“#Parentingquestion What are your teething baby survival tips?”, “How much #TV should I let my child watch? #Parenthood” These are just two examples of recent parenting questions that were sent out into the Twitter world today. More and more millennial parents are turning to social media for parenting advice. In fact, some reports have found that millennial mothers are two times as likely to seek parenting advice on the internet than to ask other people and as high as 50% of Dads use social media once a day for the purpose of parenting. Since the sources of parenting information online are endless and anyone can post anything, parents are more likely to come across information that is not evidence based, motivated by consumerism and even potentially harmful.
For many years now, Ontario Public Health Units have been involved in the promotion of positive parenting. The mandate of the public health system is to improve the health of the population through activities that promote health, protect health, and prevent disease and injury. Guided by the Ontario Public Health Standards and their Agency Strategic Plan, Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health has made promoting positive parenting one of their 5 strategic program priorities. In order to do this effectively and reach the right people with the right information, social media involvement has expanded. Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health has an existing agency Twitter and Facebook page as well as successful program-specific social media accounts such as the Twitter, Facebook and webpage for the Circles Guelph Wellington program aimed at changing how the community thinks and acts about poverty.
The @KIDSLINEOnline parenting-specific Twitter account was launched in September of 2014 so parents, parents-to-be, caregivers and parent-serving organizations in Wellington, Dufferin and Guelph can:
1.Engage in dialogue and information sharing informed by positive parenting principles
2.Ask questions and receive information informed by positive parenting principles
3.Receive information about positive parenting resources, supports and services
4.Increase their knowledge and understanding of positive parenting
Recently, the decision was made to devote more staff time to this resource by increasing the quantity of tweets and increasing engagement. According to Liz Robson, Program Manager “It’s not so much about looking at current numbers, but more about ensuring there is a positive trajectory of followers, engagement and overall growth.” Having a plan in place to measure this, will be important, not only to show that increasing resources is making a difference but also to justify expansion into other areas of social media.
The first step would be determining goals for @KIDSLINEOnline. @KIDSLINEOnline has 386 followers today and over the past year they have gained 151 followers. Since staffing levels have increased, tweet frequency and overall impressions should increase, so a reasonable goal for a year from now could be twice that growth, at least 688 followers by the end of next June. @CirclesGW currently has 2-3 engagements/day with 1000 followers. Since staff training in social media engagement has also increased, a reasonable engagement goal for 680 followers could be a minimum of 2 engagements/day. Engagements being considered as re-tweets, comments, questions and mentions. Both consumption and sharing metrics would need to be monitored. Measuring consumption would look at overall exposure to parenting messages in three areas: followers, impressions and link clicks. Sharing metrics look at engagement and could involve: re-tweets, mentions and replies/comments. From these metrics, WDG Public Health could estimate what proportion of their local target audience is being reached and engaged by their messages.
Going a step further, the @KIDSLINEOnline team could look at correlating this data to get an idea about the number of engagements compared to number of followers to find out if they have a more passive audience or a more engaged following. Another thing to look at would be share of conversations. Is @KIDSLINEOnline being mentioned in the right conversations and are the messages being seen by the right people, essentially parents/caregivers and community partners. Looking forward, an interesting area of potential would be linking the parenting social media accounts to on-line registration for prenatal and parenting classes to see how much the tweets/posts are driving the public to actually register and access either in-person or online programming.
Lessons for Others
Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health was one of the first Ontario Public Health Units to enter the world of parenting on Twitter. Even a quick glance at the @KIDSLINEOnline twitter feed over the past week, it is apparent that the 4 main goals are always kept in mind when tweeting and have been achieved. @KIDSLINEOnline engages parents and community partners, shares parenting and prenatal information, promotes supports and resources and increases knowledge about the importance of positive parenting. Putting a plan in place to gather valuable metrics and tie them back into these and the overall agency goals will be key to sustaining the resource, demonstrating impact and expanding on the current social media platforms to reach more of the local population involved in parenting.
Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health
Industry: Health Care
Name of Organization Contact: Liz Robson, Program Manager & Louise Brooks, Health Promotion Specialist
Authored by: Orecia Reilly
If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.
Moving Ahead: Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Heath Strategic Plan 2011-2016. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from https://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/sites/default/files/wdgphfiles/strategic_plan_2011-2016.pdf
Ontario Public Health Organizational Standards. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.health.gov.on.ca/en/pro/programs/publichealth/orgstandards/docs/org_stds.pdf
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Social Media Toolkit for Ontario Public Health Units. (2014, February 14). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.wdgpublichealth.ca/sites/default/files/wdgphfiles/Social-toolkit-public-health-web-final.pdf
Report: 90% of Millennial Parents Find Social Media Helpful. (n.d.). Retrieved June 27, 2016, from http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/report-90-of-millennial-parents-find-social-media-helpful/633479