Just as a health care professional might follow a model or criteria to evaluate how successful a particular therapeutic intervention may have been, the Occupational Therapy interns and AHP volunteer wanted to see how valuable our social media “take-overs” have been throughout the summer so that we can tailor and improve the content offered to our readership.
Why social media?
The Let’s Talk about Dementia blog was set up following on from Scotland’s Dementia Awareness Week 2014 (2–8 June) which focused on the theme “lets talk about dementia”. Dementia is frightening. Talking about it helps us make sure that nobody faces dementia alone.
Since 2014, we have engaged with more forms of social media to reach more people, and to further enhance the visibility of the work of allied health professionals as we know the benefits of using social media include:
- Challenging stigma and changing social attitudes towards dementia
- It is an inexpensive platform to reach a diverse, growing audience
- Engaging with the readership to further inform our knowledge and the lived experiences
- Sharing useful resources, links and often “hidden” self care tips to live well with dementia
Enhancing our visibility
We have made it a priority throughout the internship to share our learning, largely through the use of social media. The Occupational Therapy interns and the AHP volunteer have been connecting with our followers all summer long through various social media platforms.
Now it’s time to take a look at how many people we have reached and what our impact was over the last 7 weeks with 4 different social media platforms.
- Instagram – @ahpdementia
If you would like an introduction to using Instagram or its purpose, please visit this blog post: https://letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com/2017/03/09/connecting-people-connecting-support-through-instagram/amp/
3. Blog – Letstalkaboutdementia.wordpress.com
4. Facebook – AHP Dementia
A trial account was set up to test whether or not it was more effective to use Facebook to reply to comments from the Let’s Talk about Dementia Blog. It was found that the Facebook account did not yield any additional traffic, nor were there any comments to respond to during our 7 week takeover.
Facebook is a widely used social media platform and the AHP dementia programme and future interns could look at exploring a more robust strategy for sharing content and engaging with the public, importantly those living with dementia and their families.
What might the results tell us?
Twitter was by far the most powerful social media platform to share our work through. This may represent a well established following on our own personal twitter accounts, or may reflect that this is the medium in which people interested in dementia most readily use. Future interns and health care professionals may want to engage with twitter to share their work or to share their expertise with a focus on self management to living well with dementia.
Many of the top tweets included photographs or embedded links, which may also speak to Twitter’s versatility in sharing information. Unsurprisingly, many of the accounts that shared and liked the tweets were people living with dementia, their families, and other health professionals/third sector organisations working in dementia care. Sharing practical tips, advice and resources were also popular tweets for this target audience.
The Instagram account saw a steady increase in readership over the summer. It may be that Instagram is becoming more popular with the target audience of the internship and that future years can build upon this success. It may also suggest that it is more effective to do a short, yet condensed social media take over with defined themes (1 daily theme posted each day for 4 weeks rather than 1 post a week for the whole summer like the blog). Overwhelmingly, the most popular posts were those promoting self care. Future interns can make this a more pronounced theme throughout their social media takeovers. These were also judged as the most professional looking images, further suggesting that the quality of the image may be of more importance when posting on this platform.
Readership for the blog throughout the summer has been similar to other years. The blog was a great learning experience for us as interns in experimenting with different ways to share our learning. We learnt that terminology is really important – we use it too much!! Understanding who your readers are and avoiding the use of jargon is essential. Continuing with the historic success of the blog, the blog gained more followers and had some very positive reader engagement throughout the summer.
What did you tell us?
We received some really wonderful feedback from our followers, a few of these comments are featured below. Please continue to let us know what you think about our work, get involved if you are interested, or share it amongst your colleagues, friends and families.
Thank you to all those who liked, commented, re-tweeted, or shared our work throughout the summer. The more awareness we can raise, the more we can change the image of dementia, making a positive impact in ensuring nobody faces dementia alone.
“Never in the history of mankind did not talking about something scary make it disappear”