CDC Social Media Tools, Guidelines & Best Practices

From LINKS Community Center
Jump to: navigation, search

Quick Facts

Publishing Organisation:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Primary Target Country:
United States of America
Covers Thematic
  • Content creation Social media content creation is arguably one of the most important aspects of a social media marketing campaign. Social media content creation is an art, and one that requires an extra amount of patience, creativity, and education around graphic design, copy creation, and color composition.</br></br></br>Source:
  • Crisis communication Crisis communication is a strategic approach to corresponding with people and organizations during a disruptive event. When a crisis occurs, proactive, quick and detailed communication is critical.</br></br></br>Source:
  • Target audience
  • Civil Society Civil society is a target group in LINKS which comprises citizens, civil society organizations, educational institutions, vulnerable groups, social movement organizations
  • Practitioners Practitioners is a target group in LINKS which comprises local, national and European disaster management organizations, civil protection agencies, first responders, NGOs, security networks...
  • Audience experience level
  • Starter Those who are not currently using social media, or the current use is based on providing general information and advice to citizens</br></br>Source:
  • Disaster Management Phase
  • Before Comprises 'Preparedness Phase' and 'Prevention Phase'</br></br>Preparedness action is carried out within the context of disaster risk management and aims to build the capacities needed to efficiently manage all types of emergencies and achieve orderly transitions from response to sustained recovery.</br></br>Source:</br></br>Prevention (i.e., disaster prevention) expresses the concept and intention to completely avoid potential adverse impacts of hazardous events.</br></br>Source:
  • Synopsis


    The Importance of Plain Language

    • Quickly engage the reader
    • Limit use of jargon, technical, or scientific language
    • Write in active voice
    • Keep messages short.
    • Write in a friendly but professional tone
    • Choose words with one definition or connotation
    • Use measurements that are familiar to your audience
    • Choose familiar terms, and use them consistently
    • Use acronyms with caution
    • Use numbers when they help you make your point
    • Consider using alternatives to words expressing mathematical concepts, such as risk, normal, and range, if those words do not have meaning to your audience

    Guidelines for incorporating social marketing into your communications

    Social marketing is about identifying the specific target audience segment(s), describing the benefits, and creating interventions that will influence or support the desired behavior change.

    • Highlight the positive aspects of your message
    • Answer the audience’s question, “What’s in it for me?”
    • Respect your audience.
    • Encourage your readers to take a particular action or to learn more.
    • Tie messages to specific products or services when possible

    Creating Content

    Social media content should be

    • Relevant, useful and interesting
    • Easy to understand and share
    • Friendly, conversational, and engaging - Action-oriented


    • Buttons and Badges
      • Buttons are graphic elements that usually include an image, a short call-to-action message, and a link for more information. They are often created to be shared, and include HTML code that allows them to be posted on a website.
      • Badges are also small graphic images that include a message and link to a web page. However, badges are often posted on an individual's social network profile or personal blog to show support for or affiliation with a cause or issue, and may include messages that show a personal action was taken
    • Image Sharing

    Image sharing involves posting images (photos, artwork, etc.) to public websites where they can be viewed, tagged, categorized, and even used by others

    • RSS Feeds

    RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. RSS feeds provide an easy way to stay updated on information that is important to you and helps reduce the time it takes to browse or search for new information on web sites. RSS feeds provide updated news headlines, blog posts or selected website content.

    • Podcasts

    A podcast is a digital audio or video file that can be saved for playback on a portable media device or computer. The term “podcast” refers to both the actual content of the media file and the method by which the content is syndicated.

    • Online Video Sharing

    Online video sharing can be used by partners to share tailored health communication messages. Online video sites, such as YouTube, MSN and Yahoo have emerged as popular and powerful video sharing sites

    • Widgets

    A widget is an application that can be utilized by partners to display featured health content directly on their desktop, website or social media site. Widgets can also generally be shared with friends

    • eCards

    are electronic greeting cards that are sent to people’s email accounts

    • Blogs

    Blogs, or web logs, are regularly updated online journals that almost anyone with an internet connection can use. Some blogs target a small audience, while others boast a readership comparable to national newspapers. They may have only one author or a team of regular authors, but most blogs share a similar format in that the entries are posted in a reverse chronological order and may allow readers to comment on posts

    • Microblogs

    Twitter is an example of a microblog. Twitter is an information network made up of 140-character messages called tweets. It is used by millions of people, organizations, and businesses to discover and share new information. Twitter users subscribe to receive tweets by following an account. Followers receive messages in their timeline that includes a feed of all the accounts they have subscribed to. These short, easy to read, public messages make Twitter a powerful, real-time way of communicating

    • Social Networking Site

    Facebook an example of a social networking site. These are online communities where people can interact with friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances, and others with similar interests. Most social networking sites provide multiple ways for their users to interact such as chat, email, video, voice chat, file-sharing, blogging, and discussion groups.


    Developing the Model

    • Using the activities and objectives determined in the social media communications strategy document, consider the following for each activity in your program. Note that there may be multiple inputs, outputs, and outcomes for each activity.
      • What are the inputs, or resources (both tangible and intangible), that need to be in place for the activities to happen?
      • What are the outputs of each of those activities? In other words, what will be the resulting products (usually tangible)?
      • What are the expected outcomes of the activities and outputs (usually intangible)? That is, what are the results you hope to see? (Example: Increased awareness of vaccination campaign.) If possible, break outcomes into short-term and long-term. The outcomes may be very similar to (or the same as) the objectives you developed in the Social Media Communication Strategy Worksheet.

    Developing the Questions

    • Inputs
      • How can each of your inputs be measured, counted, or otherwise evaluated?
        • For example, if one of the inputs is “messages developed by communication specialists,” what elements of this input can and should be measured?
    • Outputs
      • How can the products of your activities be measured?
        • For social media activities, these questions may utilize web analytics, such as click-throughs and page views, or they could include numbers of friends, followers, or messages posted.
    • Outcomes
      • Outcomes can often be harder to measure than outputs, but offer great value.
      • The evaluation questions for your outcomes will likely come from the SMART objectives you developed earlier.
        • For example, if your objective was to increase by 5% the number of target audience members who were aware of your campaign, your evaluation question would reflect this objective.

    Linked to