How often do you hear the buzz words “social web”? On a daily basis, I bet. Depending on your interests and preferred online interactions it could be as much as hourly. In either case, social platforms whether online, offline, or both, have combined to become a great launching point for some highly effective social health campaigns. The refreshing thing is that when it comes to health campaigns, they aren’t based on selling merchandise for profit. At the core these campaigns are about bringing people together to create better health outcomes on a large scale. It gives many people a channel to speak their mind, seek support, offer help, and find resources.
There are some initial questions that come to mind related to these campaigns:
- Who is creating these campaigns?
- What do they look like?
- Can the effectiveness of a campaign to improve health be quantified to show effectiveness?
This post will answer those questions using examples that have been well received and highly effective. Some I’m sure you’ve seen, others are just gaining traction. The key takeaway is to see how they are being executed, and keep in mind they all have a laser focus on a single health topic. It keeps their message on track, and also helps those that take part understand the overarching goal. A focused campaign eliminates the possibility of an audience not understanding and promotes consistent, organic sharing of the message.
Principles of a Social Health Strategy
The foundation of all strategies are very similar:
- Planning period that incorporates things like goals, background information, and user demographics
- Executing the work
- Finally, after lots of hard work and probably some sleepless nights and weekends in the office, that strategy is delivered live to the end user, with a feedback and evaluation loop
All the health campaigns below have done a great job at understanding each of those principles. That is why they’ve changed people’s lives and raised health awareness around certain topics. With all that being said let’s go ahead and take a look at what some of these social marketing health campaigns look like.
This is a multi-channel campaign that is leading the fight against cancer. With the help of celebrities, a TV campaign, social channels, and a well-executed website, it’s truly bringing people together in this fight. The platform is very conversational in nature and welcomes people of all backgrounds to contribute however they are able. The resources that are available through this social health effort are unmatched, with many of those resources available directly on the website. There are some components that involve a financial commitment, but these all go directly to cancer research. The website alone reaches anywhere from 40k to 110k unique visitors per month.
The American Diabetes Association has an annual walk to support diabetes research. It has become widely popular and is executed regionally. They didn’t stop at the walk, however, as behind the walk is a digital engine that has a well-integrated social component. The Step Out community and blog has a phenomenally engaged member base. You can also build your team online for the walk, which is great in creating momentum leading up to the event. The offline event connects in a seamless effective way with the team-building feature to the website. The website also entertains as many as 45k unique visitors per month.
The Global Fund (an organization that fights HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria) have set up a campaign that focuses on stopping mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The program revolves around a heavy social component specifically on Facebook. There is plenty of information on The Global Fund’s website, but it’s clear they have put a huge focus into Facebook. They already have close to 200k likes, and the plan is to take this global by 2015. The Born HIV Free campaign is primarily based in Europe for the time being. Other elements of the campaign include a YouTube presence as well as Twitter. This allows them to keep all their followers up to date on the latest news and research.
In this example, a Pinterest page has been created by an individual. They have used the image tagging functionality of Pinterest to give people an array of resources to educate themselves. This particular page isn’t 100% health-focused, but there is a heavy tilt towards overall health education. Infographics and book covers are displayed that give information on things like heart disease and how to eat better. There are also some pharmaceutical companies exploring Pinterest, as well. It is a great way to appeal to the visual side of people to support a cause or educate on a array of health topics. The actual number of people that are followers of this page doesn’t have the scale of the other examples, but it does show the power of individuals to create meaningful social interactions.
Alternative Health is a social group created using the Meetup.com platform. Meetup allows people to start an organization on any topic and then obtain sign-up and registration online. The person who organizes the group gets a unique URL, and the Meetup website acts as a hub for all information related to a given group. It successfully uses an online platform to invoke live meeting events for organizations. In the case of Alternative Health Group, it has truly built a global movement. The group is diverse – from physicians to people interested in talking about alternative health. The quantitative success of this one is powerful. There are 460,966 members in 30 countries. The members are spread out through 1,266 cities in which group events are held. Using Meetup.com the social marketing and health touch points have gained phenomenal reach.
As you can see, the use of social marketing to improve health is alive and well. These examples are all driven by individuals and organizations to extend better health to the masses. These are all rooted in the greater good of successful health outcomes for individuals. Therefore these all could be considered marketing campaigns; however they are used in a way to start a social dialogue. The growth of this type of social marketing to improve health will only grow. It will be exciting and interesting to see what is next, and what is possible using all the tools at our fingertips.