Using Social Media in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery


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Using Social Media in Substance Abuse Treatment & Recovery was presented at the New England School of Best Practices in Addiction Treatment on September 15, 2011 in Waterville, New Hampshire by Jennifer Barbour of Another Jennifer Writing Lab.

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Using Social Media in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery

  1. 1. Using Social Media in Substance Abuse Treatment & RecoveryNew England School of Best Practices in AddictionTreatment: September 15, 2011 presented by Jennifer Barbour
  2. 2. About me  Blogger, copywriter, new media consultant  Chief Engagement Officer (CEO) for Another Jennifer Writing Lab  Former communications specialist for Crossroads for Women in Portland, ME   Author of Women & Substance Abuse blog ( and monthly e-Newsletter  7 years working in behavioral health doing public communications
  3. 3. What we’ll cover  Social Media Policies  Social Networking Strategies & Best Practices for   Facebook   Blogging   Email Marketing   Twitter   LinkedIn   + a few other examples  Content Ideas  Time Management Tips & Tricks
  4. 4. The Social Media Revolution
  5. 5. A few definitions  Social Networking The use of dedicated websites and applications to communicate informally with other users, or to find people with similar interests to oneself.  Social Media Websites and applications used for social networking.  Social Marketing The systematic application of marketing, along with other concepts and techniques, to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good.
  6. 6. Who’s using social media? 50% of all adults use social networking sites 61% of adult internets users under 30 use social networking sites on a typical day Biggest growing segment = Baby Boomers (ages 50-64)  32% use social media on a typical day, up 60% since last yearSource:
  7. 7. Uses for social networking Connect Share information Publish original content Ask questions, find answers Research Find support What else?
  8. 8. Millions use social media worldwide.“The Big Three”•  More than 750 million users•  More than 100 million active users•  More than 120 million membersSources:; 2011/09/08/twitter-has-100-million-active-users/; (retrieved 9/9/11)
  9. 9. Plus…•  More than 10 million users in first three weeks•  2nd most popular search engine•  More than half of social media referral traffic•  Powers 14.7% of top million websites in worldSources:; predictions/;; (retrieved 9/10/11)
  10. 10. And don’t forget…
  11. 11. Why use social media?  Mostly free (except for time)  Easy way to get out information fast, in real time, and reach a big audience  Levels the playing field  Gives everyone a voice  Allows people to connect all over the world at any time  Establishes expertise  Platform to educate, advocate, inform  Why else?
  12. 12. Writing a Social Media Strategy1.  Who is your audience?2.  What actions do you want your audience to take?3.  What does your audience need to believe in order to take those actions?4.  Which social media channel (or channels) will you utilize? (e.g., blog, Facebook)5.  What will you talk about?6.  What is your social media policy?
  13. 13. What’s your social media policy? When you post something on a social media site, imagine that post on a billboard for everyone to see. With your name on it.
  14. 14. What your policy should consider  Who is allowed to post for your organization? Where?  What will the posts say?  Do social media postings need to be approved?  How will your posts comply with your confidentiality policies?  How will you handle negative comments?  Are employees allowed to post or comment during work hours? (Can they access the social networking sites?)
  15. 15. More policy considerations  What is appropriate to share; not to share on a social networking site?  What is your procedure for sharing client stories, photos or videos?  How will you educate staff, volunteers, board, supporters, etc. on utilizing your social media sites?  What happens if staff, volunteers, board, etc. don’t comply with the social media policy?  Who is the go to person if/when questions arise?
  16. 16. Be clear and set boundaries
  17. 17. Why Facebook?  Most widely used social network in the world  Reach all ages  Connect and share with people in recovery, alumni, donors, community partners, supporters and more  Publishing platform  Spread the word about what you do  Why else?
  18. 18. Getting Started: Facebook Pages  Create a page, not a personal profile ( pages/create.php)  Fill in all information: about, info, mission, etc.  Upload a profile picture and 5 more for the top of the page  With 25 fans, create a unique url ( username)  “Like” other pages  Add a few status updates before telling everyone
  19. 19. Gain “Likes” in Facebook  Tell your “friends” via your personal account; ask others to tell their “friends” about your page  Tag other like-minded pages in your status updates so the posts will also appear on that page’s wall (type the @ symbol to bring up pages you like)  Comment on Facebook as your business  Tell people online and offline about your page: website, email signatures, events, waiting room, marketing materials, newsletters, other social networking sites, etc.  Follow best practices  Use Facebook Ads
  20. 20. Facebook Content Ideas  Your (or your organization’s) thoughts, ideas and observations  Links to your blog posts and e-newsletters  Inspirational quotes  Video and photos  Info about upcoming groups, events, workshops, etc.  Ask questions (How do you celebrate recovery?)  Information from partners or other helpful resources  Relevant news articles or blog posts  What else?
  21. 21. Facebook Best Practices  Have a strategy (tweak as needed)  Share regularly, but not too much – don’t hog the news feed! (best times: noon or on Saturday)  Aim for at least 3 posts per week to keep things active and engaged  Don’t limit people’s ability to share on your page  Monitor, monitor, monitor!  Reply to comments, keep the conversation going  Be authentic!*Source:
