Pre read: 7th September chat – “How has social media use in the NHS changed since 2010?”

#nhssm is back with our first monthly chat on 7th September! Here’s your pre-read for the upcoming chat…

Nostalgia can be a dangerous siren. It can leave you harking back to the good old days refusing to face new ways of communicating with our publics… buuuut we couldn’t resist so we’ve a nostalgic first chat back 😀

How has social media use in the NHS changed since 2010?

What’s better, what’s worse and what hasn’t changed?

Here are a few ways we see the social media landscape has changed over the last six years:

Proliferation of platforms

Back in 2010 it the NHS was concentrating on Facebook and Twitter* as the platforms of choice, and it seemed (in the most part) for the public these two platforms worked well as a way of connecting with the NHS.

In 2016 Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube remain, and have been joined by Instagram, Pinterest, Justgiving, YikYak and the explosion of chat apps such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook messenger and Viber to name a few.

This proliferation of platforms has made the job of managing an organisation’s reputation and proactively engaging with the NHS’ publics more difficult. Communications and Engagement teams need to work out which platform suits their objectives and learn the necessary skills to use the platform to its full potential.

*LinkedIn and YouTube were about too, but we’re not certain many people have got the hang of either of those for the NHS yet.

Power to your pocket

Ah, 2010, back when Alex was rocking a HTC Desire on Android OS v2.1 (Eclair), using a single CPU and shooting video at 720p@30fps.

HTC Desire

Nowadays many of us have the power of a basic 2010 laptop in our pockets. The Sony Xperia Z5 compact has EIGHT CPUs (!) and can shoot video at 2160p@30fps, 1080p@60fps or 720p@120fps.

Sony Xperia Z5 Compact

This has enabled video production to come into reach of anyone with a decent smartphone. It provides NHS Communications and Engagement teams with the chance to turn around good quality video of events, improvement works and the day-to-day excellence of their organisations in short turn-around times.

This growth in the power in our pockets has come in parallel with increasing mobile data speeds. The unleashing of 4G has seen a continual rise in the consumption of picture and video based content1.

Pictures own text

In the list of new social media platforms now available you’ll notice many of them strongly focus on the use of pictures as their main content. Text is relegated to an annotation below or alongside the image(s).

Across social media platforms the stats2 show images win hands down in engagement terms over text. We’ve all seen in the last six years how the use of infographics, pictorials, GIFs and videos has grown across all sectors.

These images are often ‘rough and ready’, shot on the fly without much post-production other than a filter and a hashtag, and sent to thousands of people within seconds of them being taken.

This can prove difficult in the healthcare sector where the most appealing content is the interaction of people with people but where privacy, confidentiality, dignity and respect is, quite rightly, held in the highest regard.

As consumption of content moves more and more to images and videos, how NHS Communications and Engagement teams are able to get social friendly pictures and videos from their day-to-day will be an ongoing challenge.

7th September, 8-9pm

Come along and join us on Wednesday 7th September at 8-9pm.

We’ll be discussing the above changes and more and would love to hear how you and your organisation are meeting the challenges outlined above. But remember, the chats aren’t all about answering the questions, they are about posing them too so don’t be afraid to ask a few yourself.

See you out there!

Alex and Will

1 Ofcom – The Communications Market Report 2016 [pdf], page 175
2 Twitter users love to watch, discover and engage with video [US] and Top 5 Facebook Video Statistics for 2016 [Infographic]