American Heart Month Goes Social

By on February 18, 2015

Cardiovascular disease (including heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure) is the cause of one out of every three deaths in the U.S., making it the number one killer of both women and men. To drive awareness of this growing epidemic, February has been declared as American Heart Month. During this month, all are encouraged to understand risk factors, and adopt habits proven to improve heart health to fight against this deadly disease.

To help mobilize Americans around this awareness month, the American Heart Association has relied heavily on social media. By implementing and promoting a series of social media initiatives, social media is successfully “going red.” The campaign is a great tool to learn more about heart disease, as well as a fantastic road map for other organizations seeking ideas on how to build a social campaign around an awareness month or other type of milestone.

Here are a few of the American Heart Association’s campaign components:

1. #HeartDayHumpDay

The campaign encouraged social media users to join @GoRedforWomen every Wednesday for #HeartDayHumpDay and share how they stay heart-healthy. Posts ranged from tips on fun activities to get the entire family moving to healthy recipes and words of encouragement and inspiration. Top posts were curated on a landing page, which also included share buttons.

#HeartDayHumpDay

2. Social Chats

The campaign included a series of social chats that were scheduled throughout the month of February, and facilitated via Twitter and the organization’s blog. Social chats are a great way to get the conversation going, plus provide an outlet for individuals who want to have questions answered in real time online.

American Heart Month Twitter Chat

3. Cape Crusade Social Movement

One of the campaign’s strengths is that it ensured that people of all ages had a role to play. The Capes Crusade component celebrated heroes big and small. The Children’s Heart Foundation asked families to make capes to honor their loved ones, both living and lost, and post a picture to social media with the hashtags #HeartCrusade and #LifeIsWhy. Not only was this component a creative social media idea, but also a great idea for a family craft project.

#HeartCrusade

4. #GoRedSelfie Sweepstakes

Selfies have completely taken over social media, so why not leverage them in your campaign? The American Heart Association created a sweepstakes that required social media users to take a selfie while wearing red, and post it to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #GoRedSelfie. Participants were then entered for a chance to win a daily or grand prize.

#GoRedSelfie

Although the American Heart Association’s campaign has tons of moving parts, your campaign need not be as robust. Modeling your campaign after just one or two of the elements above can generate great buzz and great results. Just remember to:

  • Plan far enough in advance to generate interest and attract influencers that can help get the word out.
  • Establish a landing page that gives social media users clear instructions on how to get involved.
  • Provide tools – digital postcards, badges, share buttons – to help drive momentum and solidify branding.
  • Be creative, be realistic and be strategic.

Did you get involved in this year’s American Heart Month social media campaign? What are some other noteworthy campaigns that have successfully mobilized social media users around a cause? Share your insights in the comments section!

About Ty Mays Kelty

Ty Mays Kelty is a public relations and social media strategist and freelance writer based in Atlanta, GA. Follow her @PerfectPitchPR.
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