Hospitals

How The American Diabetes Association Is Using Social Media

The healthcare industry has been lagging compared to other industries in the use of social marketing but there are still some great organizations that are using it to raise awareness. Wound Care Advantage (WCA), my employer, is a company that helps hospitals build and run wound centers for their patient populations. Many of the wound […]

The healthcare industry has been lagging compared to other industries in the use of social marketing but there are still some great organizations that are using it to raise awareness.

Wound Care Advantage (WCA), my employer, is a company that helps hospitals build and run wound centers for their patient populations. Many of the wound care patients that we treat for hospitals across the country are also battling diabetes. Last month was national diabetes awareness month and a great time to create awareness about this disease. WCA recently spoke with representatives from the American Diabetes Association to help spread awareness and learn how they are using social media to reach their community..

Hutson Morris-Irvin, is Director of Marketing & Communications of the American Diabetes Association in the Los Angeles area. She has transformed the way their office engages the community through social media.

Creating A Strong Home Base For Content

Their social media plan starts with the home base of their national website Diabetes.org.

“Diabetes.org is the one-stop-shop for the latest information on diabetes, services, research, and education,” Morris-Irvin said. “Each city’s ADA office has a local page that highlights activities, support groups and programs people can get involved with locally.”

The site also features lifestyle, fitness and nutritional tips. It has recipes, do-it-at-home fitness routines, inspirational stories, information on research studies, etc. “The more we are able to connect people with these resources in practical and engaging ways at no cost to them, the better chance we have at making an positive impact,” she said.

Having The Right Community

“Social media is a critical tool for the Stop Diabetes Movement,” Morris-Irvin said. “We are a grassroots organization who exists based on the efforts and commitment of our volunteers and the willingness of people to help us get critical information to those who need it the most.”

Organizations with dedicated communities like the American Diabetes Association can really thrive at social.

“Having people affected by diabetes share helpful, and even critical, information with their own personal community can be extremely important to their own health,” she said. “We seek to be that reliable source of accurate information that people can count own.”

Using Facebook To Reach Diabetics

“Engaging on social media in general has been a very enlightening experience for nonprofits such as ours,” Morris-Irvin.

Facebook has enabled her team to engage with people affected by diabetes in a number of profound ways.

“We share information via posted articles from diverse reliable sources, provide a forum people can ask questions and share their own experiences with each other, and provide opportunities for humor with witty and poignant memes,” she said. “We also share logistical information to encourage participation in local events, post illustrations of fitness techniques for any body type and healthy easy to follow recipes, and use the sites as tools to organize the local Stop Diabetes Movement with calls-to-action and advocacy work.”

Tapping Into Celebrity Ambassadors

Their team tweets often as well as uses other platforms to reach their audience.

“Instagram has been the most fun for us,” Morris-Irvin said. “Through the use of hashtags, we are able to repost the captured moments of the diabetes community in terrific ways. The photos help tell stories of shared experiences of hope, happiness, struggle and almost every emotion members of the diabetic community face.”

The American Diabetes Association also taps into their network of celebrity ambassadors who are already using social media.

“We’ve also been able to use it as a platform for celebrity ambassadors to use to inspire fans and supporters through everyday tasks – photos of themselves staying hydrated, stretching, taking evening walks, cooking meals, etc. accompanied by motivational messages,” she said.

The Challenge of Creating Awareness In Healthcare

Morris-Irvin kept a close eye on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge phenomenon this past summer.

“We are very happy it was so successful for them,” she said. “They garnered a huge amount of support financially and brought attention to their cause. We wish them well in their continued efforts to find a cure for that disease.”

She explains that creating something that people really connect with is a constant challenge for all in health awareness.

“Organizations like ours are constantly seeking that element that excites and entices public engagement in our calls-to-action,” she said. “Each campaign and/or activity’s design and concept has a delicate balance that must be achieved so that it effectively engages in provocative ways but not end up distasteful or somewhat undermining of the actual organizational goals.”