful work being completed around the world, until now there has never been one go-to place to share best practices and lessons learned.

We interviewed Soma Ghoshal, the Global Program Manager for Healthcare at NetHope, Inc. and Springboard Community Manager, about the platform and its capabilities.

How would you describe the Springboard and its purpose?

Springboard is an online resource for health communications practitioners to come together and learn about the newest trends in the space. Members are able to partake in conversations around best practices, research, events, and much more in addition to networking with one another and learning about new organizations and campaigns.

Who should join and how do you sign up?

Anyone who is interested in health communication can sign up! It doesn’t matter whether you are an expert, a student, or working in the field — Springboard is a space for everyone interested in health communication to come together and learn from each other. Simply go to www.healthcomspringboard.org to register (it takes less than 5 minutes), and then log in to start posting. We encourage new members to post an introduction about them after singing up to let all the members know what they are interested in.

What types of conversations will members be able to participate in?

All sorts of conversations are happening on Springboard. We’ve seen members share articles on education entertainment programming and sexual responsibility in young adults to campaigns like the ALS bucket challenge can be applied to global health causes. Of course, there has also been discussion on health communication and messaging for the Ebola outbreak. Members post health communication-focused events happening all over the world as well as videos and photos. In addition, some members post new job or grant opportunities.

How does the Springboard fill a gap for health communicators globally?

Springboard is unique because it focuses solely on fostering discussion around health communication and offering a forum for global health events. While there may be other sites that discuss global health, Springboard does a great job of bringing together health communication practitioners from academia, NGO, government, to private sector so that we may learn from each other and offer more effective health communication campaigns.

What have you found most enjoyable about being a member of the Springboard online community?

I love hearing the different perspectives that are brought onto Springboard. If one member posts a campaign and has an opinion on it, then it is almost guaranteed that two other members will have a completely different angle or approach. Those perspectives strengthen our understanding of what motivates behavior change to make us more impactful practitioners at the end of the day.

We encourage our colleagues and peers involved in the social marketing community, and beyond, to sign up for Springboard. When you do, comment below and share your experience with us!

Soma Ghoshal is the Global Program Manager for Healthcare at NetHope, Inc. She works on the HC3 Project on the ICT & Innovation team as a Community Manager on Springboard and leads various projects, including the Innovation Webinar series, NetHope Working Group, and research. Soma has her MPH in Design, Monitoring, and Evaluation from The George Washington University.

Introducing Social Squared: Ogilvy’s Framework for Applying Behavior Change Theory to Digital and Social Media

Aug 28

Behavior Change Theory should underlie all health communications campaign planning. However, often communication professionals decide on a Tumblr or Pinterest account because it’s the “latest thing,” instead of having solid theory-based reasoning for engaging on a particular social or digital platform.

To ensure Ogilvy’s approach to digital and social media was always strategic, Ogilvy designed the Social Squared Framework and business offering to bring together the three key aspects of an effective behavior change program in social media:

  • Strategy-Based Theory Constructs
  • Audience Insights
  • Digital Solutions


Levers for Behavior Change

We identified theoretical constructs that are most applicable to digital and social media. Many behavior change theories are used in designing behavior change programs. They work for individual, community change and system change. We use these theories to underlie our social marketing strategies. Each of these theories is made up of constructs that point to ways to intervene in behavior.  Ogilvy identified the constructs that are best supported by social and digital media.  They include but are not limited to:

  • Cues to Action
  • Intentions to Act
  • Normative Perceptions/Subjective Norms
  • Observational Learning
  • Outcome Expectations
  • Reinforcement
  • Perceived Behavior Control
  • Perceived Severity
  • Perceived Susceptibility
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Social Support
  • Spheres of Influence


Audience Insights

The Social Squared Framework puts a digital lens on audience insights. In additional to traditional research, we analyze the following questions using social media listening tools to answer them.

  • What digital platforms are our audiences using?
  • How often do they use them and for what purposes?
  • What is their behavior like on these platforms?
  • How can we capitalize on their current behaviors to achieve our goals?
  • How does our audience leverage search to find the information they need on our topic?
  • Is our audience discussing or searching for our issue, topic or client online?
  • What are they saying about it?
  • How can we fill a gap or need in the online landscape to further our behavior-change goals?


