As social media and mobile device usage become ubiquitous, these new habits and resources present an opportunity for enhanced public health outreach. This webinar by the Program to Achieve Wellness examines the role of social media as an instrument for public health campaigns. Featuring speaker Amelia Burke-Garcia, who has more than 15 years of experience in digital, social, and mobile media, the presentation establishes a shared understanding of strategic social media usage to achieve measurable public health campaign results. Both public relations professionals and public health organizations will find this resource informative.

Social media usage is highly prevalent among individuals of all ages and demographics, but especially teens and youth. Ninety percent of Americans own a cell phone, and almost two-thirds own a smartphone. As more Americans come online, the internet is becoming the primary method for the dissemination of ideas, content, and information. As the internet is so young compared to other media, methods of distribution follow no strict approach to which organizations and institutions can adhere. Though this presents a challenge to those looking to leverage this new medium, it also presents an opportunity to engage an audience in new, more effective ways. The most extreme example of this is “breaking the internet,” or attaining viral status, which can be achieved intentionally or unintentionally when the audience connects with digital content and propels the message to a still wider viewership. Going viral can be a tactic in encouraging healthy behaviors, reaching high numbers of individuals, and inspiring conversations on the topic in focus. Social media tools can help us to understand consumer behavior.

In the webinar, Burke-Garcia uses specific examples of successful public health campaigns to demonstrate the utility of social media.

This resource was first shared in 2018.

(Presentation, YouTube)