The George Washington University’s School of Public Health and Health Services publishes peer-reviewed case studies from the fields of public health communication and social marketing at CasesJournal.org. One of the newest entries, “Using Social Media to Reach Women with The Heart Truth® – 2009 Update,” provides an overview of how social media has been employed for the last several years to raise women’s awareness about their risk for heart disease and advance the campaign’s brand (The Red Dress®). Below is an abstract.
“The power of social media to effect change is becoming recognized by social marketers and health educators as an important strategy, and campaigns are increasingly using social media strategies to expand the reach to their target audiences. In 2002, when the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute launched The Heart Truth® – the first federally-sponsored national campaign aimed at increasing awareness among women about their risk of heart disease – many of today’s social media hardly existed. At the outset, the campaign team developed and tested a women’s heart disease brand – The Red Dress® – and sought to promote it through a wide variety of means, including the internet marketing approaches that were current at that time. The online approaches supported the three main campaign implementation strategies: partnership development, media relations, and community action. As the campaign matured and new media approaches evolved, the campaign increasingly promoted its products, messages, and events through social media channels and Internet marketing techniques, including e-mail promotions, blogs targeted to women, Facebook, Twitter, public service banner advertisements, and outreach to online mainstream news sites. The social media effort began as a small pilot project in 2007, and was expanded in subsequent years based on lessons learned. This article describes the approaches used and the results achieved, and discusses the advantages and limitations of social media in the context of the larger campaign. With a combined impact of many millions of additional audience impressions through social media, the campaign team concluded that these channels provide an effective, low-cost means of further extending the reach of launched The Heart Truth® to its core audience and beyond.”
You can read the full case here.