Monthly Archives: January 2017

Laying the Foundation for a Robust Social Media Presence

Hillary  Farrow, YI Advisors

During the second quarter of implementing the NLM grant to increase awareness of HIV/AIDS prevention among youth in the District of Columbia, YI Advisors created a new social media strategy plan to assist The Grassroot Project (TGP) with improving their digital footprint. As we discussed in our first blog, TGP uses college student-athletes to deliver key prevention messages to middle school youth in the DC area. TGP’s unique education model makes digital methods, particularly social media platforms, and the perfect mechanism to amplify these prevention messages. By increasing TGP’s social media presence, educational efforts can be dramatically increased with both the youth target audience, and the college athletes and their peers. Why is social media so important?

  • More than 1 billion users are on Facebook daily, including 82% of adults 18-29 years old. Facebook is a social media staple for businesses, organizations, and nonprofits alike. One of the main reasons is that the platform continues to evolve and allows marketers to accomplish different goals from driving online sales, increasing brand awareness, promoting an app, finding leads and providing social customer service.
  • Twitter is a great channel to share news and great channel to increase brand awareness and establish yourself as a thought leader. If offers a peek into the minds of industry leaders, allowing you to see what they are reading, sharing, and thinking about any topic, at any given time.
  • YouTube is the web’s go-to site for video, and almost one-third of all people on the internet are YouTube users with 4 billion daily views and an average viewing session on mobile at 40 minutes. It is also heavily used as a resource for how-to content.

Knowing how important a robust social media presence is, YI Advisors devised a strategy plan to boost TGP’s digital outreach. This strategy plan included many steps that could be replicated by another organization looking to ramp up their social media work. First, we ran an audit of TGP’s current social media platforms. We gathered information on what activities TGP ran, the platforms they used, their intended audience and actual audience, and finally a measure of their reach and current success rates. Based on this audit, we devised a list of recommendations to improve TGP’s overall reach and successful interactions. Below lists the key implementation steps to ramp up TGP’s programs that we came up with:

  • Establish the rules: Make sure it is clear within your organization who is making content, who is approving content, and what the process is to run smoothly and timely on your social media channels. Some organizations will have multiple people running their accounts, and therefore it’s important to establish guidelines on tone, content, and style so that you do not appear disjointed. You may even give your social media channels a name and personality so that staff can easily decide if the content they want to push-out fits with your overall brand.
  • Create the Content: It’s important to consider the intended audience to find the right content. If you’re looking to engage other business professionals, news articles or findings from a new study may work best to engage your audience. However, when working with a younger audience or an audience that lacks an in-depth policy background of the issue, shorter posts with more direct messages, photos, or videos are more likely to draw their attention. Be sure to be informative to get across the information you intend to deliver, but do not be overly wonky, or make asks too big for your target audience.
  • Create a Calendar: Once you’ve got the plan and the right message, you need a strategy to push it out. Creating a calendar of timed posts around external events like an HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, or Black History Month can be great ways to push out content in a timely way. Additionally, it’s important to make digital partners, just as you would partner with others for an on the ground event. Engaging coalition partners for digital events like weekly Twitter chats can be an effective way to grow your audience, build partnerships, and spread critical information.
  • Evaluate the Results: Finally, you must constantly evaluate what’s working and what’s not working. It can be easy to get in the habit of pushing out content without really analyzing if you’re reaching your audience, or if the content is working to reach your goals. There are different ways to create metrics of social media campaigns, depending on what your goals are and the resources at your disposal. For beginners, try keeping track of growth in followers each week, and track the number of engagements (likes, shares, comments) on each post. After a few weeks, see which content performed better; did humor work best? Maybe infographics? Tailor future content to mirror that.

YI Advisors will begin implementing our new social media strategy plan for TGP in February. We look forward to sharing the results! In the meantime, follow TGP on Facebook, Twitter, and  Instagram to see what we’ve come up with.


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Transition from VINE to Instagram

Porcha Johnson, Black Girl Health

In the 4th quarter of 2016 it was announced that Vine, the popular video sharing social media platform, was shutting down for good. As much of our Social Media strategy was based around the use of Social Video this was especially unsettling. We really wanted to reach a younger demographic with our campaign as well as capitalize on the connection between twitter to push out relevant content on a consistent basis across multiple Social Media channels. Luckily, we had a solid social media strategy in place that transitioned seamlessly to Instagram. In Mid 2016, Instagram launched several new features: 60 second long video allowance as opposed to vines 6 seconds, analytics tools for businesses, the ability to post from Instagram to Facebook and twitter, and the ability to push Facebook ads to Instagram. We took advantage of all features and are now well on our way to reaching our target market and hitting our goals for education and awareness. The video template that will be used to promote NLM resources for our Instagram Video campaign is called “Pop the Question“.