  22. 22. Why Blog?  Establish expertise  Your platform to educate, inform, advocate, etc.  Build brand awareness  Drive traffic to your website (SEO)  Why else?
  23. 23. Blogging Platforms (free) or (need hosting, better options) (Blogspot) (somewhere between Twitter and a full- fledged blog)  Many websites are built with blogs
  24. 24. Blog Content Ideas  Your specific expertise  Stories of treatment success, recovery  Education for family and friends affected by addiction  News/Research from addiction and recovery fields  Public policy issues (be informative)  Current events  Guest post or cross-post  What else?
  25. 25. Writing a blog post  Most important info goes in first paragraph  Use bold or italics to emphasize information  Bullets and lists make content manageable  Consider keywords in titles and in post  Invite your readers to comment
  26. 26.
  27. 27. Blogging: It pays to be timely
  28. 28. Blogging Best Practices  Have a strategy (tweak as needed)  Find your voice  Use tags, categories, social media sharing options  Keep posts simple and short, add an image  Aim for at least 1-2 posts per week (more in the beginning)  Monitor and reply to comments  Share/Publish posts on other social networks  Be authentic!
  29. 29. Why Email Marketing?  92% of adults have an email address*  Keep in front of audience on a regular basis  Message targeting  Build and track your supporters  Opt-in options to ensure quality contacts  Easy to share  Integrates well with social media  Save printing and mailing costs, trees*
  30. 30. Email Marketing Platforms  Constant Contact  Emma  GetResponse  MailChimp  GraphicMail  Vertical Response  Benchmark Email  iContact
  31. 31. Uses for Email Marketing  Newsletters  Event invites  Donation or volunteer appeals  Action alerts  Group, workshop, meeting info  What else? archive/1107295506687.html
  32. 32. Email Marketing Best Practices  Only send emails to those that have requested them  Send the content your subscribers expect  Have a regular email schedule (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.)  Send during the week, avoid Fridays  Include option to unsubscribe  Have an html and text version  From address should be recognizable  Avoid multiple exclamation points and all caps  Build your list online and offline
  33. 33. Why Twitter?  Microblogging service (140 characters or less)  Real-time information network  Publishing platform  Social search engine  Be where people are sharing what’s on their mind on every topic imaginable
  34. 34. The Language of Twitter  Handle: Your Twitter username is referred to as your handle, and is identified with the @ symbol (ex. @anotherjenb)  Tweet: What posts are called on Twitter  Follow: The act of connecting with someone on Twitter  RT/Retweet: When someone posts something like, you can RT it and share it with your followers  DM/Direct Message: A private note between two users on Twitter  Hashtag: Words preceded by a # sign; can be used to tie various tweets together and relate them to a topic
  35. 35. The Language of Twitter (cont’d)  Lists: A way to combine select people you follow on Twitter into a smaller feed  Search: Use Twitters search feature to look for tweets containing a keyword, phrase or hashtag  Timeline: The chronological listing of all tweets in a given feed, be it your own, in a list, or another user’s  Tweetup: A term for in person events (i.e., meetups) that spring from Twitter connectionsMore lingo description:
  36. 36. Twitter Best Practices  Have a strategy (tweak as needed)  Display a complete bio and profile pic  Share as much as you want (1-4 tweets/hr ideal, best times: 5pm, midweek and on the weekends)*  Interact – ask questions, answer questions, mention people, comment on tweets  Follow and be followed  Reply to RTs, FFs, mentions, etc.  Be authentic!*Source:
  37. 37. Twitter Best Practices  Have a strategy (tweak as needed)  Display a complete bio and profile pic  Share as much as you want (1-4 tweets/hr ideal, best times: 5pm, midweek and on the weekends)*  Interact – ask questions, answer questions, mention people, comment on tweets  Follow and be followed  Reply to RTs, FFs, mentions, etc.  Be authentic!*Source:
  38. 38. Why LinkedIn?  #1 Social network for business  Grow professional relationships  Participate in professional discussions  Recruit staff and volunteers  Publishing platform  What else?
  39. 39. LinkedIn Best Practices  Have a strategy (tweak as needed)   Individual, organization or both?  Have a complete profile and picture  Add connections (under Contacts tab)  Interact   Join relevant groups; create a group   Comment on group discussions or start a group discussion   Ask and/or answer questions (   Share blog posts or interesting articles   Make recommendations
  40. 40. More Social Networking Sites Google +: cross between Facebook and Twitter YouTube: video sharing Flickr: photo sharing StumbleUpon: social bookmarking
  41. 41. Other Strategies  Recovery-specific / wellness social networking sites   Sober24 (   The Second Road (   Wellsphere (  Mobile Marketing   Smart phone apps   Text message marketing
  42. 42. Hazelden’s Social Communities
  43. 43. You are not alone campaign
  44. 44. You are not alone campaign: ThePartnership at
  45. 45. Time Management Tips  Dedicate a specific amount of time each week to social networking  Develop an editorial calendar (or have regular meetings)  Set up Google Alerts to keep track of topics ( alerts)  Use automatic publishing tools like NetworkedBlogs  Use a social media dashboard like TweetDeck or Hootsuite  Sign up for NutshellMail (  Post and monitor using a smart phone  Know when to ask for (or hire) help
  46. 46. Listening Tools Wiki
  47. 47. More Resources  Social Media Quickstarter:  Facebook for Business:  Mashable – The Social Media Guide:  Social Media Examiner:  Join Together: Alcoholism:  Beth’s Blog:  Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog: blog  Katya’s Non-profit Marketing Blog:
  48. 48. Final Tips Know your audience (and where they are) Have a strategy Engage Monitor Don’t be afraid to experiment!
  49. 49. Stay Connected  Jennifer Barbour email: phone: 207.653.4542 website: (links to blog + writing lab pages) facebook: twitter: @anotherjenb stumbleupon: google+: