Using Social Media to Reach Women, Teens, and Girls


Published on

Keeping up with emerging technologies and engaging social media as tools for education and advocacy can be challenging for the most tech savvy among us. Lauren Girardin, YTH's director of communications and marketing, offers insights and examples of using social media to reach women, teens, and girls around reproductive health issues, including teenage pregnancy prevention, domestic violence, sex ed, and more.

The presentation includes:

Compelling data and statistics to help make the case for using social media to reach these audiences.

Tips for engaging women and girls on social media, such as crafting a content strategy, using hooks and an editorial calendar, using visual content, embracing authenticity, going beyond "girl talk," and practical social media guidelines.

Examples of foundations, nonprofits, and organizations using social media to reach women, teens, and girls through mobile and text messaging, storytelling, gaming, campaigns, and video.

Published in: Social Media, Technology, Business
1 Like
  • Be the first to comment

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Hi, I’m Lauren Girardin, Director of Marketing and Communications for YTH.Thinking about this session I remembered my first volunteer experience after moving to San Francisco back in 1998. I ran the Girls’ Computer Hour at a Boys & Girls Club in the roughest part of SF’s rough yet family-packed Tenderloin neighborhood. Back before Twitter or Facebook even existed, the Girls’ Computer Hour was about making a safe space for girls to explore new ideas together through technology, and have conversations and ask questions without embarrassment or judgment.But get this: It was ONE HOUR a week.Luckily today, there are a lot more safe spaces for women and girls to learn through technology, especially through social media.[image is a detail of a mural by Darryl Mar and Darren Acora]
  • YTH, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California, partners with those who are in search of new ways to advance the health of youth and young adults through appropriate technology.Appropriate technology is key. Our solutions focus on emerging, startling, and sometimes, simple technologies that can reach young people where they are.
  • YTH drives change by creating, evaluating, and refining technology solutions and providing partners with proven models ready for scale and replication. We also build the capacity of the community to advance youth health by providing research, training, idea generation, and expert advice.Once we’ve determined what works, YTH makes sure that the community can learn from our findings by sharing them through platforms like this presentation!, research, and our annual YTH Live conference — save the date APRIL 6-8, 2014 in San Francisco. Visit for more information.
  • YTH believes that young people deserve honest information, deserve for their voice to be heard, and deserve to live healthy lives without shame or fear.
  • [Statistic source: “72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users,” by Pew Research Center,]
  • Note Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, all used mostly by women. These are primarily visual social channels.[Statistic source: “72% of Online Adults are Social Networking Site Users,” by Pew Research Center,]
  • What can you do to make your social media communications successful?GOALS– in SMART,T can be TIMELY, can also be THRILLING – if your goals don’t thrill you (and your boss and your board) you’ll have trouble committing to them.AUDIENCES – “all women” is no more an audience than “the world” is.MESSAGES – what you’re saying specifically to each target audience, to motivate them and overcome barriers.CHANNELS – you go to them, they (probably) won’t come to you.ACTIONS – barriers can be EMOTIONAL, which you address with messaging/content/messenger/etc or can be TECHNOLOGICAL, make sure your technology choices are appropriate
  • EXAMPLE OF AUDIENCE TARGETING:Audience-specific social media communications can help get your messages heard by who you want to hear them.Planned Parenthood has a diverse social media presence. They have LOTS of channels and identities.They have their channels to educate and engage their audiences in advocacy.
  • They communicate health care information and tips, like here with their Twitter channel.
  • And wait! Planned Parenthood also has a Twitter just for talking to teens (and look, BOYS — I’d wager that image choice is very intentional).Their regional offices also have their own social media channels for better targeted audience messaging. Their leadership has their own Twitter, to humanize the messages. It goes on and on.
