Four Dissemination Pathways for a Social Media–Based Breastfeeding Campaign

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Background

Social media utilization is on the rise globally, and the potential of social media for health behavior campaigns is widely recognized. However, as the landscape of social media evolves, so do techniques used to optimize campaign dissemination.

Objective

The primary aim of this study was to evaluate the impact of 4 material dissemination paths for a breastfeeding social media marketing campaign in Ghana on exposure and engagement with campaign material.

Methods

Campaign materials (n=60) were posted to a Facebook and Twitter campaign page over 12 weeks (ie, baseline). The top 40 performing materials were randomized to 1 of 4 redissemination arms (control simply posted on each platform, key influencers, random influencers, and paid advertisements). Key performance indicator data (ie, exposure and engagement) were extracted from both Facebook and Twitter 2 days after the material was posted. A difference-in-difference model was used to examine the impact of the dissemination paths on performance.

Results

At baseline, campaign materials received an average (SD) exposure of 1178 (670) on Facebook and 1071 (905) on Twitter (n=60). On Facebook, materials posted with paid advertisements had significantly higher exposure and engagement compared with the control arm (P<.001), and performance of materials shared by either type of influencer did not differ significantly from the control arm. No differences in Twitter performance were detected across arms.

Conclusions

Paid advertisements are an effective mechanism to increase exposure and engagement of campaign posts on Facebook, which was achieved at a low cost.


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