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Instagram! Plan, Learn, Shoot

well hello instagram

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 Exit Disclaimer 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 share the facts: The Red Door Foundation (@trdfmemphis Exit Disclaimer) in Memphis, TN shared CDC Act Against AIDS Materials with facts about HIV in African American communities.

IG used to share facts

To promote events: Iris House (@iris_house_ Exit Disclaimer) in New York and the Southern University chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity (@deltaetasigmas Exit Disclaimer) in New Orleans both used Instagram to promote their HIV testing events.

ig used to promote events

To encourage others to get tested or stay on their medications: Nicole Williams (@nicolelisa80 Exit Disclaimer) encouraged people to “know your status” and shared a photo of herself with a Greater Than AIDS “I Got Tested” button. User @qupid_valentino Exit Disclaimer shared a short Instagram video reminding people living with HIV to take their medications.

ig used to promote testing

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 Exit Disclaimer 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.

Comments

  1. How about making it useful says:

    While sharing pictures can be useful in helping people to know they’re not alone, I’m hoping that precautions will be taken to reduce the risk that the information can be used by stalkers / predators (a problem with most social media). People should at least be warned against using their real names, especially if they aren’t public figures hosting events and whatnot.

    Also, can you make it useful by giving people a choice of categories where they can post and search according to topic? For example, a forum where they can talk about alternative medicine they’ve found helpful (e.g. Clark zapper, essential fatty acids, herbal anti-virals or colloidal silver, dietary changes etc.) or support groups, things like that?

    I wouldn’t want this to become a bunch of pointless hype that occasionally promotes an event but otherwise is providing little value.

  2. Using social media for such platform is really good . Using instagram for spreading social awareness can be very useful . Just make sure that privacy is maintaned all along

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