  • Planned Parenthood also uses different social media channels to generate different types of engagement with different audiences.Tumblr, which is more popular in younger demographics.Check out the top of the page. They’re very clearly and prominently MOTIVATING SPECIFIC ACTION (“ask”) and REMOVING BARRIERS (“no judgments). Multiple ways offered: ask a question, chat, links to more information for the readers. Underlying message: You SHOULD BE CURIOUS about your sex life and reproductive health.
  • Planned Parenthood Action Fund uses Pinterest. Focused on POLITICAL actions, advocacy, campaigns, even nostalgia. This looks designed to appeal to a more middle aged woman, and demographically, that’s the person more likely to be on Pinterest. Someone perhaps past giving birth themselves, but still focused on women’s rights and politics.Pinterest is more popular in the MIDWEST. Note the Texas pinboard.
  • On social media of course, you need to CHER … I mean, SHARE! Actually social media is more than sharing.Cher’s a type of triple threat: she’s done stage, television, big screen.
  • Be a social media TRIPLE THREAT: Listen, Share, and Engage.If you’re not doing all 3, you’re not really using social media to its fullest.LISTENfirst– Use social media to listen to what your audiences are saying. THEN start engaging and having conversations.SHARE - Vary your content format – Images, videos, infographics, questions (provocative ones), startling statistics.ENGAGE Try for the 70/30 RULE: 70% of the content you post should be engaging, rather than promotional. Just 30% promotional.In order to engage, you need to know who you’re talking to.Chat it up – Join relevant Twitter Chats where your audiences will be listening and participating.As with most things, QUALITY over quantity is key.
  • HOOKS will help you be part of conversations already happening. People are more likely to pay attention to what is of the moment, hot and happening now.EDITORIAL CALENDARAn Editorial Calendar gives you a way to plan FAR AHEAD and also focus on the details what you’re producing NOW.and can help you STAY ORGANIZED AND NOT GO CRAZYLightBox Collaborative (, where I also hang my hat, publishes a FREE Editorial Calendar tool for nonprofits in November every year. Both a template you can customize to your needs, and filled with hook ideas to inspire your social media content planning.[Image source:]
  • Recent hook. Global Female Condom Day, lots of conversation on many social media channels (shown in screenshots is Twitter & Facebook).
  • What can you do to make your social media communications successful?GET VISUALInstagram, Facebook, Pinterest are all image-driven social media.“Scumbag Steve” meme found at
  • Today is for Tomorrow is YTH’s Tumblr page for California high schoolers of color, combining pop culture and a positive, inspirational vibe. Today is for Tomorrow’s messaging reaches young people of color statewide with messages of health living, including unplanned pregnancy prevention, job seeking tips, mental health, and more.
  • What can you do to make your social media communications successful?Embrace Authenticity… and BRACE YOURSELVES for itPeople use social media to create their personal brand, so they’re usually looking for positive associations that reinforce how they feel about themselves, their lives.Your audiences and the people in it have distinct personality, your org can too.
  • A 4 inch red stiletto pump is strong personality.
  • Tons of visual, very authentic personality on their Instagram.
  • What can you do to make your social media communications successful?Women can offer and gain much more than JUST BEING SOCIAL on social media.GIRL TALK:Help women get more seats at the table and crack the glass ceiling (including professional development).[inspiration: smart 2010 article by Jessica Faye Carter]
  • Campaign by the National Women’s Law CenterMuch smaller presence on Twitter but OMG 305k on Facebook.Getting women, especially young women, to take political action.
  • Hat tip to Jason Shim, Pathways to Education Canada @jasonshim. Just some of his smart thinking: tip is mostly about engaging youth.SHOPPING MALL QUESTION: “If the situation was happening in a shoppingmall, what would you do?” - the question is a FRAMEWORK: by framing social media within a familiar, real-life context, this approach empowers staff members to use their best professional judgment without feeling intimidated by the technology or the virtual settingBOUNDARIES: ‘There are no “social media boundaries” -- there are only boundaries.’ Online and offline boundaries.[photo is a The Flaming Lips concert]
  • A note of caution…[quote source:]
