Best Practice #5 for Health Departments' Social Media Strategy: Be Authentic

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Best Practice #5 for Health Departments' Social Media Strategy: Be Authentic

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Be Authentic! Best practice #5 in @inciteaction's latest white paper. Download for free here:

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Best Practice #5


Overview: Social media accounts are now what email accounts were in 1997: simultaneously ubiquitous and cool, providing free channels of communication to virtually everyone with access to the internet. With budgets shrinking, the public sector has turned to social media in the hopes of achieving important communication goals with less money. Incite studied public health departments (PHDs) across the nation to understand the time and resources they invest in social media platforms and compiled five social media strategy best practices for public health departments to consider and adopt.

Friday, October 26, 2012 - 11:00am

In order to drive engagement and promote behavior change, PHDs need to adopt authentic marketing practices. Audiences will not engage with a department if it appears the department is not interested in them or is uncommitted to the cause of promoting healthy behaviors.

The easiest way to appear authentic is to regularly update your social media sites. A site that is not regularly maintained suggests the department is not invested in the site or the message it is promoting. If this is the case, why should the audience be invested?

“If you never return to your profiles, you... will be forgotten (best case) or seen as unconnected, clueless or lazy (worst case).”

It should be noted that there is danger in posting too regularly just for the sake of posting. A site that posts one perfunctory post per day can be seen as being just as inauthentic as an abandoned site. Social media should be a tool used to drive engagement; it should not be another meaningless task that is performed once a day and then ignored.

Social media expert Josh Ochs continues, “great messaging can be the key to a successful social media campaign. The key is to set up the right process and be consistent in striving for quality. The best way to get a response from your customer is with engaging and well thought-through copy. You actually have MORE to lose by flying by the seat of your pants than you do by not being ‘here and now.’”  

We encourage PHDs to recognize that consistent use does not mean following a defined posting schedule. Rather, it means that social media  should be used to consistently generate ideas for discussion and share relevant information while also reacting to evolving audience discussions.

To read the rest of this white paper and learn about the other best practices, download your free copy here.


Matthew Scelza
+1 (818) 238-6646
Incite LA