Chapter 2


Image: Lightbulb.

1. Understand who your audience is and how they want to receive information

2. Position yourself on the most appropriate channels for your audience

3. Clearly set out from the start what you want to achieve and know your goals



Image: Planning.
What should be the key elements of your social media strategy?

It’s important to have clear goals and a plan for how you want to use social media, otherwise you can get distracted and your efforts won’t have the effect you want.

A strategy allows you to track your progress, aim for impact, and ensure you’re aware of the opportunities and risks involved.

Your strategy doesn’t need to be long, it just needs to clearly state your objectives and how you’ll achieve specific outcomes.

Try this template to develop your one-page strategy.


Image: Objectives.What are your objectives?
  • Are you trying to raise awareness of a project?
  • Do you want feedback on a policy or services you offer?
  • Are you trying to build relationships with stakeholders?
  • Are you hoping to better understand your audience’s behaviour and needs?
  • Are you simply trying to pump out press releases?

Think about how you can make a real impact. Here are two great resources that will help you set realistic objectives.

1. CIPR Social Media Best Practice Guide: In this document, the CIPR has set out its guide to social media and best practice. While not tailored to healthcare, like this guide, there are some key themes that will be of interest.

2. How to create a social media strategy: CoSchedule have some great downloadable kits to start you off on creating your social media strategy – and it’s free!


Now you know what you want to achieve, establish who the people are that will help you reach those goals.

Your audience can never be ‘everyone’.

If you try to appeal to too broad an audience it will be difficult to find your engaged community. You should try to be interesting and relevant to your specific audience to keep them engaged.

As time is money, you want to make the most of yours - otherwise you will risk spreading yourself or the team too thinly and you won’t see any significant results.

Sometimes it’s easier to decide who is low priority to know how to focus effort. The power/interest matrix can be useful for identifying which audience is most important to you. Try this practical guide to using the power interest matrix.

Image: Audience.

Image: Dawn Bratcher.

“As an organisation we understand the power of social media in building connections with people inside and outside of the healthcare sector. Social media is where more and more people are looking for information; we ensure we make every effort to be present in the conversations happening online.

The Our Health Heroes campaign we launched in February has gone from strength to strength thanks to social media. Using our existing channels, we communicated our message effectively to our key audiences and now, thanks to that success, we have created the Our Health Heroes awards.”

Dawn Bratcher, Senior Marketing Manager, Skills for Health

Where is my audience? Which platform would be most effective for reaching my objectives?

Next - consider what value you can give to your audience, and which social media platform is the best portal to communicate to them.

If you’re not already using any social media platforms, here are a couple of ways to work out which ones might be best for you:

  1. Search on those platforms and see if people, patients or organisations are already talking about your organisation and your work.
    For example, if conversations are happening already on Twitter, this may be an indication for you to join and get involved.
  2. Ask your potential audience through other means – face to face, newsletters or surveys.
    Are they using social media, would they like to see you or your organisation use it? What would they like to see you use it for?

These tools and guides will help you work out where your audiences are:


Most social media channels are used for different purposes. They have different cultures and etiquettes but have certain things in common:

  1. Two-way: designed to let people comment on your activity.
  2. Mobile: designed to be used by people on the move. Therefore concise, visual and easy to process posts work best.
  3. Open for anyone to join: so not necessarily an exclusive or privileged audience. We are all publishers on social media.
  4. Most are free to use but offer organisations and brands the opportunity to pay to reach particular audiences.

Here’s our easy guide on understanding what the differences are in the various channels.

Image: Differences in Social.

Discover more about individual social media channels and how they work by visiting Chapter 6: Social media basics.


Nurses’ Day

In short: Nurses’ Day takes place around the world on 12 May each year to celebrate nursing staff for the work they do. Patients, friends, family and colleagues are encouraged to thank nursing staff for the care and support they, or a loved one, have received using #thankanurse. In 2016, the Royal College of Nursing also used #whyInurse for staff to share the reasons they do their jobs and what they enjoy most, as well as creating a twibbon and web page for thank you messages.