Health Organizations Go Social

A recent article in PRWeek highlights the use of social media by nonprofit and governmental organizations, particularly those with a health focus. It cited an experimental campaign conducted by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation to educate consumers and raise money for HIV/AIDS awareness. As part of their effort, the organization leveraged text messaging and Twitter against minimal spend; just $500.

According to Lori Yeghiayan, associate director of communications at the Foundation, “the number of online impressions to its Twitter account doubled in the first four days of the campaign. Online mentions of the brand increased four times and the retweet rate jumped 10-fold.” Impressive – no doubt.

The article goes on to highlight another HIV/AIDS social campaign – “Testing Makes Us Stronger,” – this from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The effort includes national print and online advertising, as well as a dedicated website and Facebook page. Though spend is higher, the focus on social media is encouraging.

Clearly, we’re seeing organizations shift their public relations strategies. And what’s more apparent is that we’re seeing rapid change in the healthcare public relations space – a sector that’s been traditionally slow to evolve. Organizations are listening to their audiences, targeting them where it matters most and spurring ongoing engagement through quick and efficient action. Perhaps the days of the multi-million dollar celebrity campaign are gone (see The Influence of Celebrity in the Healthcare Space). Or, perhaps they’re not. But, either way, as a healthcare marketing and public relations professional, I’m excited to see what comes and to integrate more social ideas into our client programming.

What do you think?


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