21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016)


Leveraging Social Media for HIV/AIDS Campaigns

August 10, 2016

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Sharing opinions and interacting with others while keeping engaged is an ongoing job in this digital world. Presenters at AIDS 2016 offered advice to aspiring digital HIV activists in a leadership workshop entitled, "Digital Champions for HIV and AIDS: How Can You Leverage Social Media for Social Good?"

The presenters emphasized that, when starting HIV-related social awareness campaigns, it's imperative to keep actively involved in key conversations and moments while prioritizing your own activities. Become a reliable source, sharing and bringing attention to your personal point of view on the issues you find important. Establishing relationships with local peers and leaders is also important, as is shaping the change you want to see in your community and the narrative around HIV.

The best way to start your social media campaign for social good is by identifying your goal: Define your personal, overall goal for your involvement within the HIV/AIDS advocacy community and thus your digital goal. Your personal goal can be more encompassing, while your digital goal should have specific, direct and achievable results. An example of a personal goal could be "to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission within my community," while a digital goal could be "to increase awareness of how mobile technology is used for ending mother-to-child transmission of HIV."

Read: What Would an HIV Cure Mean for You?


Once you've ascertained your digital goal, it's time to define specific, measurable, attainable and time-bound objectives. With your objectives in place, you can identify your audience, prioritizing those who are online. Research who can help amplify your message to that specific audience. Influencers are gateways to a wider audience and should be followed on social media for the latest information and resources.

Your language tone and style should also be considered. Considering your intended audience, define whether you want to be formal, casual or use slang. Is your style inquisitive, reflective, deferential, some combination of those or something else? Whatever tone and style you choose, you need to stick with it as your audience could perceive an abrupt change as overall inconsistency.

Choosing the platform on which express your thoughts and spread your message goes hand in hand with the type of message you want send. Facebook is the best platform for medium-length messages as they can include one to two paragraphs with links and images. Twitter is minimalistic due to its character constraints, and messages need to be condensed to a single thought. LinkedIn is best for mid-length and long-form information and thus is where lengthy articles are more common and expected. None of these platforms might be the most appropriate place for your message; it's important to research and discover what will work best for you.

Creating an online campaign to create change is not an easy task. Take your time to strategize the most effective ways to reach out and engage with your target audience. The social media world is full information. Making sure your specific voice is heard doesn't come with the click of a button; the various tactics described above are necessary steps for building your online community and helping them hear you.

David Duran is a freelance journalist and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. You can follow him on Twitter at @mrdavidduran.

Copyright © 2016 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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This article was provided by TheBodyPRO. It is a part of the publication The 21st International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2016).

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