Background The Swedish Rheumatism Association (SRA) has in recent years invested heavily in being seen in social media. In 2010 SRA launched Anne’s photo blog, describing Anne Carlsson (SRA president) daily activities. A Facebook page and a Twitter account was launched 2011. What we communicate, to whom and when is important in order for SRA to continue to be an organization which stands for knowledge and experience. I will describe our work on Facebook, Twitter, and Anne’s photo blog.
Objectives SRA want to embark from being an organization that has had a sender role to become an organization actively engaged in close dialogue with members. Through adapting our message for the target group, we will achieve a greater impact and this will strengthen our brand. We see social media as a great way to complement what is already being done to communicate our message. Our Web Editor is responsible for the Facebook page; press secretary is responsible for the twitter account and Anne’s photo blog.
Methods When we started Facebook, we update regularly in order to get traffic. Via Facebook, we want to reach members, trustees, donors and all other who are interested in what happens in the Association. We write about everything from the latest research findings to what our mascot “Little Rabbit” is up to. The target group for our twitter account is primarily the media, politicians, decision makers and to some extent the medical profession. We made sure to initially follow 1000 strategic people when we started. Here we express our political positions, and tweet directly from various meetings and activities in which we are involved. Anne’s photo blog initially started to provide a picture of what I do on a daily basis. On the blog the press secretary writes entries and lays out pictures of the activities in which I participate, usually several times a week.
Results Today we update Facebook daily. We basically always answer the questions asked by the use of comments. We now have 2466 people that follow SRA on Facebook. Most people who like us are between 35-54 years. Having many Facebook followers is excellent, but that is in itself not the purpose but a way for us to start a dialogue with our followers. Gaining access to their views and wishes has become an important way for us to keep us updated in order to meet the needs and demands of the outside world. We also believe that with the Facebook page reaches a slightly younger group of people than we would otherwise have done. On Twitter, we now have over 529 followers, most journalists and policymakers. We tweet about the association´s political advocacy work, standpoints and discussions in which we participate. Usually it is the Press Secretary who tweets. The use of different # (hash tags) in order to discuss what is said at a meeting in real time is a new and exciting way to work. Interest in Anne’s photo blog is great. In 2012, the blog had about 10,000 visitors, there is an increase compared to 2011 when around 5800 people visited the blog. It shows that there is a great interest to follow my work as President. The most read tweet was National guidelines for Musculoskeletal Diseases, 29 of October 2012 with 166 visitors. Readers from 55 different countries have visited the blog, after Swedish readers follow Finland and the United States.
Conclusions Initially we had low expectations, but we have learned over time. Today we are very pleased with the results, we have reached our goal, to have an active dialogue with our target group.
Disclosure of Interest None Declared