Earlier this year, I was delighted to be invited to host a workshop at a Roche-sponsored event for patient associations called Share+. Share+ aimed to provide education to help patient groups make the most of online patient communication and support behaviours that improve health. The workshop focused on issues patient associations face when considering how best to integrate social presences into their broader communications strategies. Some of the participating organisations already have strong and well-established social presences, whilst others are in the process of planning to embark upon their journey to social.
The first half of the hour-long workshop began by asking what role social media can play in supporting an effective, contemporary communications strategy, before going on to offer some definitions of the why, who, where, what, how and when of social for patient associations. The second half of the session focused on a practical and interactive worksheet-driven exercise that assessed the options available to patient associations in order to help them make optimal choices that aligned with their organisational needs.
The workshop ran twice, with around ten patient associations being represented in each session. Each participant was invited to alight upon the three social platforms they felt offered the most to their organisations, to state why they made the choices they did, and to identify the benefits and challenges that they anticipated.
The results are pictured below. Overall, whilst it appears that Twitter and facebook are the ‘meat and potatoes’ of social for patient associations, there was a significant variation in the flavour that organisations felt that the third choice of platform could provide, with a number of different selections being made.
It was an intriguing outcome which delegates enjoyed considering and discussing after the event, suggesting that variety is the spice of life on the social web, too.
Group 1 results
Group 2 results