Becoming a Bone Anchored Hearing Advocate on Social Media

Becoming a Bone Anchored Hearing Advocate on Social Media

Social Media-3

We’re always impressed by the advocacy efforts we see online in support of the Deaf and hard-of-hearing! Whether the focus is on raising awareness of these conditions in general or the benefits of bone-anchored hearing systems (BAHS) specifically, social media has made advocacy easy, immediate, and far-reaching.

You might be wondering how do I get started? The following are suggestions to help you define and refine an effective online advocacy strategy.

Evaluate and establish your credentials

You don’t have to be a hearing care professional to offer other people online searching for more information and support for their or their loved one’s hearing loss the benefit of your experience. However, they will want to know what that experience is, so that they feel comfortable learning and taking advice from you.

Let’s say you have a child with hearing loss who now wears a Ponto™ BAHS. You probably have valuable experience about the benefits of BAHS treatment, using accessories at school to help kids hear and keep up better, and similar subjects. Other families likely have the same questions and concerns you’ve already researched and addressed, which makes you an extremely valuable resource. To help them find and follow you, include this relevant information in your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media profiles, (e.g., “I am an advocate on the subject of bone anchored hearing treatment for children”).

In parallel, decide what you hope to accomplish online—a personal mission statement. Here are a few points to consider while developing your area of advocacy focus:

  • Which hearing health communities and associations already have a presence online? Make sure you Like/Follow all that are relevant on the social platforms you want to use, so you can model your presence on the ones that have the greatest reach and most robust interactions. They will also provide posts that you can Share/Retweet/ReGram, which will reduce the need for you to come up with all of your own social content.
  • What are other organizations and individuals in your “space” using to reach the same or similar target audience? Incorporate the same hashtags (e.g., “#HearingLoss”, “#BoneAnchoredHearing”) so that your posts will be served up to those searching those topics. Just don’t overdo them—you should not have more hashtags in a given post than you have actual content, or your posts will likely be dinged and demoted as Spam.
  • Do you want to monetize your presence to support causes like families who can’t afford hearing treatment? Helpful tools on various social platforms can boost your charitable fundraising endeavors (e.g., GoFundMe on Facebook or adding a Donation Sticker on TikTok).
  • Looking to hold events? With all the restrictions and concerns still in place around live events, social media has become a more valuable resource than ever for virtual community get-togethers. Options like Facebook Live gives you an opportunity to hold a real-time Q&A or presentation. Instagram also lets you livestream broadcasts, and of course, you can always utilize YouTube to create a livestream or share pre-recorded videos.

Choosing where and how you want to engage

When deciding which social media platforms you want to utilize, first research where your target audience tends to gravitate online. It can be difficult to juggle multiple platforms effectively and keep up with posts, interactions, and monitoring between them with equal vigor. Rather than spreading your online presence too thin to manage, focus on one or two properties first. Most advocates start with Facebook and Twitter, but platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok can be quite effective as well. The latter is particularly hot as of this writing with more than 1 billion active monthly users.

Other platforms to consider include the following:

  • Snapchat is still around. Although some of its popularity has faded, it still boasts a large and active Millennial (and some Gen-Z) audience. However, the fact that posts vanish after 24 hours, and visitors only tend to pop in and out irregularly might make it difficult to build a presence and cultivate a regular audience.
  • Pinterest is very popular as an image-driven platform and is surprisingly popular with Millennials. But it is primarily used to showcase products and interactions are pretty much limited to people re-pinning things they like. If you have concrete images to share like pictures of your child wearing a Ponto, those can help inspire visitors to learn more, but it isn’t suited for more general discussions or information sharing.
  • LinkedIn tends to draw a more career-focused, professional audience. If you want to engage with audiology professionals, managers and employees of manufacturers, and hearing healthcare organizations, consider this platform and tailor your content accordingly.
  • Reddit still gets tremendous traffic. The audience is mostly between the ages of 25-29 and there are more than 130K active communities. However, many advocates find it too complicated and too much of an attention drain to be worthwhile.
  • Tumblr has lost a lot of popularity with the younger audiences that made it a success, who have since moved on to TikTok. It was always very fast-moving outlet, so even now you face heavy competition for attention against cultural fandoms and entertainment/gaming-related content.

Utilizing tools to manage your social media advocacy

If you do reach a point where you want to utilize multiple social media platforms, it’s a good idea to invest in a content management tool. A couple free, basic, but effective options include HootSuite and TweetDeck. These allow you to plan posts across multiple platforms for immediate or scheduled release, plus lets you monitor comments and messages, so you can keep track of them and provide timely responses. If you’re willing to invest in upgraded versions of these management tools, you can also use them to generate reports to track the performance of your content across platforms.

When it comes to advocacy, sharing is caring

Never lose sight of the “social” in social media. The point is to attract your target audience to your content, but after that, you also want them to take an action that ultimately supports your advocacy goals. Make sure whatever you share is (a) interesting and relevant to your target audience and (b) includes engaging elements that stimulate conversation in the comments and/or shares through their own properties. These might include:

  • Conversation starters (“What Ponto device do you wear?”)
  • Quizzes (“What are the top 5 causes of hearing loss?” with multiple choice answers)
  • Polls (“Are you planning to upgrade to a Ponto™ 5 Mini?”)
  • Photos or .gifs (Images of babies and cute pets are always winners!)
  • Videos (Make sure to include subtitles or insert a transcript in a written section of the post)

Finally, make sure you post regularly to grow and retain your audience. This rewards audience loyalty for following you, which in turn allows you compete against all the other social media accounts vying for their attention. For example, try to add or share at least one post on Facebook or three-five tweets on Twitter per day. And when it comes to Facebook, if you have a special event to promote or a post you want to ensure reaches your entire audience, consider investing some money behind a boost.

Whether your advocacy goals include raising awareness of hearing loss and bone anchored treatments in general or raising money for a specific hearing cause, skillful utilization of social media can go a long way toward helping advocates like you achieve your goals.

Oticon Medical maintains a presence on several social media properties. If you aren’t already Following us on one or more, we encourage you to start! Please Like/Follow/Comment and then Share our content with your audience:

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