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Social Media Technical Assistance at the #APHA14 Conference and After

CaptureOver 10,000 public health professionals recently gathered in New Orleans to attend the American Public Health Association’s 142nd Annual Meeting Exit Disclaimer. For the second year, we collaborated with APHA to provide conference attendees with free social media technical assistance (TA) during two full days of the conference.

This year, conference attendees had two ways to receive free social media TA. The first way was to attend the Social Media Lab – a space where over 60 conference attendees had their individual questions answered in a one-on-one session with an AIDS.gov social media expert. In addition to these customized training sessions, this year, the AIDS.gov team also offered a series of group classes, which reached 105 individuals and collectively addressed popular social media topics that are frequently brought to the Social Media Lab. For a peek at this year’s Social Media Lab, check out this video Exit Disclaimer.

Attendees came to the Lab with a wide range of questions and varying levels of social media experience. Some had never used any social media service and wanted a primer simply on how to get started. Others had ample experience, but wanted to be more strategic in their use of different tools, such as Twitter and Facebook. Those who already had a communications strategy in place were seeking ideas for how to evaluate the impact of their outreach and improve their efforts.

CaptureAs with last year’s lab, a number of participants requested assistance with planning. It was exciting to see more people considering how to incorporate new media into their existing outreach, prevention, and communication strategies, and we addressed these questions in two primary ways:

  • Selecting appropriate tools available in the HIV Prevention Goes Social Toolkit [PDF 4.79 MB] and Workbook [PDF 1.15MB]: These rich resources contain basic information on different types of social media as well as worksheets that can be used to help focus a discussion on planning out an initial strategy. Perhaps the most frequently used worksheet is the one detailing Forrester Research’s POST Strategy Exit Disclaimer.
  • Presenting a class on using the AIDS.gov editorial calendar: our staff here at AIDS.gov use a modified version of this free tool Exit Disclaimer created by Lightbox Collaborative Exit Disclaimer, and have found it to be very useful as a starting point as it underscores the value of building social media into organizations’ broader communication strategy and goals.

Can’t make it to a conference? No problem! The AIDS.gov team values the opportunity to meet with the HIV community at conferences, but we also recognize that resources are often limited to travel to a conference to receive in-person social media support. If you and your colleagues would like to avail yourselves of free TA, the AIDS.gov team can support you wherever you are! Given the popularity of our social media labs, we have just launched AIDS.gov Virtual Office Hours, and you can now schedule a free 30-minute phone appointment Exit Disclaimer with an AIDS.gov social media expert. See here for more information on Virtual Office Hours.

Also, check out the AIDS.gov Social Media page for more resources.

Do you have a social media question? Whether at a conference, or through online support, the AIDS.gov social media team is here to help!