Social media (e.g., blogs, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linked In, Pinterest, Instagram, etc) provides immunization program staff and coalitions the opportunity to share messages and scientifically-accurate information on vaccines and diseases to many people at once, even with a limited budget. Social media is key to providing timely messaging in crisis situations, as well as spreading news about outbreaks and legislation. Social media also allows people to connect with others and express themselves in ways that are immediate, interactive and conversational. Unlike websites which are static, social media encourages participation and allows for real conversations about vaccines.
For those vaccine advocates who are considering starting their own blog, Facebook page or Twitter account, it is important to realize that these will likely be time consuming activities. You must consistently add new content in order to remain relevant and draw people to your social media site(s). It is also important to frequently monitor your social media sites for comments.
Some important statistics to consider when thinking about investing your time in social media.
- 80% of US internet users look for health information online
- 79% of moms with kids under 18 yrs old use social networking sites
- More than 50% of teens use social networks daily (mind you, these are the parents of the future)
- 22% of people log in more than 10 times daily
When launching its Vaccinate Your Baby campaign in 2008, ECBT created a new website, Facebook page, Twitter account and the Shot of Prevention blog. Messages are often cross-posted between all platforms. If you are interested in writing a guest post on the Shot of Prevention blog, please contact ECBT at firstname.lastname@example.org.