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Getting started with social media


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Getting started with social media

  1. 1. Getting Started with Social Media 1Getting Started with Social MediaOver the past decade, social media has emerged as an extremely influential tool forcommunications. It has become the rule, not the exception, when conducting outreachactivities. Social networks and platforms—such as blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and videoapplications—give participating audiences an immediate, interactive place to discussand share items of interest. Engaging in social media can help your Action Coalition to:•• Disseminate information and achievements toonline audiences.•• Ask your stakeholders to take action.•• Connect to other organizations.•• Build grassroots efforts through localsocial networks.•• Keep advocates up-to-date on local andnational progress.•• Solicit feedback and ideas from people ororganizations in your community.Connecting with your audience online can helpyou gain exposure to the communities you valuemost—whether they’re nursing students, healthcare professionals, policy-makers, bloggers, orcommunity organizations—and offer them a wayto engage with your Action Coalition and theCampaign for Action. Through social media, you cantap into a network of individuals to advance yourshared goals toward transforming health care, andyou can build a community and engage friends andfollowers like never before.With all the momentum behind the ever-growingworld of social media, it’s easy to forget a fewimportant concepts.Social media is just one of the tools in yourcommunications toolkit. Used correctly, socialmedia can help you expand the reach of your othercommunications efforts such as websites, pressmaterials, newsletters, and e-blasts by distributingyour messages in a fast and easily accessible way thatallows for viral distribution.Social media is a two-way street. While you may beexcited to push your message out, you’ll likely besearching for content to share as well as monitoring,reviewing, and responding to questions andcomments from others. If you use social media onlyto get your messages out and ignore what others aresaying, you’re not embracing the purpose of socialmedia and you may alienate your audience.Although most social media platforms and toolsare free to use, your time is not. It will take timeto learn a new technology, adapt to a new way ofcommunicating (in some cases, such as tweetingwhere many words are abbreviated), find ways togrow your social media presence, and engage withothers on social media on a regular basis. Makingthe investment will be well worth the return—arobust online community to engage with and helpadvance your efforts!
  2. 2. Getting Started with Social Media 2Creating a Facebook page or a Twitter accountfor your Action Coalition is just one part ofestablishing a communications strategy andmanaging your social media channels. In a perfectworld, you would have a robust social media strategythat aligns with the overall goals and objectives ofyour communications plan, which then ties intoyour strategic action plan. We understand that notevery Action Coalition has a communications planin place, and that’s okay. Now is still a good time tolearn about how to use social media and how it canbenefit your Action Coalition’s work. You can dipyour toe in the water without fully diving in!To help you prepare, we’ve included a quickreference guide to familiarize you with social mediatools and terminology. Although not all-inclusive,the list will help you get started. Further in thismodule, you’ll also learn how to communicate viasocial media with the Campaign and its partners,and you’ll see step-by-step guides to creating aFacebook page and Twitter account for yourAction Coalition.Getting Started with Social Media(continued)
  3. 3. Getting Started with Social Media 3Social Media GlossaryWeb 2.0—ThecurrentlandscapeforInternettechnologyandusability,whichallowsuserstointeractandexchangeinformationoveravirtualcommunity.ExamplesincludesocialnetworkingsiteslikeFacebook,blogsliketheHuffingtonPost,wikislikeWikipedia,videosharingsiteslikeYouTube,hostedservicesandWebapplications.Social media—Platforms or tools (often online oraccessed via mobile device) that allow and encouragecommunication and content sharing through easilyaccessible Web-based publishing technologies. Socialmediacantakemanydifferentforms,includingInternetforums and blogs among others.Social network—Incomputing,aWeb-basedplatformthat connects individuals, groups, organizations, andcommunities with one another through a variety ofshared interests, ideas, and knowledge. Most socialnetworking sites allow privacy settings to limit theamount of information that is shared with other users.Social networks include Facebook, Twitter, andLinkedIn among