Using Knowledge Translation to Craft "Sticky" Social Media Health Messages That Provoke Interest, Raise Awareness, Impart Knowledge, and Inspire Change

Sanchia Shibasaki, Karen Gardner, Beverly Sibthorpe
JMIR MHealth and UHealth 2016 October 5, 4 (4): e115

BACKGROUND: In Australia, there is growing use of technology supported knowledge translation (KT) strategies such as social media and mobile apps in health promotion and in Indigenous health. However, little is known about how individuals use technologies and the evidence base for the impact of these health interventions on health behavior change is meager.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of our study was to examine how Facebook is used to promote health messages to Indigenous people and discuss how KT can support planning and implementing health messages to ensure chosen strategies are fit for the purpose and achieve impact.

METHODS: A desktop audit of health promotion campaigns on smoking prevention and cessation for Australian Indigenous people using Facebook was conducted.

RESULTS: Our audit identified 13 out of 21 eligible campaigns that used Facebook. Facebook pages with the highest number of likes (more than 5000) were linked to a website and to other social media applications and demonstrated stickiness characteristics by posting frequently (triggers and unexpected), recruiting sporting or public personalities to promote campaigns (social currency and public), recruiting Indigenous people from the local region (stories and emotion), and sharing stories and experiences based on real-life events (credible and practical value).

CONCLUSIONS: KT planning may support campaigns to identify and select KT strategies that are best suited and well-aligned to the campaign's goals, messages, and target audiences. KT planning can also help mitigate unforeseen and expected risks, reduce unwarranted costs and expenses, achieve goals, and limit the peer pressure of using strategies that may not be fit for purpose. One of the main challenges in using KT systems and processes involves coming to an adequate conceptualization of the KT process itself.


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