  • Instead of brochures, which just get thrown away, this pediatrician puts URLs, QR codes, other tips for online health information on a white board in her office. Encourages kids to take a photo of the whiteboard, the information is then in the kids’ phones, she’s gotten it into their hands. The kids can then look up information in their own time, in their own safe spaces.If a pediatrician in Missouri gets how important mobile phones are for reaching teens, we can do it in California.[quote source:]
  • [statistic source: Teens and Technology 2013, Pew Internet & American Live Project,]Older = 14-1795% of older teen girls use the internet78% of older teen girls have mobile access to the internet (phone, tablet, etc)29% of teen girls 12-17 rely on their phones to access the internet55% of older teen girls who use smarphones use internet mostly from their phonesYTH found, in our white paper research, that youth without smart phones are doing incredible things with their “dumb” phones. They have data plans turned on, and use their phones to surf the web, watch videos, listen to music and more. They only can’t download apps. Also, some youth don’t or rarely use email at all. They may send and receive hundreds if not thousands of text messages a month.
  • ALWAYS ON = EASE OF ACCESSIBILITY - phones rarely leave people’s sight,phones are even our alarm clock!
  • Started as a social media campaign. Itdidn’t work, couldn’t figure out why.Realized: shared computers were a problem. School library. Mom’s laptop. Not a place to ask your deepest darkest sex questions.But teens have phones!
  • This YTH project was very focused on community inclusion from the get-go.Unete Latina is a new text messaging service and mobile website that helps Latina women in Fresno County, California access free and low-cost healthcare and domestic violence services.The first program of its kind, Unete Latina provides confidential referrals to women who are vulnerable or isolated, or who don’t know where to turn for the support they need. Get weekly text messages with information about carefully vetted health services available in their community. Smartphone users can also visit the mobile website and search for medical and dental clinics, legal services, emotional and community support services, and places to stay if home is no longer a safe option.
  • COALITION ADVANCING MULTIPURPOSE INNOVATIONS Project called Global Reproductive Health DiariesBring together researchers from around the world to innovate beyond the condom. Need funding, advocacy, and have to identify or create a demand. Too often a bunch of old white men developing products for very diverse women.Engaging voices of women throughout the development process.We asked women when we talk to them in person and on Facebook, and healthcare providers, to tell us their personal stories of their challenges getting access to repro health e.g. family prevention.Took these diary entries and created composite vignettes to protect the confidentiality. Helped raise awareness among funders. trying to bring the human touch since we're talking about sci development at the end of the day it's the woman we're focused on.
  • This 45% stat includes handheld, mobile, and SOCIAL games, browser games, and non-browser games (e.g. Xbox, Playstation).[statistic sources:- for 45% “Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry,” Entertainment Software Association, 2013]- sex statistic:57% of female gamers have sex vs 52% of male gamers. 38% of female gamers have sex at least once a week, vs 34% of male gamers.Harris Interactive survey conducted on behalf of GameHouse, a division of RealNetworks, October 2011]
  • This fun quiz-based game asks, “Think you’ve got what it takes to build a healthy relationship?” Answer questions over a potentially 6-month relationship that give points for building trust, communication, and respect.Some criticism for the game being heteronormative.
  • Campaign by, part of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
  • GOALS – Build list of supporters by 10%; Pass legislation outlawing shackling of pregnant women in CA prisons. AUDIENCES INCLUDED - Women 12-45, desperate people who forgot Mother’s Day and need to email their card (also CA lawmakers)The key was MOTIVATING people to ACTION. Motivators: frustration by lack of diversity in the mothers day card aisle, none appropriate, need a card to expressed how they feel, also just cool cards. Motivator 2: convenience, you forgot to buy a card or it’s easier to click and send rather than do it in the mail. You have to make sure your initial offerings meet people where they are right now.For many was 1st exposure with Strong Families. Have to get their attention, give them something they want, once door’s open keep engaging in new/other ways, social media and otherwise.RESULTS - Many thousands shared cards w/their “mamas” and special advocacy cards w/their Senators. 40 blog posts by unique authors. 30 media stories. 1,000 signatures generated for petitions (=new emails for future comms). 100% increase in Facebook supporters. Videos on YouTube. 20 artists. A whole campaign. These people have high potential to stay connected to Strong Families and keep getting more and more engaged.