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El Centro de Educación de Trabajadores: Building on innovative initiatives.

The NLM ACIO funded program at El Centro de Educación de Trabajadores in New York City is an exciting new collaboration building on previous innovative initiatives in an effort to meet the HIV/AIDS education needs of Spanish speaking communities.

The ACIOP initiative at El Centro — which is still finalizing its formal title and branding — is based in part on the success of the HIV/STI Online Teaching Tool or HOTT, also known as Heads or Tails. HOTT was a four-year New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene funded HIV prevention and linkages to care tool for YMSM of color in New York City. The content features interactive graphic novels in which social and sexual decisions are made for characters and subsequent consequences are viewed in clinical encounters with real physicians at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Additional episodes follow the characters as they deal with HIV and STI diagnoses and treatment, providing health education in an engaging, highly visual and narrative context. All website content ends with an “Act page” that allows users to obtain HIV/STI information, request counseling and testing, and/or initiate other linkages to primary care.

HOTT was a unique collaboration between community members and experts in public health, the arts, and gaming. All content was developed in partnership with HIV+ and at-risk young men of color who conceived the stories, contributed to script writing, and provided audio voice-over talent for all characters. In this way, the young men moved beyond being simply research subjects or “the target audience” and were empowered to serve as leaders, decision makers, intervention developers, and as the figurative and literal voices of the project. HOTT evaluation surveys administered immediately following the module found that respondents considered the site very educational and that it motivated them to get HIV testing and to use condoms more.

Heads or Tails also inspired White House Precision Medicine Champion Dr. Elizabeth Cohn, who recognized the valuable role that engaging, animated vignettes could play in helping convey important information to communities that have traditionally been underrepresented in genomic research. Under Dr. Cohn’s direction, new educational modules have been developed to address privacy, financial, and other concerns individuals may have about precision medicine and to link them to additional federal resources.

All of these projects combine art, voice-overs, music, and sound effects via an innovative use of the e-learning content development software Articulate Storyline, which allows for extensive interactive elements that are data traceable and compatible with mobile and desktop browsers. The software was chosen by Project Director Dr. Christel Hyden both for its flexibility and for the role it can play in having content easily replicated or adapted by other community based organizations.

To date, Dr. Rafael Perez-Figueroa, Dr. Anthony Santella, and MPH candidate Angelika Guttierez have facilitated Spanish language groups at El Centro, Pride for Youth and Circulo de la Hispanidad. The ACIOP team will continue to convene community feedback groups to discuss, review, and test content through the winter and spring, and final content is expected to be online by early summer 2017. For more information, contact Project Director Christel Hyden at

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Transgender Spectrum Youth Health Part-1: YTH they2ze Mobile App

YTH is working with funding from the National Library of Medicine [NLM] to focus on reducing HIV among transgender-spectrum youth and enhancing overall transgender-spectrum youth health during the 2016-2017 AIDS Community Information Outreach Program [ACIOP].

YTH, a non-profit based in Oakland, CA, is focusing on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among transgender-spectrum youth [TSY] in the San Francisco Bay Area. Their project, titled they2ze, is an innovative tool that collates health resources and services that are transgender-spectrum serving in the Bay Area. In the form of a mobile application [app], they2ze includes a database of health services and NLM information on HIV/AIDS, testing, and PrEP to empower TSY to access health services.


The new they2ze app offers multiple functions that are youth-centered and co-built alongside TSY. YTH is working with a community advisory board [CAB] comprised of young people who identify within the transgender-spectrum to create a truly successful program and app. With the help of the CAB, they2ze will include service ratings similar to the Yelp rating database, which will allow users to see peer ratings of services, doctors, testing sites, and clinics.

they2ze also supports health and service providers with access to transgender-spectrum resources, information, and best practices, which will enhance provider competency when working with TSY. “they2ze can alleviate the issue of provider stigma, which is often a barrier to inclusive services for TSY. Items such as sample intake forms, referrals, and more will be available to providers directly,” said Cara Silva, Director of Programs at YTH. “All of which work together to provide wrap-around support, from the young person to the providers who serve them.”

The app will also allow users to sort services by gender identity and location, which will simplify the process of finding a health service that is applicable to every user. “Some of the problems many young people face–particularly young folks who identify as genderqueer–is finding a service that explicitly supports and serves them,” says James Lykens, Program Associate at YTH. “Some services are framed or geared only towards those who identify as transgender women or transgender men. We want to make sure those are included, but also expand service access to everyone within the transgender-spectrum.” Considering that nearly 16% of transgender-spectrum individuals identify as genderqueer, they2ze will provide this vital health information to a community in need.

The downloadable version of they2ze is expected to be available on both the iTunes store and Google Play in spring 2017. For more information about they2ze and YTH, visit or contact the Program Coordinator at

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