Honors Writing about Health and Medicine

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Using Social Media in a Health Campaign



Read through the CDC’s Guidelines and Best Practices for using social media tools in a health campaign, paying particular attention to the Social Media Toolkit and Guide to Writing for Social Media. Then post a reply exploring how and why some of these tools and strategies might be applied persuasively in a Choosing Wisely campaign aimed at 40-50-year-olds in the area.



  1. tamarabwi32 says:

    40 and 50 year olds in the area are not going to be as technologically savvy or engaged as a younger target audience, so the importance of developing social media for this group is utilizing plain language (as detailed in the CDC guide). I already know of several phone apps that promote nutritional health through simple tip prompts everyday that would work perfectly for an audience of adults who are likely to be busy with work and families and can only spare a few minutes in their day. This idea can also be applied to daily emails, tweets, and facebook messages depending on what mediums this group is most comfortable and reliable with. Because this group is comprised of people that are likely to have jobs and/or families to juggle social media that alerts them to important landmarks in their health or healthcare status (in other words, convenience social media, super sweet and to the point KISS style) will be the kind they are most attracted to and the most receptive to. This also allows Choosing Wisely to distribute a lot of information over time in small pieces, making its practices habitual rather than sporadic.

  2. kprashad says:

    Using social media to reach people between the ages of 40 and 50 would be difficult, as they are not as tech savvy as younger people. However, when attempting to reach that specific audience, it should be understood that they are busy almost every day so they do not have as much time to spend just browsing social media sites. But as the CDC social media toolkit explains, ways to communicate with them would be to go where the people, create portable content, such as mobile apps, encourage participation, and provide multiple formats. Different sites include the popular Facebook and Twitter, but can also include Tumblr and Reddit. Youtube is also a useful site to use to find videos. Since they will most likely have families, the messages should be science-related since that is mainly what 40 to 50 year olds focus on; messages such as healthcare are what they will consider important. This will allow the Choosing Wisely Campaign’s goal to be accomplished even quicker.

  3. sarahmhudak says:

    I think that social media is a powerful tool for engaging younger audiences, especially teenagers and emerging adults. However, some of the practices that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention address could be used to target an older audience. They recommend writing any text in plain language, so that any reader (at any age and education level) can understand the information. It’s also important to make the words engaging to keep the reader interested. To make a specific area more targeted for 40-50 year olds, its necessary to center social media around the the audience. Focusing on that age group’s healthcare concerns, and directly relating it back to their local community in the present time makes them more likely to read the piece, engage, and act! Adults love social media’s ability to share information with their networks, so making it the work interactive by making it “shareable” is a good way to spread information quickly and more cost effectively. Since this generation is not completely on-board with social media, making sure to test the waters with low risk social media sources is important. But, if you look at my mother’s Facebook, she is definitely a user of social media and these types of techniques have made her learn more and share more.

  4. apectol91 says:

    I agree that social media probably isn’t the best way to reach out to 40-50 year olds. Recently there has been a rise in an older population using facebook so these strategies may still be effective. Rather than embedding banner ads at the side panel of the facebook page, I think it might be more effective to create some type of account that sends friend requests to people, or create a page people can like so news and updates show up in their news feed. Users are more likely to pay attention to these rather than side panel advertisements. I think that there are other methods which would be more effective and reach more of the target audience than social media websites. In particular, text messaging and e cards seem to me to be the best options for effectively reaching their audience. Pretty much everyone in today’s society has a cell phone in their hand 90% of the time, and if not they are in a frazzle figuring out where it is. Sending mass texts to people guarantees they see it and at least take a couple seconds to read the message. The main down side to this that I see is people considering this spamming, which might piss them off and think negatively of the campaign. E-cards as well would be effective by reaching people through virtual communication. Although again the issue of spam comes up, and these types of e-cards may even be sent straight to some peoples spam folders, making them useless.

  5. hgmohan says:

    Social media may not be completely effective, but it would still reach out to a lot of people in the 40-50 range. In the past few years, more and more older citizens have been using Facebook and social media. If you try to make the information accessible, it can work. If you tell your audience to “click here and share with your friends, but make sure to like the status and retweet” then it gets too muddy for older people. Make it simple: a group that they can like and receive status updates from. Using Twitter or Reddit is a bit harder, because you have to deal with the hashtags, upvotes, and downvotes, and I don’t think a lot of people will understand it. Facebook would be a good way to go about things. A lot of older people are getting into texting too, so perhaps sending out monthly text messages for those who subscribe to them would work too.

  6. ryanmarracino says:

    I think it would be more difficult to reach an audience in the 40-50 year old range through social media simply because this age group doesn’t use social media as much as younger people do. However this age group definitely does use the internet to find articles and learn about health issues. I think this is “where the people are,” and I would use these articles to advertise the choosing wisely campaign and also provide a way to share the campaign through facebook and other social sites. Also at the end of many health articles you could have a link to an app that could provide health tips, maybe once per week, through a social media site or email. It would be ideal if these tips could be shared through social media to cost effectively spread the message.

  7. kgardner1130 says:

    While 40-50 year olds aren’t the first population that comes to mind when I think of social media, I do agree that more and more older adults have taken to the facebook world. As in example, my mom has 111 friends on facebook. With this in mind, social media could be best used to complement a campaign that utilizes additonal resources as well. I think the easiest way to go about using social media for this population is via facebook. I am not up on the twitter trend but I have a hard time believing this age group is either. When using facebook, I think the most effective thing would be to create a page that users can “like” and use the new promote tool to make sure that statuses come up on their newsfeed. The facebook page could also open the door to sharing more social media avenues, particulary informative youtube videos which are easily embedded into a status.

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