Digital Solutions

After bringing together our theory-based strategies and social insights, we then pick the most appropriate digital solutions or platforms to develop the communication program that helps move the behavior change needle. These solutions might include community creation and management on social sites, a mobile application, visual content creation, and more.

In additional, to this business offering and framework, Ogilvy has a Social Squared team, a group of digital specialists with a comprehensive offering of products and services that are at the forefront of digital trends.  We customize all our solutions to meet the unique needs of our clients and achieve their communications and behavior change goals.

How to Apply the Social Squared Framework

The Social Squared Framework is a great planning tool and here’s an example of how we used it for The Heart Truth® . (click to enlarge)


The Heart Truth® kicked off American Heart Month with the #MyHeart28 Challenge, an action-oriented program platform to continue to emphasize heart healthy behavior change in program messaging.  We used the Social Squared Framework to plan the campaign using our behavior change constructs and audience insights to come up with the most appropriate and strategic digital solutions (See graphic).  Facebook was used as the core platform for the challenge, as it is where our audience is most engaged around taking action. Throughout the month, fans accepted the daily challenges and shared how they were making changes for a healthy heart and reducing heart disease risk in 2014. This small-step approach included actions for making heart healthy lifestyle changes including increasing physical activity, and stress management, smoking cessation, blood pressure and cholesterol control, and healthy eating.

The Results

  • #MyHeart28 Challenge created more than 7,550 Facebook actions (e.g., likes, shares) and engaged more than 750 unique Twitter followers,which generated 9.5 million impressions.
  • Throughout the #MyHeart28 Challenge, the daily posts received a cumulative 447 comments, 5,404 likes, and 1,703 shares.
  • The Heart Truth’s® Pinterest board received 1,527 new followers,567 repins, 32 likes, and 6 comments during the month of February.
  • Facebook fans expressed enthusiasm, posed and answered questions, offered tips, and shared the actions they took to lower their risk for heart disease during the #MyHeart28 Challenge.
  • The Heart Truth® engaged bloggers to be Ambassadors for the challenge further solidifying social norming. As an Ambassador, the blogger added to that day’s social content, posted quotes and advice on Twitter, and shared photos/posts on Facebook. Combined, the Challenge Day Ambassadors had over 5,000 unique monthly visitors, 6,000 Twitter followers, 2,000 Facebook fans, and 1,500 Pinterest followers.
  • We also had qualitative data in the comments showing that people were following along and taking the action recommended in our challenge.

Back from NCHCMM – Feeling Inspired and Connected

Aug 22

This was my first NCHCMM.  Wasn’t sure what to expect but was very excited for my colleagues who were presenting on outstanding projects – see Emily Zeigenfuse’s earlier post on the Ogilvy sessions at the conference.  I was also looking forward to seeing old friends and colleagues–and meeting new ones.

What I didn’t expect is to come back refreshed and inspired by all the innovative projects happening around the country and by the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity of my fellow public health communicators.  As someone who works at the national level, I especially appreciated meeting and talking with folks who work at the state and local levels.  So many great stories about their experiences and challenges with creating healthier communities.  And I truly enjoyed the sessions that brought it back to the basics – why we love this work, why it matters, and how can we can do it better.  They helped me to see the forest again.

Some of my personal highlights:

  • Watching Jennifer Pahlka’s TED Talk on making government run better – permission-less and open like the Internet – and brainstorming ways to encourage citizens to get involved in solving public health issues.  Many of our ideas got posted on TalkBacktoTED.
  • Learning how a small budget smoking cessation campaign in Vermont underwent a research-based rebranding effort, which resulted in the 802Quits campaign.  (For non-Vermonters, 802 is the Vermont area code. The state is so small, they have one area code.)  The work is beautiful, powerful, and spot on in every way.  But, what’s more important is the outcome: large increases in visits to the website, orders of nicotine-replacement therapy products, and calls to the helpline.
  • Exploring the importance of storytelling.  With the theme of the conference being “What’s Your Story?,” many sessions focused on the importance of telling good stories about our work and about the impact of our efforts.  Opening keynote presenter and author, Paul Smith, defined story very simply: Fact + Emotion = Story.  And he emphasized that we tend to not remember facts, but we can’t forget a good story.  How true!  Throughout the conference, we heard/watched many compelling stories — and one session focused on how to tell stories.    This is near and dear to my Ogilvy heart, where we have focused on the importance of story telling for many years (long before it was ‘en mode’) and our new-ish CEO, Chris Graves, is an international storytelling evangelist and trainer.

