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Research Communication via Social Media at the National Cancer Institute
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Research Communication via Social Media at the National Cancer Institute


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This presentation is for the annual meeting of the Association of Independent Research Institutes, for a panel called, "Across the Twitterverse." …

This presentation is for the annual meeting of the Association of Independent Research Institutes, for a panel called, "Across the Twitterverse."

Here is the description of the session: Websites, blogs, Facebook, Twitter … Communications and development professionals agree that the rise of social media is changing the way we reach our constituents, and the way they reach us. How do we select the best vehicles and platforms, manage our outreach and measure our effectiveness? This session will explore best practices in using technology in communications.

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  • NCI usesfacebook, twitter and youtube, with some activity on Flickr
  • Because we are a gov’t agency, we cannot use a platform until a TOS for gov’t agencies has been negotiated. Just because we aren’t use one here, doesn’t mean we don’t think it is valuable. We have plans for Google+ and Pinterest, and we’ve recently launced a pro account on Flickr.
  • We have a grantee section, plus options for other grantee coverage: cancer centers and non-centers.
  • Having a unique news-only FB page, we can highlight the work being done across our portfolio without overwhelming the main page. We also have the opportunity to serve those that are only interested in the news, and do not want health messages.
  • While there is certainly overlap, we know that at least half of @NCImedia’s followers do not follow any other NCI account.
  • These are the things that have been most popular on our pagesRE: images, on FB we also post “Behind the scenes” photos with staff, so that people can get to know who we are and what we do.
  • If you post the same link twice on Facebook, FB aggregates them on your fan’s feeds. Better to use different, related links if possible (release, photo post, youtube link, etc.)Participating in twitter chats with news outlets has been very useful. One with ABC had a reach of 9 million.
  • When we post news from the centers, we include links to their pages as well as links to the journal or meeting org (FB only).Facebook: mention pages for scientific meetingsPosting during non-work hours means no one is monitoring for comment explosions. Apps to help: Pages*, twitter, tweetdeck
  • TweetDeckWeb-based or available as an application for PC, Mac, Android & iOS
  • Transcript

    • 1. + Science & Social Media Research Communication via Social Media at NCI Brooke Layne Hardison, M.P.H. Media Relations Analyst, National Cancer Institute October 1, 2012 | AIRI Meeting
    • 2. + NCI’s Approach to Social Media Facebook Twitter  Semi-centralized approach  Decentralized approach  Enterprise pages in English and  Program staff work with OCE to in Spanish maintain consistent branding & policies  News-only page  Account managers are responsible  Enterprise pages are run by teams for content and responses in the Office of Communications and Education (OCE)  Comment review and response handled by Cancer Information YouTube Specialist (contractors behind 1-  Network approach 800-4-CANCER)  Main channel (ncigov) “favorites” videos from other channels  News page run by social media  Channel “themes” match the tabs on specialist (me) in the Office of the NCI website ( Public Affairs & Research Communication (OPARC)  News channel managed by social media specialist in OPARC (me, again)  All other channels managed by OCE
    • 3. +Cancer ResearchCommunicationNCI’s News Center • press releases • feature stories • daily news from the NCI- designated Cancer Centers • spotlight stories on scientistsWe use social media to: • disseminate news content • demonstrate the breadth of NCI’s research portfolio • Highlight research progress
    • 4. +NCI on FacebookEnglish page, Spanish page & the News page21,000 total “likes” plus several hundredorganizational likes across three pages.700,000 total impressions per monthDivisions & offices send info to the Facebookteam for consideration on the general pagesNews page includes news from NCI and the 67NCI-designated Cancer Centers. We tag the institutions Facebook page when possible Other institutions included when there is a mention of a center in the release (coauthors)
    • 5. + @theNCI @NCImedia @NCIBulletin @NCIBiospecimens @NCICancerCtrl @NCICompOnc @NCIespanol @NCIExhibitsNCI on @NCIHINTSTwitter @NCImcMedia @NCI_NCIPPrograms have their @NCI_NCCCPown accounts @NCIPhySci99,449 total followers @NCIpreventionNCImedia alone: @NCIsbir 52,393 accounts @NCISymptomMgmt reached weekly @NCITechTransfer 211,707 weekly @NCItrialsatNIH impressions @PresCancerPanel News from NCI @TCGAupdates and the NCI- designated Cancer @SmokefreeGov Centers (with @SmokefreeTeen @mentions) @SmokefreeWomen
    • 6. +NCI on YouTubeNetwork of nine topic-based channels524,958 lifetime viewsNews channel (NCInews) 70% of the total views for NCI 15,000 views per month Interviews with scientists, b-roll, event footage (no scripts) All news videos produced in-house using Cannon DSLRs & iMovie
    • 7. Items popular on NCI’s social media pages:+  Posts with images – the more unique, the better  On Facebook, images with photos get twice the engagement  Videos that explain complex topics or demonstrate clinical experiences (sigmoidoscopy, radiology exams)  Science explained in simple termsWhat to post  Behavioral & prevention scienceFor our audiences, items that arepopular on Facebook tend to be (nutrition, exercise, sun protection)popular on Twitter as well.  Science with immediate clinical implicationsOn YouTube, people like videos thathelp them understand the science  Science related to common cancers or those with large online communities (breast, prostate, pancreatic)
    • 8. +  Facebook  9:00 pm – 10:00 pm has the highest engagement (in each time zone)  8:00 am – 10:00 am has the second highest engagement  Post at least once per week. Once a day would be better.  If you have more than one item in a day, space them out.When to post  TwitterFacebook and Twitter are more time  Peak times for news-related posts:sensitive that YouTube.  Morning Coffee  Lunch Break  Toward the end of the work day  Twitter users tolerate frequent posts, so online chats or constant posts from a meeting work better here.
    • 9. +  Cross-promotion: Including mentions/tags for your collaborators & journals (and even funders!) increases your exposure  On Facebook, your post will appear on the other org’s pages  On Twitter, your post will appear in searches for the other org, and increases the likelihood of ReTweets.  Scheduling allows for posting during non- work hoursOther considerations  Facebook & YouTube allow forWays to increase your engagement scheduling on their websites  Schedule Twitter posts using third-party clients (Hootsuite & TweetDeck)  Smartphone apps can monitor for fan posts & comments during off-hours  Hashtags and aggregation tools can be used to bring more attention to your activities and campaigns  Aggregators:,
    • 10. +  Applications  (web or desktop/phone, display lists in columns)  Hootsuite (web-only, add your own thumbnail images on Facebook)  Social media news sources   AllFacebook.comResources  A few of my favorite things   Help, Guidance & Best Practices  Facebook pages: Nonprofits, government, FacebookPages  Twitter accounts: @twittercomms, @twittermedia, @gov, @support
    • 11. +  NCI enterprise social media channels     News-specific social media channels    Directory of NIH social media channels:Links to find us  Directory of HHS social media channels:
    • 12. + Contact @BrookeLayne on twitter Slides will be posted on