Social media offers a wealth of opportunities for patient advocacy groups to engage with the people they serve – especially at conference time – but sometimes it’s hard to know where to start.
“Social media outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others provide advocates with an abundance of useful resources and networking opportunities,” says the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)’s patient information site, Cancer.Net, in its infographic Social Media 101 for Advocates.
For those just getting started, the infographic shares some simple tips for online communication and highlights the importance of setting goals and having a clear profile.
“Define your motivation for using social media as an advocate. Keep these goals top-of-mind and stay consistent with what you discuss socially,” it notes.
“Tell people about yourself by filling out a profile description and adding your photo. Let people know who you represent, yourself or an organization, and that a retweet/follow is not an endorsement.”
Find your crowd
Once profiles have been established, it’s time to “find your crowd” and make connections, the graphic explains. Top tips include following established not-for-profit organizations and people who share relevant trusted information.
Searching for relevant hashtags and terms can help advocates find like-minded individuals to follow.
When it comes to rules of engagement, Cancer.Net offers four pieces of advice: less is more, start conversations, give credit and love #hashtags – though never use more than two.
Use your own voice
“When you are ready to start posting, use your own voice and share information that you feel comfortable with,” it adds, pointing out it’s wise to avoid over-posting, which can come across as “spamming”.
If relevant, spark discussions with people who share common interests by tagging them in your post, and if re-sharing information from another account, always give credit and ensure sources are credible.
To download the printable infographic, click here.