Statistics indicate that 2.77 billion people in the world will have social media accounts by the end of 2019 and this indicates the power of social media. Today due to the advancement of technology it is possible for people to share information about events taking place in the public health sector easily and affordably. Through creation of posts, tweets and social media campaigns public health organizations have more tools to spread their messages than they did before the advancement of social media. Many organizations not only in the public health organization use social media platforms to create awareness about their products, services and events that are coming up. Public health organizations could also benefit from these social media platforms in that they get to spend less money and time talking about their events and the services that they offer to the community. American public health organization does have a social media presence and they are active on Facebook. The organization does use the site to talk about the upcoming events and services they can render to the public but they have not fully tapped into the benefits of social media since they rarely do get to engage with the people they render their services to.
One of the advantages that American public health organization gets from being on social media is that they get to share information quickly and affordably. Many of the social media platforms are free and they only require an individual or organization to fill out their details and sign in. Facebook is one platform that requires the organizations to fill out their details which would help other Facebook users to learn more about the organization and they get to decide whether they will follow the organization or not. Once on the platform the organization gets to share any information that they deem important to their target audience (Lister, Royne, Payne, Cannon, Hanson & Barnes, 2015). Therefore, social media platforms give organizations an opportunity to share information with their target audience.
In addition, social media makes it easy for the organizations not only to communicate with their target audiences but also learn about their needs. When an organization posts something on Facebook there will be responses from their target audience and the organization should ensure that they respond to every question raised by their clients to improve their reliability. Also, people from across the world experiencing various health issues do get to directly contact the organization through this platform. Social media platforms are especially reliable and affordable to many people since it is easy to send a message from one geographical area to another and it gets delivered immediately (Rolls, Hansen, Jackson & Elliott, 2016). Therefore, social media platforms do help organizations to connect with their clients.
Also, public health organizations can use social media platforms to share news about outbreaks, health hazards and the effective ways to deal with these issues. When it comes to health, many people across the world rely on the government and accredited public health organizations to update them on given issues. Since many people across the world are on social media, it becomes easier to create awareness and have it spread within a few minutes. Social media connects people from different parts of the world and that is why it possible for news to spread easily across the world (Pagoto, Waring, May, Ding, Kunz, Hayes & Oleski, 2016). Public health organizations can take advantage of the fact that many people will get to hear about an outbreak quickly through social media than any other medium.
American public health association (APHA) is an American based organization which aims at speaking out about public health issues and policies which are backed by science. It is made up of public health practitioners including Dr. Stephen Smith. The organization prides itself in the fact that it has influenced federal policy and it has been able to bring health practitioners from different backgrounds together. The organization has a Facebook page with over 100, 000 followers.
American public health association utilizes their Facebook posts to let their target audience know about upcoming events, research findings on various health related issues such as obesity and diabetes, and even environmental issues. The organization therefore utilizes the platform to share information. APHA is active on Facebook as there are several posts on their page throughout the day. The members do get to share what they think is relevant to their target audiences and leave it there for the audience to interpret the information. I sent a message to the organization asking about an event they had posted about speaking for health and unfortunately I did not get a reply. In addition, I did notice that despite the high number of followers that the organization has on this platform not many people get to respond to their posts. There are no chats between the organization and their target audiences. Many of the comments made about a post are never replied to and in some cases, the target audiences do get to debate about the posts among themselves but there is usually no response from the organization.
The organization can benefit more from social media than they are doing now if they get to interact with their target markets. Being interactive on social media platforms indicates that an organization cares about not only the opinions but also the questions raised by their followers. When the organization takes time to respond to their audiences, it shows that they do get to read their comments and put them into consideration. The interaction does help to build a relationship between the organization and their audiences (Rolls, Hansen, Jackson & Elliott, 2016). In addition, it makes the followers feel valued and so they do become loyal to the organization. Since the organization wants to achieve health equality for all, it would be prudent if they got to interact with individuals who raise questions or comment on this page.
In addition, the organization needs to ensure that they do have an individual who gets to respond to the messages sent to their inbox and in a timely manner. The organization rarely gets to respond to their messages which makes one believe that they care more about posting about events than addressing issues raised by their followers. An individual who likes the page believe that they will not only get information but they can also get help when they raise a question since they are a community (Pagoto, Waring, May, Ding, Kunz, Hayes & Oleski, 2016). The organization has failed in creating a community. Therefore, ensuring that they get to interact with people on the platform will help to create networks and give the organization an opportunity to gather information on certain health issues.
Social media platforms are important for public health organizations because they help to bring people from across who have same interests together. Social media platforms help public health organizations to share information about events, research findings and health talks. APHA utilizes Facebook to share information about several health related issues and while they are active every day, they have not used the platform to form a connection with those that follow them.
Lister, C., Royne, M., Payne, H. E., Cannon, B., Hanson, C., & Barnes, M. (2015). The laugh model: reframing and rebranding public health through social media. American journal of public health, 105(11), 2245-2251.
Rolls, K., Hansen, M., Jackson, D., & Elliott, D. (2016). How health care professionals use social media to create virtual communities: an integrative review. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 18(6), e166.
Pagoto, S., Waring, M. E., May, C. N., Ding, E. Y., Kunz, W. H., Hayes, R., & Oleski, J. L. (2016). Adapting behavioral interventions for social media delivery. Journal of medical Internet research, 18(1), e24.