For next year, I hope to see the focus shift on how to find personal stories and make them into compelling testimonials.  I can say from experience that getting real people stories is not easy, especially for professionals who impact public health at the population level.  802Quits works at the individual level through its quit-line counselors and even their team had a difficult time finding stories and getting folks to agree to be video taped.  Case in point: it took them 18 months to find a story about a pregnant woman who quit smoking using the quit line.

A big Ogilvy thanks to the CDC and NPHIC organizers for a great conference and to all the presenters who put lots of thought and preparation into their sessions.  It was a great experience and I’m already thinking about 2015.

Making Sense of the Data: Using Analysis for Digital Planning

Aug 20

Yesterday I spoke as part of a panel discussing social media measurement and analysis. I was joined by Scott Jones of IQ Solutions, Laura Zauderer-Baldwin, of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), and moderated by Jana Thomas of Porter Novelli. Each discussed different aspects of social media measurement and analysis.

Scott spoke about how media events can be monitored to provide critical data to health professionals. These announcements, such as Selena Gomez having lupus, often drive major interest in these topic areas, as well as visits to government websites that address these topics. Agencies need to be prepared in advance for the surge in interest by implementing good web practices, such as search engine optimization. I found his example about how the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) used data to connect suicide to bullying particularly interesting. As a result of the data, the Agency put greater resources into an anti-bullying app for teens.

Laura spoke about her work with the NCBDDD to evaluate its social media architecture, and make changes based on the results. Laura discussed the Center’s efforts to create comprehensive dashboards that measure its reach, exposure, and engagement, which staff use to plan for future campaigns. She also spoke to the Center’s decision to transition from five Twitter accounts to one account that represents the entire Center. This decision—as you might expect—was challenging because the Center provides information on many different topics, and all will need to be represented in the one account. Unless you work on a public health topic that is narrow in focus (and lucky you!), this is something we all struggle with: trying to balance getting out all the messages that are important to our mission, while also taking into account what is interesting to our audiences.

This balancing act was discussed as part of my presentation, which focused on tactics for overcoming the decline in Facebook organic reach. Measurement is a critical part of this. You can use measurement to figure out what topic areas your audience finds most engaging, as well as which content types (e.g., fill in blanks). You can then use these as levers to increase your engagement on Facebook, which will in turn increase your reach. In addition to increasing engagement, I discussed three other tactics:

  • Use paid media to promote or boost your posts to fans and other audiences;
  • Diversify your social platforms, so you have other outlets to get out your message more directly to your fans; and
  • Weigh the costs and benefits to Facebook participation. Evaluate whether you have the resources (both in staff time and a paid media budget) to effectively run a Facebook page.

There are several panels during NCHCMM focused on social media measurement or data, which speaks to the importance of this topic in health communications. It seems like we’re all looking for guidance on how to most effectively use the mountains of data available to measure our effectiveness; in particular, how social/digital strategies can affect behavior change (which was the topic of a feisty Q&A at the end of our session yesterday).

What do you find to be the most challenging part of measuring social media effectiveness?

Making Sense of the Data: Using Analysis to Inform Digital Planning

Yesterday I spoke as part of a panel discussing social media measurement and analysis. I was joined by Scott Jones of IQ Solutions, Laura Zauderer-Baldwin, of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), and moderated by Jana Thomas of Porter Novelli. Each discussed different aspects of social media measurement and analysis.

