Here is our Ninth Volume of the Guide for European Advocates, the capacity building initiative that aims to improve the skills of European Advocates or students that want to dive in the External Affairs world!
In this volume, we bring you, Social and Mass Media Management and Advocacy!
Social and Mass Media Platforms and Advocacy
You have probably seen a lot of campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, right? Social Media Platforms can be very helpful for advocacy purposes, but how?
“Media advocacy is a new strategy that is emerging in the public health community. Media advocacy is defined as the strategic use of mass media to advance public policy initiatives. Media advocacy is rooted in community advocacy and has as its goal the promotion of healthy public policies. It can be differentiated from traditional mass media strategies in a number of ways. Media advocacy shifts the focus from the personal to the social, from the individual to the political, from the behaviour or practice to the policy or environment.” Wallack L; “Media advocacy: a strategy for empowering people and communities” (1994)
What are the benefits of using Social and Mass Media Platforms for advocacy?
1. You can reach more people
Nowadays, almost everyone uses some kind of social media platform, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, so you can use these tools to spread your message.
2. You can raise awareness
The first step when promoting change is in fact make people aware of the importance of the topic not only to medical students but to communities all over the world.
3. You can develop partnerships
Developing joint campaigns can be a perfect opportunity to start a new partnership/collaboration with a particular organization or stakeholder.
4. You can become more known
If people see your campaigns and if they are appealing enough, they will try to know more about you and your organization, increasing your impact and recognition.
5. You can reach new stakeholders
If people start sharing the posts of your campaign, stakeholders will notice you and will recognize you as an important player on the topic and in the discussion.
If medical students, the general public and stakeholders are aware of the importance of the problem you are exposing and stating your position, you are more likely to be heard, to be invited to the discussion and to participate in the decision-making process.
- Spread Your Message: When you are advocating for something, it is important for you to spread your message as much as you can, reaching medical students, reaching your stakeholders and especially, the general public. “Online social networking sites offer a novel setting for the delivery of health promotion interventions due to their potential to reach a large population and the possibility for two-way engagement.”
- Fit for purpose: When using Social and Mass Media Platforms to spread your message and raise awareness of the viewers, it is important for you to design your message according to the platform and to the target populations.
- If your target is the general public, go for short, clear messages that someone without a health background can understand. At the same time, try to explain why this particular topic is relevant to the general public.
- If your target is medical students, then go for a more in-depth background but at the same time, try to make your content engaging and especially, shareable. If medical students, in general, share your message, you will reach more people.
- Finally, regarding the platforms itself, keep in mind the format, the length and the visuals of your message. In some platforms, an easy to read infographic might be the best option but for others you might only have a couple of characters to state your position!
If you have any questions or ideas regarding Social and Mass Media Management in Advocacy and External Affairs, feel free to email me!