Online Program

Implementing a social media marketing strategy to engage African American young adults in an online intervention to prevent HIV and sexually transmitted infections

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.

Alison Grodzinski, MLIS, Prevention Research Center of Michigan, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Alexandra Turner, MPH, Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Susan Morrel-Samuels, MA, MPH, Michigan Youth Violence Prevention Center, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
Tiffany Veinot, PhD, School of Information, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, MI
Bettina Campbell, MSW, YOUR Center, Flint, MI
Marc Zimmerman, PhD, Prevention Research Center of Michigan, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, MI
In Flint, Michigan, the rates of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (HIV/STIs) for African American residents aged 18-24 are among the highest in the state. The HOPE Project is an evidence-based intervention that combines in-home parties with an online social media component to promote healthy sexuality and prevent HIV/STIs. Using social media for HIV/STI prevention within this population holds great promise. Yet, engaging young adults to discuss sexual health online presents many challenges. In this presentation, we discuss a social media contest to increase engagement in an online HIV/STI prevention intervention. We used popular social networking sites to promote website content and communicate positive sexual health messages. We implemented a 60-day text messaging and social media contest to encourage party participants to engage online. We tracked participants' activities and awarded points per activity. All participants received a $10 gift card when they earned 50 points. The two contestants with the most points received $50 gift cards. We saw a 35% increase in the number of followers and a significant increase in engagement. The majority of new followers posted multiple times over the contest period and responded to other participants' comments online. The contest was a successful strategy to increase engagement in the online intervention. Incentives and group competition increased participation rates and level of engagement. Structuring incentives to reward multiple points of contact, as well as ongoing participation, was essential. Using common social media marketing strategies to increase engagement can be successful for health promotion programs.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe a social media contest to promote an online intervention for sexual health education and prevention. Discuss a successful incentive and reward structure for engaging young adults to participate on popular social media pages. Identify lessons learned and future directions for using social media for HIV/STI prevention.

Keyword(s): Internet, HIV Interventions

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the responsible for the overall communication strategy for a large academic research center and several community based participatory research projects. I coordinate the online intervention component of the HOPE Project. I have worked with communities and public health organizations to integrate social media into public health practice since 2006. My research interests include online health information seeking behavior and using social media for health promotion and health education.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.