  • Remember how we earlier looked at The Red Pump Project’s Twitter and Instagram channels? They’ve created an annual social media campaign hooked to an event bigger than themselves. Campaign commemorates Women & Girls AIDS Awareness Day and engages people using that timely hook. Ask people to take photos of yourself (selfies are a trend) wearing red pumps, share with hashtag.
  • Web-based prank that made consent go viral and sparked an internet revolution. FORCE pretended to be Victoria’s Secret promoting a new line of consent-themed, anti-rape panties. The action and internet aftermath got millions of people talking about consent, rape culture, and the sexual empowerment of women.  The photos were accompanied by this statement: “PINK loves CONSENT is more than a style. It's a revolution. PINK loves CONSENT is our newest collection of flirty, sexy and powerful statements that remind PINK panty-wearers and their partners to practice CONSENT.”Hooked to Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show event in 2012. Used event hook to engage audience already paying attention, especially teens. Many actually thought it was a line of underwear by Victoria Secret. Women/teens successfully reached out to other women/teens about how our culture's perception of female sexuality must change. Also used models with different bodies than are normally seen on runways. Result was a substantial conversation about sex and sexuality on Twitter (“#LoveConsent army”). 2013 the campaign is still going strong.FORCE focuses its campaigns on “upsetting rape culture,” often engaging college students to pull off it’s campaigns.Read about the campaign and people's reaction in this Huff Post Article. 
  • Things got quite heated in May 2013 for National Teen Pregnancy Month.Candie’s Foundation launched a social media, ad, and PSA campaign that stated: “Teenage years are the time to change the world, not diapers”This fed the ongoing debate about teen pregnancy in the U.S. Traditional position is that teen pregnancies are a public health issue similar to teen smoking, and the alternative position that it’s a race and class issue, an issue of values, and every young woman gets to choose her life path and be proud of it.Responses came in the form of a hashtag #NoTeenShame, a petition by Strong Families, photo challenges, and more, all in reaction to the campaign’s attempts to shame young parents.The conversation — and debate — continues today.
  • Video launched Sept 19, 2013. Screenshot from Sept 24. Nearing 1.2 MILLION views IN 5 DAYS. Uses satire and dark humor to address a serious topic. Lampoons rape culture and slams victim blaming.Stars KalkiKoechlin, a Bollywood actress, and VJ JuhiPandey, TV host. The video was made by a group of four standup comedians in wake of recent rape incidents in India.In the video, Koechlin and Pandey, in a satirical tone, blame women for dressing provocatively. It ends with real Indian women saying “It’s my fault.” “Ladies, do you think rape is something men do out of a desire for control empowered by years of patriarchy? You have clearly been misled by the notion that women are people, too, because let’s face it ladies — rape, it’s your fault,” Koechlin says in the video.Universally meaningful message even when packed with culture-specific references. Went viral beyond India. Covered by Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and others.Note: Don’t read YouTube comments. They will almost always cause you to despair for humanity.
  • Video using light humor. Hello Flo’s “Camp Gyno” commercial, over 6 MILLION views as of 9/24/13. Commercial for a “period subscription service” features a girl that’s unpopular until she gets her first period. Embracing her “red badge of courage” (real phrase from the video), she then embarks upon a mission to educate and help the other girls learn and deal with their menstruation. She utters lines like, "I got my period! The red badge of courage!" Manages to be adorably precocious AND controversial, depending on how you feel about a teen girl using the word “vadge”…and phrases like “It’s like Santa, for your vagina!”Commercial or not, it turned a source of potential embarrassment into a source of humor. Started many frank discussions about a topic that had previously been presented in allegories, metaphoric walks on the beach, and blue liquid stand ins. Conversations about the stigma of periods.
  • Using Social Media to Reach Women, Teens, and Girls

