Social media use by community-based organizations conducting health promotion: a content analysis
Community-based organizations (CBOs) are critical channels for the delivery of health promotion programs. Much of their influence comes from the relationships they have with community members and other key stakeholders and they may be able to harness the power of social media tools to develop and maintain these relationships. There are limited data describing if and how CBOs are using social media. This study assesses the extent to which CBOs engaged in health promotion use popular social media channels, the types of content typically shared, and the extent to which the interactive aspects of social media tools are utilized.
We assessed the social media presence and patterns of usage of CBOs engaged in health promotion in Boston, Lawrence, and Worcester, Massachusetts. We coded content on three popular channels: Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. We used content analysis techniques to quantitatively summarize posts, tweets, and videos on these channels, respectively. For each organization, we coded all content put forth by the CBO on the three channels in a 30-day window. Two coders were trained and conducted the coding. Data were collected between November 2011 and January 2012.
A total of 166 organizations were included in our census. We found that 42% of organizations used at least one of the channels of interest. Across the three channels, organization promotion was the most common theme for content (66% of posts, 63% of tweets, and 93% of videos included this content). Most organizations updated Facebook and Twitter content at rates close to recommended frequencies. We found limited interaction/engagement with audience members.
Much of the use of social media tools appeared to be uni-directional, a flow of information from the organization to the audience. By better leveraging opportunities for interaction and user engagement, these organizations can reap greater benefits from the non-trivial investment required to use social media well. Future research should assess links between use patterns and organizational characteristics, staff perspectives, and audience engagement.
- Maibach EW, Van Duyn MAS, Bloodgood B: A marketing perspective on disseminating evidence-based approaches to disease prevention and health promotion. Prev Chronic Dis 2006.,3(3):
- Kerner J, Gruiguis-Blake J, Hennessy KD, Brounstein PJ, Vinson C, Schwartz RH, Myers BA, Briss P: Translating research into improved outcomes in comprehensive cancer control. Cancer Causes Control 2005,16(Suppl 1):27–40. CrossRef
- Wilson MG, Lavis JN, Travers R, Rourke SB: Community-based knowledge transfer and exchange: helping community-based organizations link research to action. Implement Sci 2010.,5(33):
- Lin N: Social capital: a theory of social structure and action. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2001. CrossRef
- Viswanath K, Nagler RH, Bigman-Galimore CA, McCauley MP, Jung M, Ramanadhan S: The communications revolution and health inequalities in the 21st century: implications for cancer control. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2012,21(10):1701–1708. CrossRef
- Schein R, Wilson K, Keelan J: Literature review on effectiveness of the use of social media. Brampton, Ontario Canada: Region of Peel, Peel Public Health; 2010.
- Turnbull AP, Summers JA, Gotto G, Stowe M, Beauchamp D, Klein S, Kyzar K, Turnbull R, Zuna N: Fostering wisdom-based action through Web 2.0 Communities of practice: an example of the early childhood family support community of practice. Infants & Young Children 2009,22(1):54–62. CrossRef
- eMarketer: Consumers spending more time with mobile as growth slows for time online. New York, NY: eMarketer; 2012.
- Bannon D: State of the media: The social media report - 2012. New York, NY: Nielsen; 2012.
- Brenner J: Pew internet: Social networking (full detail). Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project: Pew Research Center; 2013.
- Briones RL, Kuch B, Liu BF, Jin Y: Keeping up with the digital age: how the American red cross uses social media to build relationships. Public Relat Rev 2011,37(1):37–43. CrossRef
- Mangold WG, Faulds DJ: Social media: the new hybrid element of the promotion mix. Bus Horiz 2009, 52:357–365. CrossRef
- Kaplan AM, Haenlein M: Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Bus Horiz 2010, 53:38–59.
- Curtis L, Edwards C, Fraser KL, Gudelsky S, Holmquist J, Thornton K, Sweetser KD: Adoption of social media for public relations by nonprofit organizations. Public Relat Rev 2010,36(1):90–92. CrossRef
- Thackeray R, Neiger BL, Smith AK, Van Wagenen SB: Adoption and use of social media among public health departments. BMC public health 2012, 12:242. CrossRef
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The health communicator’s social media toolkit. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2011.
- Hesse BW: Enhancing consumer involvement in healthcare. In Health communication in the new media landscape. Edited by: Parker J, Thornson E. New York, NY: Springer Publishing; 2009:119–141.
- Zickuhr K, Smith A: Digital differences. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project: Pew Research Center; 2013.
- Viswanath K, Ackerson LK: Race, ethnicity, language, social class, and health communication inequalities: a nationally-representative cross-sectional study. PLoS One 2011,6(1):e14550. CrossRef
- Viswanath K: Public communication and its role in reducing and eliminating health disparities. In Examining the health disparities research plan of the National Institutes of Health: Unfinished business. Edited by: Thomson GE, Mitchell F, WIlliams MB. Washington, DC: Institute of Medicine; 2006:215–253.
- Viswanath K, Ramanadhan S, Kontos EZ: Mass Media. In Macrosocial determinants of population health. Edited by: Galea S. New York: Springer; 2007:275–294. CrossRef
- Zickuhr K, Smith A: Home Broadband 2013. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project: Pew Research Center; 2013.
