Background: The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is active in numerous social media environments (including Twitter and Facebook) with the goal of growing our online community and communicating public health messaging with a broad audience. This supports ADHS efforts to improve population health outcomes.
Methods: Public health-related prevention and awareness messaging represents the majority of ADHS online social content and includes STD-related information, resources and events. The ADHS Web & New Media team (WNM) partners with subject matter experts (SMEs) and communications staff to identify priority messages, contribute to trending topics and reply to comments. ADHS also shares messages from other public health entities that promote topics for which we provide leadership. ADHS policy establishes a centralized workflow for social media administration. Content intended for online channels is submitted to WNM for review and posting via an online application. The ADHS communications calendar drives much of the social messaging, which is developed by WNM and content owners. WNM identifies additional messaging via online listening and develops related content, consulting with other ADHS representatives as needed. Many posts are scheduled ahead of time and spaced out throughout the day, seven days a week. Volume varies by online channel. ADHS attempts to reply to feedback at least same day, although time must be allotted for consulting with SMEs when needed.
Results: Examples of online social STD messaging from ADHS and resulting interactions with our online community include http://storify.com/AZDHS/stds. ADHS social properties are available at http://azdhs.gov/socialmedia.htm.
Conclusions: ADHS has experienced significant growth in our online presence and maturation of our process over the years we’ve been active in social media. Communicating ADHS public health information via social, which includes STD-related prevention and awareness, has been effective in building online community—having authentic and relevant conversations with the public that we serve.