Scott spoke about how media events can be monitored to provide critical data to health professionals. These announcements, such as Selena Gomez having lupus, often drive major interest in these topic areas, as well as visits to government websites that address these topics. Agencies need to be prepared in advance for the surge in interest by implementing good web practices, such as search engine optimization. I found his example about how the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) used data to connect suicide to bullying particularly interesting. As a result of the data, the Agency put greater resources into an anti-bullying app for teens.

Laura spoke about her work with the NCBDDD to evaluate its social media architecture, and make changes based on the results. Laura discussed the Center’s efforts to create comprehensive dashboards that measure its reach, exposure, and engagement, which staff use to plan for future campaigns. She also spoke to the Center’s decision to transition from five Twitter accounts to one account that represents the entire Center. This decision—as you might expect—was challenging because the Center provides information on many different topics, and all will need to be represented in the one account. Unless you work on a public health topic that is narrow in focus (and lucky you!), this is something we all struggle with: trying to balance getting out all the messages that are important to our mission, while also taking into account what is interesting to our audiences.

This balancing act was discussed as part of my presentation, which focused on tactics for overcoming the decline in Facebook organic reach. Measurement is a critical part of this. You can use measurement to figure out what topic areas your audience finds most engaging, as well as which content types (e.g., fill in blanks). You can then use these as levers to increase your engagement on Facebook, which will in turn increase your reach. In addition to increasing engagement, I discussed three other tactics:

· Use paid media to promote or boost your posts to fans and other audiences;

· Diversify your social platforms, so you have other outlets to get out your message more directly to your fans; and

· Weigh the costs and benefits to Facebook participation. Evaluate whether you have the resources (both in staff time and a paid media budget) to effectively run a Facebook page.

There are several panels during NCHCMM focused on social media measurement or data, which speaks to the importance of this topic in health communications. It seems like we’re all looking for guidance on how to most effectively use the mountains of data available to measure our effectiveness, in particular, how social can affect behavior change (which was the topic of a feisty Q&A at the end of our session yesterday).

What do you find to be the most challenging part of measuring social media effectiveness?

Making Sense of the Data: Using Analysis to Inform Digital Planning

Yesterday I spoke as part of a panel discussing social media measurement and analysis. I was joined by Scott Jones of IQ Solutions, Laura Zauderer-Baldwin, of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), and moderated by Jana Thomas of Porter Novelli. Each discussed different aspects of social media measurement and analysis.

Scott spoke about how media events can be monitored to provide critical data to health professionals. These announcements, such as Selena Gomez having lupus, often drive major interest in these topic areas, as well as visits to government websites that address these topics. Agencies need to be prepared in advance for the surge in interest by implementing good web practices, such as search engine optimization. I found his example about how the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) used data to connect suicide to bullying particularly interesting. As a result of the data, the Agency put greater resources into an anti-bullying app for teens.

Laura spoke about her work with the NCBDDD to evaluate its social media architecture, and make changes based on the results. Laura discussed the Center’s efforts to create comprehensive dashboards that measure its reach, exposure, and engagement, which staff use to plan for future campaigns. She also spoke to the Center’s decision to transition from five Twitter accounts to one account that represents the entire Center. This decision—as you might expect—was challenging because the Center provides information on many different topics, and all will need to be represented in the one account. Unless you work on a public health topic that is narrow in focus (and lucky you!), this is something we all struggle with: trying to balance getting out all the messages that are important to our mission, while also taking into account what is interesting to our audiences.

This balancing act was discussed as part of my presentation, which focused on tactics for overcoming the decline in Facebook organic reach. Measurement is a critical part of this. You can use measurement to figure out what topic areas your audience finds most engaging, as well as which content types (e.g., fill in blanks). You can then use these as levers to increase your engagement on Facebook, which will in turn increase your reach. In addition to increasing engagement, I discussed three other tactics:

  • Use paid media to promote or boost your posts to fans and other audiences;
  • Diversify your social platforms, so you have other outlets to get out your message more directly to your fans; and
  • Weigh the costs and benefits to Facebook participation. Evaluate whether you have the resources (both in staff time and a paid media budget) to effectively run a Facebook page.