- Smith A: Pew Internet: Smartphone Ownership 2013. Washington, DC: Pew Internet & American Life Project: Pew Research Center; 2013.
- Viswanath K, McCloud R, Minsky SJ, Puleo E, Kontos EZ, Bigman-Galimore CA, Rudd R, Emmons K: Internet Use, browsing and the urban poor: implications for cancer control. J Natl Cancer Inst in press
- Lovejoy K, Saxton GD: Information, community, and action: how nonprofit organizations use social media*. J Comput-Mediat Commun 2012,17(3):337–353. CrossRef
- Waters RD: The use of social media by nonprofit organizations: an examination from the Diffusion of Innovations perspective. In Handbook of research on social interaction technologies and collaboration software: Concepts and trends. Edited by: Dumova T, Fiorda R. Hershey, PA: IGI Publishing; 2009:1420–1432.
- Waters RD, Burnett E, Lamm A, Lucas J: Engaging stakeholders through social networking: how nonprofit organizations are using facebook. Public Relat Rev 2009,35(2):102–106. CrossRef
- Ramanadhan S, Viswanath K: Priority-setting for evidence-based health outreach in community-based organizations: a mixed-methods study in three Massachusetts communities. Translational Behavioral Medicine: Practice, Policy and Research 2013. Epub January 11
- Kellogg Health Scholars: About Us - Community Health Track. [http://www.kellogghealthscholars.org/about/community.cfm Accessed 4.12.10].
- Israel BA, Schulz AJ, Parker EA, Becker AB: Review of community-based research: assessing partnership approaches to improve public health. Annu Rev Public Health 1998, 19:173–201. CrossRef
- World Health Organization: The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. Ottawa, Canada: World Health Organization; 1986.
- McLeroy KR, Bibeau D, Steckler AB, Glanz K: An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Educ Q 1988,15(4):351–377. CrossRef
- 2007–2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. [http://factfinder2.census.gov/]
- Hampton KN, Goulet LS, Rainie L, Purcell K: Social networking sites and our lives. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project; 2011.
- Smith A, Brenner J: Twitter Use 2012. Washington, DC: Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project; 2012.
- Gold J, Pedrana AE, Sacks-Davis R, Hellard ME, Chang S, Howard S, Keogh L, Hocking JS, Stoove MA: A systematic examination of the use of online social networking sites for sexual health promotion. BMC public health 2011, 11:583. CrossRef
- Best Practices for Page Admins. [http://www.facebook.com/help?page=133956243386200]
- Samplin-Salgado M, Sperber J, Costello E, International. JS: HIV Prevention Goes Social: Using Social Media to Connect, Create, and Come Together. Washington, DC: National Minority AIDS Council; 2011.
- Twitter Inc: Twitter for small business: A guide to get started. San Francisco, CA: Twitter, Inc; 2012. [vol. 2012]
- Zhang M, Jansen BJ, Chowdhury A: Business engagement on twitter: a path analysis. Electron Mark 2011,21(3):161–175. CrossRef
- YouTube for Businesses. [http://support.google.com/youtube/bin/static.py?hl=en&guide=2403720&page=guide.cs]
- Neuendorf KA: The content analysis guidebook. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2002.
- Krippendorff K: Content analysis: An introduction to its methodology. Thousand Oaks: Sage; 2004.
- Bortree DS, Seltzer T: Dialogic strategies and outcomes: an analysis of environmental advocacy groups’ facebook profiles. Public Relat Rev 2009,35(3):317–319. CrossRef
- Kietzmann JH, Hermkens K, McCarthy IP, Silvestre BS: Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Bus Horiz 2011,54(3):241–251. CrossRef
- Hesse BW, O’Connell M, Augustson EM, Chou WY, Shaikh AR, Rutten LJ: Realizing the promise of Web 2.0: engaging community intelligence. J Health Commun 2011,16(Suppl 1):10–31. CrossRef
- Kanter B, Fine A: The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2010.
- Kaplan AM, Haenlein M: Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of social media. Bus Horiz 2010,53(1):59–68. CrossRef
- Kontos EZ, Emmons KM, Puleo E, Viswanath K: Communication inequalities and public health implications of adult social networking site Use in the United States. J Health Commun 2010, 15:216–235. CrossRef
- Nah S, Saxton G: Modeling the adoption and use of social media by nonprofit organizations. New Media and Society 2013,15(2):294–313. CrossRef
- The pre-publication history for this paper can be accessed here:http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/13/1129/prepub
- Social media use by community-based organizations conducting health promotion: a content analysis
- Open Access
- Available under Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
BMC Public Health
- Online Date
- December 2013
- Online ISSN
- BioMed Central
- Additional Links
- Community-based organizations
- Social media
- Health promotion
- Content analysis
- Industry Sectors
- Author Affiliations
- 1. Center for Community-Based Research, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, 450 Brookline Ave, LW 703, Boston, MA, 02215, USA
- 2. University of Michigan School of Public Health, 1415 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor, MI, 48109-2029, USA
- 3. Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health, 677 Huntington Ave, Boston, MA, 02115, USA