Before joining the photo and video sharing social network Instagram, AIDS.gov staff started our communication planning process. This included reviewing our overall communications strategy [PDF 350KB], developing a specific Instagram strategy using the POST [PDF 50KB] method, and putting together an implementation plan. Part of our planning process is to:
- observe/learn how others are using a particular tool in response to the HIV epidemic; and
- train our team members on how to take photos to ensure we have content we could capture that would be engaging to our audiences.
Last week, as we got ready to recognize National Black HIV AIDS Awareness Day (NBHAAD), we started posting to Instagram. And, in a month, we’ll share an update on what we have learned. In the interim, here are two things we want to share:
Since our last post, Instagram added a few new features.
- Instagram Videos: Shortly after an informational blog on Instagram last summer, the service added the ability to post 15-second videos. Similar to photos on Instragram, you can add interesting filters to give your videos a unique look.
- Instagram Direct: For photos that you don’t want to share with everyone, Instagram Direct allows users to send photos privately to individuals. When you get to the caption screen, you have the option to share it with all of your followers or to send it “direct.”
#2 How is the HIV Community using Instagram?
Last Friday, February 7th, was NBHAAD, and we did a search for hashtag #NBHAAD on Instagram. We want to share a few ways people and organizations were using Instagram to observe the day.
To promote events: Iris House (@iris_house_ ) in New York and the Southern University chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity (@deltaetasigmas ) in New Orleans both used Instagram to promote their HIV testing events.
To encourage others to get tested or stay on their medications: Nicole Williams (@nicolelisa80 ) encouraged people to “know your status” and shared a photo of herself with a Greater Than AIDS “I Got Tested” button. User @qupid_valentino shared a short Instagram video reminding people living with HIV to take their medications.
We asked Ken De Jesus from Iris House how Instagram is impacting their HIV programs. He told us:
“We currently have a social media training program where we take peer mentors and train them to post to all our social media channels including Instagram. We use Instagram to primarily post about all our events. The first cohort of peer mentors were young [men who have sex with men].”
Please follow us at @AIDSgov and you can find out how others are using Instagram in response to the HIV epidemic by searching hashtags such as #HIV.
Are you using Instagram in your HIV work? Share your handle(s) with us. Have you seen other examples of how Instagram is used to address health disparities you would like to share? Let us know in the comments.