Editor’s note: Today we continue our series of guest posts on social media strategies to amplify the key messages for HIV/AIDS observance days.Our experience has taught us that effective social marketing targeting includes a clear understanding of four key components. These four components cover: (1) the behavior you are trying to solicit; (2) barriers to behavior change for the population you want to engage; (3) how the population may change that desired behavior; and (4) the medium you will use to deliver your message.
Social media is often an appealing medium but we must ensure that we are using this tool to effectively reach Latinos and increase HIV/AIDS awareness. For example, when embarking on the use of social media for National Latino AIDS Awareness Day 2014 (NLAAD), we needed to first understand which particular segments of the Latino population were using social media platforms and how they were using them.
The features of each platform also informed how we crafted particular messages. For example, Twitter has a 140-character limit (or 120, once you allocate 20 characters for re-tweeting), and Instagram has a 15-second limit on videos.
When we created our @NLAAD Twitter account several years back, we found that the majority of our 2,147 followers were public health organizations and partners. So we began using Twitter to mobilize partners for NLAAD, rather than using it to generate information for community members. We decided to use our Facebook page to reach general Hispanic/Latino communities nationally.
During the implementation of NLAAD 2014, we developed a plan to use a series of advertising on Facebook that would drive community members to the NLAAD website and solicit “likes” on the NLAAD Facebook page. To achieve that goal, we created distinct messages for six segments of the Latino community in the United States and Puerto Rico:
- Spanish-dominant Hispanic women over age 35
- English-dominant Hispanic women over age 35
- Spanish-dominant Hispanic men over age 35
- English-dominant Hispanic men over age 35
- Spanish-dominant Hispanics between the ages of 13 and 35
- English-dominant Hispanics between the ages of 13 and 35
Segmenting the Hispanic population helped with the crafting of text and images that resonate with a particular segment. Facebook allowed for characteristics to be defined, so that only individuals who met the description of each segment would view the corresponding ad/message.
The images and messages also were consistent with the NLAAD theme (To End AIDS, Commit to Act) and messaging used on the NLAAD 2014 campaign poster. This maintained consistency across media platforms and heightened general awareness of the campaign. The Facebook ads ran for one week leading up to NLAAD, which is observed annually on October 15th.
During the week the Facebook ads ran, we achieved 1,102,017 impressions, 11,005 clicks through our Facebook content, and 430 new, unique page “likes.” When we first reviewed data from our Facebook Insights we learned that our ads appearing in individuals’ Facebook feeds on their mobile devices garnered more engagement across all population segments. As we continue to analyze data collected from the NLAAD Facebook ads and better understand how Hispanics respond to particular HIV awareness posts, we expect to continuously refine and adapt our messaging to increase efficacy. If there is one thing we should know about social media, it is that it is as dynamic as the populations we are trying to reach.