Top 3 Things for an Interprofessional Social Media Presence
May 24, 2021
By Jody Thompson
I was once asked to describe my personal online identity and my professional online identity. My personal posts are simple things that make me happy like gardening, quilting projects and our family’s golden retriever, Melvin. My professional online identity is, however, a bit more complex- but in a good way.
I am the social media manager for the Center for Advancing Interprofessional Education, Practice and Research (CAIPER). Our Center is housed in the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation at Arizona State University. As the center has grown over the years, the expansion of our digital audience brand needed to match this trend.
My goal was to create a unique, interprofessional presence on social media channels that connects and aligns faculty, providers, clinicians, and very importantly, health professions students to interprofessional education, research and practice.
The top 3 things I’ve done to create a unique, interprofessional social media presence include:
1. Launching multiple social media platforms
Engaging and growing a social media presence takes time, and developing a recognizable brand can take even longer. I identified, that, if CAIPER was going to continue being a nationally recognized voice and leader in IPE social media, we had to keep expanding. We needed, in a sense, an interprofessional presence. In addition to being active on Twitter and Facebook, CAIPER needed to go where students and the next generation of workforce was going – and as outlined in a report on how educators are using social media, those students are headed to Instagram and LinkedIn.
For CAIPER, launching its Instagram and LinkedIn channels took about six months from start to finish. When I proposed launching two additional social media platforms, during a pandemic, and while the Center was on-boarding our new director, it was a big ask with an even larger goal. It was also time to advance to the next level and connect with our growing digital audiences.
2. The 5 W’s
Every week, it is my responsibility to keep a constant eye on trends and the national dialogue on interprofessional practice and education (IPE). Before engaging with an Instagram post from one center or retweeting an article from a university, I carefully vet content by:
• Who else is engaging with a post,
• What is the content conveying,
• When should CAIPER post during the day and week,
• Where is the content coming from? (links, hashtags, comments),
• Why is the content important for CAIPER to engage with and how does the content support the Center brand and message
For CAIPER, it is important to maintain authenticity in all things IPE. For example, when we have an “engagement” from the National Center for Interprofessional Practice and Education on a social media post, it demonstrates authority and credibility in the world of IPE because audiences see the quality connection CAIPER has with national leaders in the field.
3. Instagram (and all social media) isn’t so instant
That photo you just liked or the hashtag you just clicked on, more than likely, wasn’t posted in just a few seconds. There’s not much time to catch and engage the eyes of audiences in platform newsfeeds. To be exact, I have about 13 milliseconds for audiences to identify an image after seeing it, and I have to contend with an average attention span of 8 seconds across all CAIPER’s social media platforms. Here's some things I do to make the most of that tiny slice of time:
• Utilize algorithms and analyze interaction trends
• Pivot content when trends emerge and shift
• Monitor the sites seven days a week
• Thoughtfully participate in industry conversations
Practices for presence
By applying these 3 practices, CAIPER has expanded its network and connections to over 60 national and international IPE centers, professional, academic and research organizations. Our social media platforms see daily growth in both reach and following with all of our target audiences – health care professionals, administrators, faculty, educators and students – making our connections truly interprofessional!
About the Author
Jody Thompson, BA, is the Communications Program Coordinator for CAIPER and manages the Center’s social media platforms and guides the digital audience strategy, marketing communications, product launches and outreach initiatives. She has worked with multiple elements of interprofessional education and practice since 2012. Before joining CAIPER, she provided direct case management for homeless and vulnerable populations, and is now pursuing her Master of Science degree in Digital Audience Strategy from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.