Innovative Ways to Use Social Media for Wellbeing & Engagement
With the end of the year and open enrollment quickly approaching, many are shifting their focus to planning a 2019 health & wellbeing strategy. You may have reflected on challenges and successes of the past year’s program, and conducted an honest assessment of the impact of your program. Did your program do what you set out to do? Many of us have lofty goals of tying our health & wellbeing program to the reduction of health risks and ultimately healthcare costs. Some have revised their strategy to focus more on contributing to attracting and retaining stellar employees. The reality is, we only get results if our employees are engaged and participating in the program. Developing a robust communications strategy is key to the long-term success of any health & wellness program. While traditional communication strategies like posters and emails can be beneficial tools for reaching employees, using social media can be a valuable way to expand your audience.
Why Social Media?
For your health & wellbeing program to be effective, messages must reach your employees. Odds are, many of your employees and their families are already on some form of social media, so taking your message there can help expand the reach of your health & wellbeing communications and achieve the following benefits:
- Employees may be more likely to pay attention to communications on social media than ones you email or post on a bulletin board, which can often be overlooked on a busy day.
- Research shows that social networks often influence people’s behavior. Furthermore, many people already search online for health & wellbeing information—giving you the opportunity to deliver information to employees in a place they’re already spending time.
- It’s an effective way for employees to ask questions and talk about your program. Social media offers an opportunity for conversation and interaction, which other traditional communication avenues may be lacking.
- Employees have become numb due to being inundated with information. Our overstimulated society has a shortened attention span. Social media encourages the delivery of short, visually pleasing messaging that your audience is more likely to notice.
The best places to start communicating are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, as they are likely the most popular forms of social media among your employee population. One option is to create separate Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts from your company accounts that are employee-focused and include internal communications, wellness and benefits communications.
For an internal social media account to succeed, it is important that you promote it to employees. In one sense, it may be easier than promoting a social media presence externally because you have a built-in audience. Employees, though, are busy, and competing for their attention in the already crowded social media sphere can be difficult.
To gain awareness of your company’s internal social media accounts, highlight the following benefits to your employees:
- Access to regular health & wellbeing tips
- Education to help them become smarter health care consumers and save money on health care
- An opportunity to connect with other employees and discuss health & wellbeing trends or issues
- Easy-to-access information, available anytime
- Ability to ask questions or share feedback about the company’s health & wellbeing program
- Updates on events, incentives or contests, so employees are always in the loop
- Promotion of contests and challenges including incentives for joining the page
Use several communication mediums to promote awareness of the new accounts. For instance, add a tagline in email signatures, post links on your intranet, post announcements around the office, etc.
Before you create a new social media account or begin posting health & wellbeing announcements, make sure you have a well-developed communication plan in place.
If posts or tweets are infrequent and uninformative, employees may become disengaged and unfollow your account. Follow industry experts on health and wellness so you can repost or retweet valuable content to your employees. Staying aware of what industry experts are sharing can also help you keep a pulse on the industry and allow you to see trending topics that may be of interest to your employees.
In addition to deciding what to post, it is also important to consider when to post news and updates. Do your research to determine the best time to post to increase engagement and views. For instance, a study from marketing agency Fannit revealed that the best time to post content on Facebook is on weekdays between 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. and the worst time is on weekends and in the late evening and early morning. Twitter engagement, on the other hand, is higher on weekends compared to weekdays. This study found the best time to post on Twitter is between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on weekends, while the worst time is late evening and early morning.
It may make sense to post similar content to your social platforms, as you might have different employee audiences on each. For example, older employees may use Facebook more often than Twitter, while younger workers may prefer Twitter. Facebook offers the opportunity to post more in-depth updates since a tweet is restricted to 280 characters or less, but staying informed is crucial as these parameters tend to change. Instagram lends itself to visually appealing graphics so utilizing the platform to showcase group events or fun facts can be an easy win to stay top of mind. Below is a list of creative ideas to post on your social media accounts:
- Health & wellbeing tips, both self-generated or retweeted from industry experts
- Information about health & wellbeing activities, incentives, events, classes, etc.
- General information about aspects of your company’s program
- Success stories within your program (with an employee’s permission)
- Frequently asked questions
Make sure to interact with your employees! Social media accounts should not be a one-way communication channel. Encourage employees to post pictures trying something new or participating in a challenge.
A major benefit of social media is the ability to converse and solicit feedback. If employees comment or ask a question, be sure to reply in a timely manner so they know that you are listening. Go even further by asking employees to share creative tips, resources or a favorite exercise to get them talking and engaged.
By using social media to connect with your employees, you can share information in a more convenient and effective manner— increasing employee engagement and participation in your program. For more information on how to use social media to optimize wellness efforts, contact OneDigital today.