A “comprehensive” guide to help nurses and other health professionals use social media appropriately and to its best effect has been launched by Skills for Health.
The toolkit is intended to provide healthcare organisations and health professionals with “sector-specific insight, advice and best practice on using social media effectively”, said those behind it.
“Social media plays an ever-growing role in our daily live”
The free toolkit, created with support from Public Health Wales, covers those new to social media and unsure where to start to those who want to ensure their existing presence is fit for purpose.
It includes guides to the key platforms and leading influencers to follow, examples of best practice, downloadable templates and additional resources, as well as advice on how to encourage organisations to embrace a digital culture.
Dawn Bratcher, senior marketing manager for Skills for Health, highlighted research showing 30% of adults would share information about their health on social media and more than 40% saying that information found via social media affected how they dealt with their health.
“Social media plays an ever-growing role in our daily lives, including the way we access and share information,” she said.
“Starting conversations online enables healthcare organisations to raise awareness, share information, engage with existing audiences and reach out to new ones,” she added.
Last year, Skills for Health launched the #OurHealthHeroes campaign on social media to raise awareness of the vital role of the healthcare support workforce.
The campaign launched with a YouTube video, filmed using real staff members at Southmead Hospital in Bristol and the hashtag encouraged the public to thank support staff online.
Social media best practice ‘toolkit’ launched for nurses
The video was viewed more than 100,000 times and supported by more than 30 trusts and healthcare organisations across the UK.
Ms Bratcher added: “The success of the #OurHealthHeroes campaign shows what a powerful tool social media is for building connections with patients, stakeholders and communities.”
But she noted that it was “important to be present in these conversations online, but knowing how to do this effectively is not always straightforward”.
She said she hoped the toolkit would provide the “knowledge and understanding to use social platforms with confidence”, as the health sector began to “embrace this important shift in the way we communicate”.
Skills for Health is the Sector Skills Council for all health sector employers – including the NHS, independent and third sector.