Social media strategy tips offered in new CDC tool kit

The online service is geared toward helping health care organizations, including physician practices and hospitals, with public health matters.

By — Posted Nov. 19, 2010

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Building on its experience as one of the first government agencies to embrace social media, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched a service on how to use popular social media channels for public health education.

The agency said it has learned several lessons in the past four years as it developed its social media strategy. Its social media team developed a tool kit that shares some of those lessons and gives advice on developing a social media presence.

The tool kit was designed for the CDC's partners, including state and local health departments and nonprofit organizations, said Carol Crawford, acting branch chief of electronic media at the Office of the Associate Director of Communication's Division of News and Electronic Media at the CDC. She said the CDC has received requests for help and advice from these organizations, so it made sense for the staff to share their knowledge.

But the tool kit also can benefit any health care organization, such as hospitals and physician practices, she said.

GovLoop, an online community for government employees, reported in September that 32 state health agencies have Twitter accounts and 22 have Facebook pages.

Steve Ressler, who founded GovLoop, said the tool kit is a great way for other agencies to get involved with social media. "The tool kit demystifies the process and makes it concrete and actionable," he said.

The free, 61-page tool kit includes a chart that breaks down the types of social media and the level of staff time and cost each involves. The 15 social media tools on the chart include e-cards, online videos, virtual worlds and buttons and badges that can be posted on websites. One section describes how organizations can best use each tool.

The tool kit can be downloaded on the CDC's social media website (link).

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