others.Facebook—A social networking site that allows usersto connect and engage with other users through profile,fan, and event pages. Participants manage a profile pageto publicize interests and work/study information andhave the option to update their profiles with comments,sharedlinks,posts,and“likes.”Facebookfanpagesalloworganizations to promote information and events andkeepsupportersorconstituentsengagedintheiractivities.Twitter—A social network built around micro-blogging that allows users to post and read “tweets,”text containing no more than 140 characters in length.Users can “follow” and “be followed” by other users,allowing them to repost another author’s tweet andsharepersonaltweetswithindividualsandorganizationsin their network.LinkedIn—The leading online professional directoryofindividualsandcompanies,providingaccesstopeople,jobs,news,andupdates.Professionalscansendmessages,posts links, add skills, give and receive individualendorsements on LinkedIn members’ skills, and more.Those who are already using Twitter can set up theirLinkedIn updates to appear in their Twitter feed andvice versa, so the two networks complement each other.Organizations can use a “company” page to buildvisibility for their brand.Google Plus (or Google+)—A social networkingservice (owned and operated by Google) that has beendescribed as an information network where people canshare and follow interests rather than a purely socialsite such as Facebook. Unlike conventional socialnetworks that are generally accessed through a singlewebsite, Google+ has been described by Google as a“social layer” consisting of not just a single site, butrather an overarching “layer” that covers many of itsonline properties. Companies can form communities,categorize content, and gain visibility using this service.Instagram—An online photo-sharing and socialnetworking service that enables its users to takepictures, apply digital filters to them, and share themon a variety of social networking services, such asmedia sites including Facebook or Twitter.Pinterest—A virtual bulletin board for saving andsharing Web pages of interest. Pinterest allows users tocreateanddisplayboardsofinterests,creatinganidentitythrough links, pictures, words, and ideas. Nonprofitsand other organizations can use Pinterest to tell theirstory using images that link to relevant content.
  4. 4. Getting Started with Social Media 4Social Media Glossary (continued)Podcast—A channel through which digital audioand video files can be broadcast over the Internet anddownloaded to a mobile device or personal computer.Podcasts can be standalone files or part of a series;subscribers often learn of a new podcast through anRSS feed.Blog—A Web-based log that allows individuals toshare items of interest publicly. Blogs can have aneutral tone or provide commentary on recent news.They can be created in an open or closed platform,allowing the author to control who can viewinformation. Blogs also often allow for commentsfrom readers, engendering a conversation among avariety of individuals. A few examples include theRobert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) HumanCapital Blog, the New York Times Well blog, and theAmerican Journal of Nursing’s Off the Charts blog.RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds—A way tostream information, including news, music, video, andevents, from one website to another. This Web feedformat allows users to subscribe to a variety of onlinecontent sources and have the information organizedwith other content into one combined feed. RSS feedsareusedtopublishreal-timeinformation to subscribers.All modern Web browsers include the ability toaccess RSS feeds.Discussion forum—A website similar to a messageboard that allows users to discuss topics and ideaswith several users. Discussion forums can be private orpublic, allowing users to view a conversation andengage in it if they wish. The Campaign for ActionOnline Community is a good example of a discussionforum, where Action Coalitions and Campaign staffcan post discussion topics in addition to resources.
  5. 5. Getting Started with Social Media 5Social Media SnapshotsFacebookBelow is a screenshot of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action Facebook page. The bar at the topincludesaccesstopeople,messages,notifications,accountsettings,andasearchbartofindotherFacebookaccounts.The large image is called a “cover photo.” The smaller box to the left is for a profile picture or other image(such as a logo) can go. The space underneath includes links to photos, links to Facebook users who “like”the organization, and links to the welcome page and a listing of events.Below that, the screen is separated into two columns. The column on right shows what other people haveposted to the Facebook page; the column on left includes space to write and upload a post and shows theorganization’s posts.
  6. 6. Getting Started with Social Media 6Social Media Snapshots (continued)TwitterBelow is a screenshot of what you’ll see when you log in to a Twitter account. You can see tweets from people@FutureofNursing follows on the right side under “Tweets.” The top box on left shows how many times@FutureofNursing has tweeted, how many individuals @FutureofNursing follows, and how many peopleare following the account. Twitter also suggests users to follow and items that are “trending” in real time.Across the top bar, you can access various settings, view and update your profile, search for individuals orsubjects, and compose a tweet.
  7. 7. Getting Started with Social Media 7Social Media Snapshots (continued)PinterestBelow is a screenshot of what you’ll see when log in to a Pinterest account. The main image in the middle ofthe page is a “pin.” When you click on the image, you are taken to a website for related information. Abovethe image, you have options to “like” the pin or “repin” it to your own bulletin board. The larger bulletinboard on left (“Passion for elder care,”) is where the account holder houses that pin and other, related pins.In the far right column, you can see options to share the pin via other social media channels, includingTwitter and Facebook.
  8. 8. Getting Started with Social Media 8Social Media Snapshots (continued)LinkedInBelow is what you’ll see when you log in to a LinkedIn account. Across the top, you can access your profile,connections/contacts, and professional groups you’re a part of, for example. You can search for companiesto find their pages. Below is the company page for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, which someonecan follow by clicking the yellow “Follow” button at the top right. Following allows you to see moreupdates and posts from the group.
  9. 9. Getting Started with Social Media 9How to Create a FacebookOrganization PageCreating a Facebook page for your Action Coalition is an easy and cost-effective way tocreate an online presence, promote your cause, publicize events, and engage a broadaudience. As you build “fans” for your page, these people can become conduits who canhelp spread the word about your coalition and the specific nursing workforce issues youare addressing.To create a Facebook organization page, follow thesteps below:1. Have an official representative of your ActionCoalition log in to his or her personal Facebookaccount* to create the page.2. *If you do not have a personal Facebook account,see step 3.3. Once logged in, go to to begin creating your page.4. If you do not have an existing personal account, youcan create a personal page by providing an email andpassword to obtain administrative authority. Werecommend storing this login informationsomewhere safe so you can remember how to accessFacebook or allow another coalition member or staffsupport to log in.5. You will be asked to select your type of organization.We recommend selecting “Company, Organization,or Institution.” Then you will see a drop-down listwith organization options. Facebook has alreadyestablished a category for Health/Medical/Pharmaceuticals, so we suggest using thatdesignation. In the “Name” box, type in the name ofyour Action Coalition, agree to the Facebook terms,and then click “Get Started6. Once the page is created, upload a profile picturethat is unique to your organization and usesbranding consistent with your website and othermaterials.ThiscouldbeyourActionCoalition logo.7. Fill in the “About” tab with the organization’smission, goals, and other information that you wantcommunity members, stakeholders, and potentialstakeholders to see.8. Fill in the “Facebook Web Address” tab with aunique Facebook Web address. Facebook willalready have a suggestion waiting.9. Skip “Enable Ads” tab.10. “Status Update” section of your page to share newinformation, coalition updates, upcoming events,new partnership announcements, and pictures. Keepthese status updates brief, and when possible link to aresource or in-depth news item on your ActionCoalition website or on Web pages of the Campaignfor Action and RWJF.11. Update your Facebook page at least twice weekly.Remember that social media networks areconstantly being updated, so you have to staycurrent to stay relevant.12. Create a photo album, if desired, with pictures frompast events if available; keep a camera on hand atfuture events to create and update your photoalbums.13. Use the “Search” tool within Facebook to findlike-minded organizations and individuals. You maywant to start by searching your Action Coalitionpartners, other state Action Coalitions, local healthexperts, the Center to Champion Nursing inAmerica, and RWJF. You can “like” fan pages and“friend” organizations that you want to be affiliatedwith.14. Interact with other users by commenting and“liking” relevant posts; respond to comments and“likes” when received.
  10. 10. Getting Started with Social Media 10How to Create aTwitter Organization PageTwitter is a social networking site that provides users with the ability to share informationin 140 characters or less. You can use your Twitter account to post news about yourAction Coalition, information about upcoming events, or updates on the nursingworld. The brief, micro-blog format and ease of mobile posting allow you to post andfollow up-to-the-minute news. Maintaining a Twitter account will help you to:•• Listen to what key stakeholders are saying aboutnursing issues and the work of your Action Coalition.•• Promote your work within and connect to awider audience.•• Monitor a variety of topics simultaneously that are ofinterest to your Action Coalition.•• Expand the reach of your work via your followers’networks and beyond.•• Participate in discussions involving thenursing community.•• Build a community of advocates of nurses andnon-nurses interested in your work.TocreateaTwitterorganizationpage,followthestepsbelow:1. To start, visit to sign up.2. Think about what you want to call your Twitteraccount or “handle.” Remember that social media isanother way to reinforce your Action Coalition’sname and brand. Consider using your stateabbreviation and the campaign acronym in yourhandle name. Keep in mind that shorter is betterwhen it comes to your handle—it’s easier toremember and uses fewer characters, making iteasier for others to retweet you.3. Once you have decided on a handle name, enter it inalong with an email address and a desired password.Then click “Create my Account.”4. Follow the Twitter prompt; to build your timeline,you must begin to follow people.5. To set up your profile information, upload an imagefor your picture and a quick bio. You can use a photoor upload your Action Coalition’s logo if you haveone. An image is a must; followers tend to viewaccounts with images as more credible.6. Under the “ME” tab, you can update informationspecific to your coalition, including:7. Updatelocationwithyourorganization’sgeographicinfo.8. Update “Web” with your actual website URL.9. Update bio with a brief description of your ActionCoalition in no more than 160 characters(including spaces).10. Make sure to click “Save” before moving on to thenext step.11. Now that your profile is complete, it’s time to tweet!A tweet is a message of no more than 140 charactersthat briefly tells your followers about a piece of newsoritemofinterest.JustaswithFacebook,werecommendtweeting relatively frequently about news, initiatives,successes, and other important bits of information.
  11. 11. Getting Started with Social Media 11How to Create aTwitter Organization Page (continued)12. You should also use what is called a hashtag (#) tofeature key words. Hashtags allow you to searcheasily for tweets that specifically deal with thattopic, and it helps individuals who do not follow youto find your tweets. For example, the Future ofNursing Twitter account uses the hashtag#futureRN when tweeting about items related tothe Institute of Medicine report or Campaign forAction. This allows us to see who else on Twitter istalking about the report. We encourage you to alsouse the #futureRN hashtag in your tweets.13. To find other users in the fields (health care,education, etc.) in which you wish to engage, youcan search for those organizations directly intwitter, or you can peruse their websites for mentionof a twitter account. If you want to subscribe totheir twitter and read their tweets, click “follow.”All tweets from that organization will now appearon your home feed.14. To better understand how to use specific Twitterfunctions, remember the following:•• Use the “@” mention function to tweet backand forth with other users.•• Use the “retweet” function to post anotheruser’s tweet on your account.•• Use the “list” function to create and organizefollowers into lists or groups by category.15. Be sure to promote your Twitter handle in youremail signature, on your business card, on yourAction Coalition’s website, and in Campaignmaterials. When it comes to gaining followers andgrowing your network, promotion is key!
