By Siobahn Kinney, Program Coordinator for Social Media at the Community Health Center Association of Connecticut
Social media has proven to be a great tool to brag about health centers, to remind communities and policymakers that health centers do amazing work every day, and to showcase the services they provide to so many underserved people in our state. This mission informs all of our social media efforts—and just about everything else that we do as their association!
Part of my job, as CHCACT’s Program Coordinator for Social Media, is to help the health centers create, maintain, monitor and update their Facebook pages: many of them simply don’t have time to dedicate to social media! Part of this task includes finding out what the health centers are up to so that I have content to post to their social media accounts. I’ve made sure to have a contact person at each health center; that way, I can check in with them and ask them to send me pictures, updates and news. Periodically checking in, updating and monitoring the health centers’ pages have been effective means of keeping their pages current and well-maintained.
We’re a small state, so it’s not too difficult to drive an hour, two at most, to attend health center events like health fairs, open houses and legislative breakfasts. While there, I take photos, record video footage and live-tweet on the health center’s behalf. This frees up health center staff to do what they need in order to make the event a success (and continue to take care of patients!); meanwhile I provide support by being the photographer, videographer, film producer and social media curator all in one! This helps save the health centers time and money.
I share my knowledge with my contact person at each center to give them a better idea of what social media tools are for and how they can best be used. I’ve provided webinar and in-person trainings to give overviews of Facebook, Twitter and blogs to health center staff and leadership. I’m also available to the health center staff for a call or email whenever they have questions, whether it’s how to use link shortening services, how to create an album on Facebook or what blog service is best for their needs. A few health centers have even begun branching out to Twitter, YouTube and blogs. All of my activities have been successful in ensuring that all of the health centers are able to keep their social media content current, informative and interesting.
Not all of Connecticut’s health centers use social media to the same degree; some are still hesitant while others manage it entirely on their own. Nevertheless, I am always a resource to them for all social media-related topics, questions and concerns. Most importantly, everything we do, from our tweets to our blog posts to our YouTube videos, showcases the health centers as essential to their communities.