There are several panels during NCHCMM focused on social media measurement or data, which speaks to the importance of this topic in health communications. It seems like we’re all looking for guidance on how to most effectively use the mountains of data available to measure our effectiveness, in particular, how social can affect behavior change (which was the topic of a feisty Q&A at the end of our session yesterday).

What do you find to be the most challenging part of measuring social media effectiveness?

Ogilvy Takes on the 2014 National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media

Aug 18

Ogilvy’s Social Marketing Group is headed to Atlanta this week for the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media. This is one of the Social Marketing Group’s favorite conferences, as many of us work in the health communications space, and it’s always inspiring and motivating to learn from the work of others.

Ogilvy will present at several sessions on our work, including:

Overcoming Facebook Zero for Health: Strategies for Managing the Decline in Organic Facebook Reach I’ll kick off the first breakout group of the conference with a presentation that offers four strategies for organizations to manage declining organic Facebook reach. The session will feature several government agencies that have successfully used these tactics to increase reach. Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the session “Social Media Measurement and Analysis”

Social Squared: Applying Behavior Change Theory in Social Media Campaign Planning Sarah Van Velsor will introduce the Social Marketing Group’s business offering, SocialSquared, which combines our expertise in both social media and social marketing to achieve the most effective behavior change results for our clients, during the poster sessions. Wednesday from 9:30-10:30 a.m., 2:45-3:45 p.m.

R U Using SMS to Communicate with Youth in Urban Communities? Meghan McMahon from our Social@Ogilvy team will explore lessons learned from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s i2i: What R U Looking 4, which promotes respectful, nonviolent dating relationships among 11- to 14-year-old youth in urban communities. Thursday at 8 a.m. in the session “Using Digital Media to Reach Teens”

OK2TALK: Using Tumblr to Give Youth a Voice to Discuss Mental Illness Sarah will present on OK2TALK, a campaign by the National Association of Broadcasters to reduce stigma around mental illness. The campaign drove teens and young adults to a Tumblr-based online community where they could open up and share their personal stories. Thursday at 8 a.m. in the session “Innovative Digital Platforms and Strategies”

Follow all the Ogilvy Washington attendees on Twitter, along with the conference hash tag (#HCMMconf):

For any attendees reading this, what sessions are you most looking forward to? I’m excited about the opening plenary with Paul Smith on “Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire.” Ogilvy frequently incorporates storytelling into our communications work, and I look forward to hearing his take on it.

Hope to see you in Atlanta!

Taking Cover

Aug 12

Growing up in Colorado, I spent most of my free time outside. Even when we had a morning blizzard, I could sunbathe in the afternoon-surrounded by beautiful snowdrifts to catch the rays. Baby oil was the suntan lotion of choice. The badge of honor on Monday mornings was to show off our raccoon eyes from wearing goggles while skiing on a sunny spring day. Living a “mile high” (and that is before the new marijuana law) meant we were closer to the sun. I could cringe now thinking about how we damaged our skin, but that would just cause more wrinkles. I never thought about skin cancer-only how to have that ‘healthy’ glow and I was not alone.

Unfortunately, our actions as children can catch up to us. On July 29, 2014, the Surgeon General released a new report — a Call to Action to raise awareness about skin cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States. Nearly 5 million Americans are treated for skin cancer every year and the medical costs are soaring to over $8.1 billion. The report states that over the past 30 years, the number of Americans who had skin cancer are higher than the number for all cancers combined. Rates of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, increased more than 200%. There are more than 63,000 new cases and 9,000 deaths from melanoma each year.

What is the cause for these alarming statistics? Almost all of these cancers are caused by UV exposure from the sun or indoor tanning devices. I remember television commercials which showed a beautiful women with a dark ‘San Tropez” tan enjoying the good life in her splendid pool with an azure sea behind her. We all wanted to be that woman. Having a tan meant health and wellness. We were so wrong! Tanning is the skin’s response to sun damage.

While it is important to have an active life, we need do it safely outdoors. We just need to cover up. The Surgeon General recommends the following steps: 1) protective gear such as a hat, sunglasses, clothing; 2) seeking shade; and 3) using sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher especially during midday. The reports urges all communities to come together to raise awareness on the need to take cover.