Monday, 16 May 2011

Social Media doing "Good"?

Though they've been around for a good few years now, we're still only just starting to realise the potential of Social Media.

Big Business has already embraced the medium, and is setting an example in how it can have a phenomenal impact on marketing, which small business is slowly starting to follow. In the realms of Social Marketing, more and more campaigns can be found on facebook and twitter, reaching thousands, if not, millions of people (if done right!).

There is a potential that goes beyond just spreading a message though and can actually make a direct contribution to people's well being.

The BBC reports that Twitter is playing a vital role in helping the survivors of the recent earthquake in Japan. Whereas phone lines and traditional channels of communication have been disrupted by the tragedy, the internet has remained relatively robust. With emergency supply chains coming into effect for delivery of medical treatment, Twitter has provided a channel by which people can get up to the minute information on where they can find help. Without twitter, accessing the aid would be far more difficult, if not, impossible for those desperately in need of it.

It's a far cry from the comments of those facebook and twitter detractors, who claim they're good for nothing but trivial and banal descriptions of the mundanity of life, typically about what's been had for dinner. Twitter's use in Japan is unarguably an example of Social Media being put to genuinely good use and truly helping people.

We've written before on the possibilities of the platform in doing more for Public Health than just being a medium by which to spread Social Marketing messages, with potential in delivering CBT and remote monitoring/telehealth. It's still the early stages, so Social Media's capacity for going beyond Social Marketing has barely been tapped, but it's increasing ubiquity means that the subject is very much on the agenda for those in power.

The Government's digital champion and founder of, Martha Lane Fox, spoke on the subject in the Times this weekend (unfortunately, I can't link to the full article, as it's subscription-based content on the newspaper's website);

"I'm not for one minute advocating that you can take away the benefit of face-to-face care, but if I'm living alone - and we know that there are 3.5 million people who don't see anyone in a week and there are 1.7 million who don't see anyone in a month. No one - it's got to be better to be able to have that point of connection in using the internet, than not."

With the current uncertainty in the NHS, Social Marketing activities have slowed somewhat, especially at local and regional levels. But with the Governments enthusiasm for 'Nudge Theory', it's certain to have a resurgence in the near future, with Social Media playing a big part.

For this, marketing and communications teams, such as ours, will provide the support and expertise needed in utilising Social Media, as well as other channels, to spread the word and attain engagement. More and more though, we will find ourselves not only doing this, in the traditional marketing mould, but also directly taking part in providing help and affecting outcomes, by supplying the means by which health care is delivered.

1 comment:

  1. Social media marketing refers to the process of gaining website traffic or attention through social media buy likers.