The acute myeloid leukemia (AML) community came together in a flurry of social media activity to raise awareness of a condition that will kill more than 10,000 people in the U.S. alone this year.1
AML World Awareness Day, on April 21, saw patient advocacy groups from around the globe band together to spread the word.
Here, we look at the key topics of discussion, the most influential users and commonly used hashtags throughout April.
In total, there were 257 posts about AML World Awareness Day, most of which were on April 21. They attracted 1,222 engagements and 432,000 views.
Activity really kicked off around a week before the day, as the buildup started. This grew steadily until the day itself, which saw the majority of posts, and 754 engagements. Retweets and follow-up resulted in another 150 posts in the days immediately after April 21.
In all, #KnowAML was used 830 times across the month, making it both the most popular keyword and hashtag by some margin. That #KnowAML proved to be such a popular hashtag shows the strength and appeal of the global AML community alliance.
“Awareness,” with 634 mentions, and “AML,” with 439, were the next most common keywords. In terms of hashtags, #aml was second, with 363 mentions, and #awareness was third, with 103 mentions.
Popular keywords that demonstrated the public’s appetite to learn about the condition included “diagnosis,” “symptoms,” “treatments” and “acute.” The reach of human stories was demonstrated by the popularity of keywords such as “proud,” “tragically” and “wife.”
The key influencer by some margin was Know AML, which has 1,052 followers. Its 116 posts were viewed 1,282 times. All its top performing tweets included the #KnowAML hashtag and an image. Second in the list was Zach Pemberton-Whitely, campaigns and advocacy director at Leukaemia Care UK with 34 posts, then Leukaemia&Katherine, a leukemia survivor, with 25 posts. Acute Leukemia Advocates Network posted 22 times, and the MDS Foundation, 20.
Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a kind of cancer that affects the blood & bone marrow. #AML is characterized by the rapid production & growth of abnormal blood cells, which can build up in the bone marrow & prevent the production of normal blood cells #KnowAML #Awareness pic.twitter.com/aDcfA9pO1b
— KNOW AML (@KNOW_AML) April 20, 2018
The posts using the #KnowAML hashtag had the most engagement. Two of the most popular posts referred to the same case study – @SimonThomasSky spoke about losing his wife, Gemma, to AML. @Bloodwise sent two posts referencing to Simon’s story, one with a photo of the couple, which gained 63 retweets and 351 likes, and one without, which attracted 34 retweets and 76 likes. Another one of the top six posts was from @GabhanMcFaolne and referred to his own AML journey. It garnered 22 retweets and 108 likes.
After tragically losing his wife Gemma to #AML just three days after diagnosis, @SimonThomasSky told us: “Until last November I hadn’t even heard of AML, and then I did in the most dramatic way possible.” #KnowAML #AMLWorldAwarenessDay pic.twitter.com/zEezK8vLYN
— Bloodwise (@bloodwise_uk) April 21, 2018
What can we learn from World AML Awareness day 2018?
The most commonly used hashtag, #KnowAML, was representative of the whole AML community coming together under the same banner. It was used in all the top-performing posts.
This demonstrates the power of a unified, comprehensive campaign as well as how tagging content appropriately ensures it is easily found and shared.
Many of the top posts included those that carried “quick facts” on general disease information, such as prevalence, symptoms and risk factors, showing an appetite for educational information.
Using personal stories was an effective way to engage the audience – backing that up with appropriate photography was shown to boost engagement even further.
- National Cancer Institute (2018). SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Available from: https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/amyl.html (accessed May 2018).