Wednesday, August 3, 2011


Remember back in the day when a hand-delivered press release stood out and got attention? Back when  real-time news coverage came at 6 & 10pm CT or the next day or next week? Not anymore! TV and newspapers aren't the only place people get their news today. Today, Twitter is my primary news source.

Social media provides the perfect vehicle for building excitement and awareness.  Community health centers using Facebook and Twitter should not ignore those platforms in any campaign communications mix. Here are ten ways to use social media to promote National Health Center Week:

  1. Use an image of the National Health Center Week poster as your health center's profile picture on Facebook now through August 13. Ask health center staff, board members & supporters to do that too.  Do the same on Twitter.
  2. Don't limit coverage of NHCW activities to coverage of an actual event. Feature photos of preparations for on Facebook or Flickr. Show people in action, building bulletin boards, setting up displays or simply smiling and holding up a tee-shirt or giveaway that will be used during events.
  3. You could also video people getting ready for a big event, then upload it to YouTube. People love seeing video on Facebook. If people you photo or video don't object, tag them whenever you post content that features them. That makes the content appear on their Facebook page where their friends will see it too.
  4. Cross-promote. Tweet messages about your Facebook and YouTube postings and link to them.
  5. Thank and recognize dignitaries, sponsors & supporters on Twitter & Facebook. If you're out of ideas for content, quote facts about America's community health centers. Link to NACHC, your state primary care association website or your own where information supports each fact.
  6. Video messages of appreciation from staff, your board, or community leaders about the good work at your community health center. Save it to a DVD and play it in your lobby on your television. Upload it to YouTube. Link it to Facebook, Twitter or to an evite-invitation.
  7. Cover your own event as a news story and post it to Facebook soon after the event. Build a photo file. Shoot a short video and report on activity just as if you would see it in traditional news media.  
  8. Develop a hashtag for an activity and live-tweet it. You never know who might be watching, follow your hashtag and learn about your health center that way.
  9. If you sponsor a forum, consider livestreaming video on the internet. Using services like, you can broadcast your event live over the Internet. This helps expand your audience and interact with them, even if they are not present in person at your event.
  10. Create a blog and post video/photos along with narrative that may range from reflections on the mission of the work of one person, to the history about your health center, or patient stories (get their permission on a signed release!). The ideas are endless. Blogger and Posterous are two very simple platforms for blogging and again, it gives you another way to feature content, cross-promote it, and tell your story, your way.
Video is not hard to shoot, edit and share these days if you use a flipcam-type camera like I do. Digital photos can be taken by mobile phones, point-and-click cameras or with more professional equipment.

Your organization may chose one or many of the ideas I've submitted for consideration. It is not necessary to be active in all social media to get attention. If you chose one, I'd chose Facebook, where your patients & staff are probably most active.  This is also a good chance to become Friends with more people who could benefit from knowing what's happening at your community health center.

Here's an example of one FQHC promoting activity for NHCW on video.

Is your organization using social media to promote National Health Center Week?  Are you using it another way? If so, please share!

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