    1. 1. Using social media to reach women and girls around reproductive health Lauren Girardin, @girardinl, Director, Marketing and Communications, YTH, @YTHorg
    2. 2. @girardinl @YTHorg
    3. 3. Young people deserve real information, when they need it, how they need it. @girardinl @YTHorg
    4. 4. We: Pilot new technologies Discover what works Evangelize our learnings @girardinl @YTHorg
    5. 5. Giving voice to [underserved] youth @girardinl @YTHorg
    6. 6.  Social media is any tool that uses the internet to facilitate conversations. ” Brian Solis technology blogger @girardinl @YTHorg
    7. 7. It’s a woman’s (social media) world 74% of women use social media @girardinl @YTHorg
    8. 8. It’s a woman’s (social media) world @girardinl @YTHorg
    9. 9. Tips for engaging on social media Strategy 1 Set goals, and make them SMART. 2 Identify your audiences and learn more about them. 3 Tailor your messages to specific audiences. 4 Choose channels, focusing on where your audiences already are. 5 Motivate specific actions by your audiences, remove barriers. @girardinl @YTHorg
    10. 10. IN ACTION Planned Parenthood @PPact @girardinl @YTHorg
    11. 11. IN ACTION Planned Parenthood @PPFAQ @girardinl @YTHorg
    12. 12. IN ACTION Planned Parenthood @HeyPP @girardinl @YTHorg
    13. 13. Planned Parenthood IN ACTION plannedparenthood.tumblr .com @girardinl @YTHorg
    14. 14. Planned Parenthood IN ACTION @girardinl @YTHorg
    15. 15. @girardinl @YTHorg
    16. 16. Tips for engaging on social media Listen, Share, Engage @girardinl @YTHorg
    17. 17. Tips for engaging on social media Hooks + Editorial Calendar • Hooks are dates, events, holidays, a nniversaries, themes. • Editorial Calendar is a tool for planning and managing your content and channels. • @girardinl @YTHorg
    18. 18. IN ACTION Global Female Condom Day global hook #GFCD Twitter #GFCD Facebook @girardinl @YTHorg
    19. 19. Tips for engaging on social media Get Visual • Promote self-expression, encourage people to share images of their own. • Post photos, memes, GIFs, infographics, videos, more. • Say no to clip art and stale stock photography. @girardinl @YTHorg
    20. 20. Today is for Tomorrow IN ACTION todayis4tomorrow. @girardinl @YTHorg
    21. 21. Tips for engaging on social media Embrace Authenticity • Make connections and develop relationships. • Ditch jargon, use natural language of your audiences. • Show real people, share real stories. • Be yourself and allow others to be themselves. @girardinl @YTHorg
    22. 22. The Red Pump Project IN ACTION @RedPumpProj @girardinl @YTHorg
    23. 23. The Red Pump Project IN ACTION @girardinl @YTHorg
    24. 24. Tips for engaging on social media Go beyond “Girl Talk” • Obliterate stereotypes. • Provide platforms for expressing ideas and identities. • Increase access to information. • Cultivate new voices, experts, and leaders. @girardinl @YTHorg
    25. 25. This is Personal IN ACTION thisispersonalcampaign @girardinl @YTHorg
    26. 26. Tips for engaging on social media Guidelines • Protect privacy at all costs. • Maintain appropriate boundaries. • Set clear expectations on availability, response time. • Ask the Shopping Mall Question. • Remember, there’s no delete key on the internet. @girardinl @YTHorg
    27. 27.  Social media is not a cure-all for changing people’s behaviors... health communicators and educators need to focus on the next step— how to motivate people to act. Susan Morgan Professor of Health Communication Purdue University @girardinl ” @YTHorg
    28. 28. social is MOBILE + TEXTING @girardinl @YTHorg
    29. 29.  I do as much as I can to get [on teens’] phones, because that is what they live and die for. Dr. Natasha Burgert pediatrician in Kansas City, Missouri @DoctorNatasha @girardinl ” @YTHorg
    30. 30. Benefits of mobile and text 34% of older teen girls rely on their phones to access the internet (more than teen boys do and far more than adults do) @girardinl @YTHorg
    31. 31. Benefits of mobile and text • Safer and more private for talking about sensitive, personal issues. • Always-on access, reach people where they are. • Familiar, comfortable, and friendly medium. • Less awkward, don’t need to talk face to face. • Back and forth exchanges make it easier to have a conversation, go deep. @girardinl @YTHorg
    32. 32. Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center Teen Clinic IN ACTION text messaging get-answers/text-line/ @girardinl @YTHorg
    33. 33. Power of a platform providing ease of accessibility by reaching women where they are @girardinl @YTHorg
    34. 34. Power of a Spanish-language platform reaching Latinas where they are @girardinl @YTHorg
    35. 35. Unete Latina IN ACTION mHealth, text messaging + mobile website Text “Unete” to 61827 (standard rates may apply) @girardinl @YTHorg
    36. 36. social is STORYTELLING @girardinl @YTHorg
    37. 37. CAMI IN ACTION collecting stories cami‐ es/diaries.php @girardinl @YTHorg
    38. 38. social is GAMING @girardinl @YTHorg
    39. 39. 45% of gamers are women …and they have more sex than male gamers @girardinl @YTHorg
    40. 40.’s My Paper Boyfriend IN ACTION game @girardinl @YTHorg
    41. 41.’s Teen Pregnancy Quiz IN ACTION game @girardinl @YTHorg
    42. 42. social is CAMPAIGNS @girardinl @YTHorg
    43. 43. IN ACTION Strong Families’ Mama’s Day customizable e-cards strongfamiliesmovement. org/mamas-day-2013 @girardinl @YTHorg
    44. 44. The Red Pump Project IN ACTION #RocktheRedPump @girardinl @YTHorg
    45. 45. PINK Loves CONSENT IN ACTION prank campaign #LoveConsent #PinkLovesConsent @girardinl @YTHorg
    46. 46. The Candie’s Foundation IN ACTION #NoTeenPreg #NoTeenShame @girardinl @YTHorg
    47. 47. social is VIDEO @girardinl @YTHorg
    48. 48. It’s Your Fault IN ACTION #itsyourfault @girardinl @YTHorg
    49. 49. Hello Flo IN ACTION #CampGyno @girardinl @YTHorg
    50. 50. @YTHorg @girardinl Save the Date! YTH Live April 6-8, 2014, San Francisco, CA