exCHANGE Review: When It Comes to Social Media, Is Everyone a Potential Partner?

Nov 19

Every few decades, a new communications channel emerges and presents a novel way for us to reach and engage potential partners, and create meaningful change in the lives of our target audiences.

On November 16, Ogilvy Washington co-hosted a Social Marketing exCHANGE in conjunction with the Center for Social Impact Communication (CSIC) at Georgetown University, on the role of social media as a communications channel in the public health and social marketing environment. Our panelists included Marie Cocco, Director, National Communications, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids; Susannah Fox, Associate Director, Digital Strategy, Pew Research Center; Irfan Kamal, Social Media Evaluation Expert, Ogilvy Washington Digital Influence Group; Jessica Kutch, New Media Campaign Manager, Service Employees International Union (SEIU); and Joel Selzer, Co-founder and CEO of Ozmosis.

Each of these seasoned experts brought a unique perspective to our discussion, and provided our audience with some incredible insights into how to navigate social media platforms within the public health/social marketing space. One of these insights emerged during the first 15 minutes of our panel discussion:

“When it comes to social media, everyone a potential partner.”

Joel Selzer made this comment during our conversation about how social marketers can engage stakeholders to become “connected” to a campaign in today’s crowded social media environment. 

This insight really struck a chord with me, and with several members of our audience. If social media has truly opened up a new world of potential partners for social marketers and public health communicators, why aren’t a greater number of us leveraging these potential partnerships?

Perhaps it’s because the idea of being a “connected” partner has traditionally been about making a bigger, more human investment than simply re-tweeting health information to a network of followers. As social marketers, our definition of partnership has revolved in part around the concept of being “on the ground” in the implementation of interventions.

As we enter 2011, I think it may be time for us to expand this definition.

Maybe partnership in a public health-driven social media campaign could simply require what Susannah Fox referred to as “infecting” conversations online with credible public health data and messaging. Under this definition, the efforts of our digital partners are as efficacious as the efforts of our partners “on the ground.”  And the number and impact of these potential partners is only limited by our willingness to engage them.

If the November 16 Social Marketing exCHANGE taught me anything, it’s that we’ve just scratched the surface.  There is so much more to be explored, so many more questions to be asked.  So keep an eye out for future exCHANGE events at Ogilvy Washington. We will undoubtedly revisit this topic again in the near future.

Click here to download Ogilvy Washington’s newest white paper, “Using Social Media Platforms to Amplify Public Health Messages.”

This entry was posted on Friday, November 19th, 2010 at 4:06 pm and is filed under Behavior Change, Public Health, Social Marketing, Social Media. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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