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The Power of Twitter: Reaching People Living with HIV

Twitter 300K imageEach week, we evaluate metrics from’s social media activity; We look for insights to:

  • refine ways of how we serve our audiences;
  • assess which of our content people are re-tweeting, liking and clicking through to and also;
  • monitor trends in how many followers we gain and lose each week.

While the numbers are just one piece of the puzzle, we hit a milestone recently – the number of people following on Twitter has reached 300,000.

This milestone made me think of all the times I’ve heard people say, “It’s not about the number of followers—it’s how you engage them.” 300,000 is a large follower base, and it is also approximately one-third of the number of people living with HIV (PLWH) in the United States.

While it’s important to remember that not every one of our followers may be actively engaged on Twitter, this milestone is still a key opportunity to reach people most impacted by HIV, as well as those who serve and support them. So we decided to take a closer look at what it could mean if our Twitter followers engaged with our content and shared it within their own social networks. I was inspired to consider how, together, we can reach nearly all the 1.1 million PLWH in the United States.

Twitter’s growth

With 284 million active monthly users, Twitter ranks fifth on the list of social media platforms used by adults in the United States. The Pew Internet and American Life Center saw the percentage of online adults who use Twitter grow from 18% to 23% in just one year. Exit Disclaimer The growth demographics included: men, whites, those ages 65 and older, those who live in households with an annual household income of $50,000 or more, college graduates, and urbanites.

“Many of our clients access the Internet only by way of their smart phones. Because of this, Twitter is a particularly strong forum by which to communicate. It’s fast, easy, and among the most mobile-friendly social media applications. Twitter communicates facts and resources conveniently and easily to precisely the people with whom we want to communicate.” Jeannine Carpenter, Director of Communications, Chattanooga C.A.R.E.S – Tennessee Valley’s resource for HIV/AIDS’s Twitter Followers Can:
  1. Share HIV/AIDS information: Our HIV/AIDS Basics pages contain lots of great information you can share about how PLWH can stay healthy, as well as resources for those who are newly diagnosed.
  2. Link to care: By sharing the HIV Testing and Care Services Locator, you can help PLWH and others find the medical and social support they need. This will help them stay on treatment and stay healthy.
  3. Increase HIV awareness all year round: There are 14 Federally recognized HIV/AIDS Awareness Days in the year. Our Awareness Days page shares specific actions you can take for each of these commemorations in your community.
  4. Evaluate your use of Twitter: Sharing these resources on social media can help to extend the reach of our work.  As important, is evaluating the use of Twitter, or any other social media tool. If you would like a free training session on how to use and evaluate social media for HIV outreach, sign up to speak with an social media consultant during Virtual Office Hours.

What will you do to make sure that your Twitter followers get the information they need?