  12. 12. Getting Started with Social Media 12Tips to Get StartedPick one or two platforms to start with(and see how they’re being used).With a multitude of platforms to choose from,selecting which social media channels you’ll usemight feel overwhelming. A good way to start is toselect no more than one or two platforms—perhapsFacebook and LinkedIn—and find out if thepeople you’d want to reach are using thoseplatforms. You can find this out by visiting websitesand reviewing promotional materials to search foricons and links directly to social media channels.Unless people are using a private or protectedaccount, you can directly access their Facebook pageand/or Twitter feed. You can see how often they postmessages (several times a day? daily? weekly? rarely?)and whom they interact with (organizations similarto your Action Coalition? local policymakers?members of the media?) to get a better sense of howthey’re using the platform.A simple way to inform your decision on whichplatform(s) to start using is to consider how you (orthe person who will be in charge of social media foryour Action Coalition) will use the platform. Whatkinds of posts will you share? With a limitedcharacter count, Twitter might be a good way toshare quick news bites and provide facts and stats. Ifyou want to engage audiences in conversations andhave more discussions on nursing issues, share lotsof photos or videos, perhaps Facebook might workbest. Keep in mindthatwithalimitedcharactercountandothernuances specific to the platform,Twitter generally has a steeper learning curve thanFacebook. Many find Facebook morestraightforwardand easier to manage and maintain, especially ifthey’re brand new to using social media.Regardless of where you start, there’s no right orwrong way to select a platform or to engage withothers—understanding how you’ll use social mediawill help you make an informed decision.Listen to the chatter.Listening and observing how othersinteract through social media can be agreat way to get started. You can get asense of what people andorganizations are saying, doing and promoting bysearching for certain topics and finding theconversation stream. On Twitter, you can search byusing a hashtag (#), which allows you to easilysearch for tweets that deal with a specific topic. Try ahashtag such as #nursing or #futureRN (thehashtag for the Institute of Medicine’s Future ofNursing report) to see what people are saying aboutthese topics and who is doing the talking.If you already have a Facebook account (even apersonal one), you can search for Facebook pagesrelated to nurses and nursing issues. Keep in mindthat you’ll want to keep yourpersonalaccountseparatefromaprofessionalaccountso don’t rush to “like”something from your personal account or to join aconversation until you have decided whethertouseyourpersonalaccountorcreateaprofessional one.Consider time and staffing.Although social media is meant to be aquickandinformalwayofcommunicating,managing a social media presence is moreinvolved than many think. It takes time to buildyour social media presence, cultivate “likes” andfollowers, and plan your short- and long-termmessages. Even without a fully developed strategy,you can determine a process for posting andresponding on social media.
  13. 13. Getting Started with Social Media 13Tips to Get Started (continued)Many organizations have a full-time positiondedicated to managing social media. Given staffingand resources, that may not be realistic for yourAction Coalition. If that’s the case, it’s even moreimportant to think through your process and strategyso you can plan ahead and aren’t scrambling to thinkof each tweet or post. If staff capacity is limited, youmight want to consider bringing on an unpaidcollege intern or recent graduate from acommunications or journalism program to help youget started. You or another staff member will need toprovide oversight to that intern to be sure each postaccurately presents your Action Coalition’s brandand messaging. You also could develop a social mediapolicy or guidelines for use to avoid undesirablesituations. By doing a simple online search, you’ll beable to find various organizations’ social mediapolicies, which you can adapt for your needs.Explore!Further in this guide you’ll see specific steps forsetting up a Facebook page and Twitter account.There are also plenty of tutorials available online,and new social media tools become available on aregular basis. If you’re not sure how to do somethingwith social media, chances are you can find out justby typing your question into a search engine. You alsocan ask a fellow Action Coalition or your granteeliaisonforresourcesorassistance.Socialmediaisn’t goingaway, so now’s as good a time as any to give it a try!
  14. 14. Getting Started with Social Media 14Social Media PlatformsThe Campaign for Action and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation each have a social media presence.We encourage Action Coalitions to connect with these social networks and engage with us online. Thechart below outlines the goals of each organizational presence and how each is utilized.Additionally, the Campaign for Action website ( has a robustonline community, promoting active discussion and information-sharing to bring all members of theCampaign together. We urge Action Coalitions to promote the online community to their members andjoin the conversation.Campaign for Action Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:Initiative on the Future of NursingPurpose Provides the voice for Campaign activities,engagement, and assistance to expandthe Campaign’s community and reach.Shares information and promotes engagementwith RWJF’s continued support of the researchagenda set forth by the IOM report andimplementation of the recommendations throughall of RWJF’s nursing initiatives.Platforms Twitter: @Campaign4ActionFacebook: @FutureofNursingFacebook: