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Social Media/Social Marketing


This section will provide Community Based Organizations (CBOs) in the Southern U.S. information on how social media can influence health promotion decision making, how to use different forms of social media, and tips on how to strategically plan for using social media to achieve their HIV prevention goals during COVID-19 and physical distancing. NASTAD has partnered with Kaiser Family Foundation’s Greater than AIDS Campaign to provide you with visuals of social media and social marketing postings and social media platforms. Greater Than AIDS is a leading public information response focused on the U.S. domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic, in particular communities and people most affected. To learn more about Greater than AIDS, please visit their website.

Goals and Objectives

By the end of this section, Community Based Organizations (CBOs) will:

  • Identify methods their organization can consider developing effective social media messaging using empathy and motivational best practices during this time of physical distancing;
  • Review how to use trends and apps to be current and gain traction on advertisements and posts;
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of their organization’s current and future messaging using online tools, analytics, and metrics;
  • Develop best practices on how to plan and use social media to promote HIV prevention events, services, and work CBOs are doing during COVID-19, and

Develop an understanding of community mitigation strategies for COVID-19 to tailor messaging in social media and social marketing posts

How Social Media/Marketing is Imperative During Physical Distancing

Extending Your Reach to New Clients and Followers

  • Social media posts can be shared widely and reach multiple audiences. Organizations can engage with new audiences and potentially gain new clients.
  • Use hashtags to extend your posts reach and save it with other posts with the same hashtag.
  • Join groups and share and promote your information and content.
  • Share success stories, organization photos, event videos and photos, merchandise, or other photos that would attract people to follow you and interact with your page.

Continuing Communication with Current Clients and Followers

Although some businesses and organizations are encouraged to remain closed or have restrictions on the number of people allowed to gather, it is essential to continuously engage with your current clients to keep their interest and keep lines of communications open.

  • Retain your clients and followers interest with regular updates about new products, services, announcements, and continuously provide clients with information.
  • Engage with your clients on a post or send out regular emails.
  • If your followers have specific questions regarding their health, encourage them to reach out to your organization directly to be linked to resources and to speak directly with their primary care provider to ensure confidentiality.

Providing Words of Encouragement

  • Show your support by sending words of encouragement to your clients and followers during this time of physical distancing.
  • This time can be very emotional and stressful for some. Sending words of encouragement and motivation to your clients and followers can be beneficial.
Screenshot of Greater than AIDS Facebook Page on iPhone

Health Promotion

  • Now is a great time to send health promotion information out to your clients and followers. Many people may have questions and are seeking resources on: how to practice self-care, how to practice safer sex while remaining physically distant, HIV prevention services, recommendations on how people can stay social and continue physical distancing, HIV testing and care services at home, and updates on COVID-19 prevention.
  • The CDC has provided guidance on PrEP During COVID-19 for programs experiencing disruption in services. Example: Here is an example from Planned Parenthood of suggested sexual health practices during COVID-19.
Screenshot of Greater than AIDS Instagram Page on iPhone

Service Promotion

  • If your organization is currently open, let your clients know what the new rules and regulations for entering your facility are and how you are enforcing physical distancing.
  • Promote the services that are now available to your clients. Also, let clients know what services are forthcoming, if any.
  • If the hours of operation have changed, keep your clients up to date.

Promoting Community Mitigation Strategies for COVID-19

  • Community Mitigation strategies are the actions that persons and communities can take to help slow the transmission of the virus in communities.
    • The goal for using mitigation strategies in areas with local COVID-19 transmission are to slow the transmission of disease and protect people at increased risk for severe illness and the healthcare and critical infrastructure workforces.
  • Community mitigation efforts aim to reduce the rate at which someone infected encounters someone not infected or reduce the probability of infection if there is contact.
  • Your organization’s social media postings can promote and support the CDC’s mitigation strategies and emphasize the community's roles and responsibilities to keep themselves and others safe.

The Importance of Health Communications for HIV/AIDS

The goal of health communications is to create social change by changing people’s attitudes and/or modifying or eliminating certain behaviors. You can use health communications to:

  1. Increase audience knowledge and awareness of HIV/AIDS
  2. Influence behaviors and attitudes towards HIV/AIDS
  3. Demonstrate healthy and safer practices
  4. Demonstrate the benefits of behavior changes to public health outcomes
  5. Advocate a position on a health issue or policy
  6. Increase demand or support for HIV/AIDS health services
  7. Argue against misconceptions about health
  8. Address stigma and implicit bias as it relates to HIV/AIDS
  9. Provide visibility for oppressed communities and populations disproportionately impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Many of your clients may be seeking health information about COVID-19. Your social media posts are an excellent opportunity for you to share information and client stories with your followers and clients to keep them informed and up to date with news.

Screenshot of HIV/AIDS Organizations' Twitter Pages on iPhone

Social Media Platforms to Explore

Below is a list of a few social media apps and platforms for your organization to explore. You can try different avenues for outreach and advertisement with multiple communities. NASTAD and Kaiser Family Foundations' Greater Than AIDS Campaign has shared the links to their social media platforms as an example for you to review.

Social media apps:

Facebook Logo

Facebook (NASTAD Facebook Page/Kaiser Family Foundation’s Greater Than AIDS Campaign’s Facebook Page)

  • Largest active user base
  • Most options to reach specific audiences
  • Highest click-thru to online resources
  • Real-time insights dashboard
Facebook Page Screenshot


Instagram Logo

Instagram (NASTAD Instagram/Greater Than AIDS Instagram)

  • Large, steadily growing audience
  • Ideal for visual content
  • Different ways to post content, (e.g. channel, stories, and IGTV)
  • Same audience options as Facebook (which owns Instagram
Instagram Screenshot



Twitter Logo

Twitter (NASTAD Twitter/Greater Than AIDS Twitter)

  • Timely, often news-oriented content
  • Reach thought leaders and journalists
  • Character limit
  • Limited availability to target messaging
Twitter Screenshot


YouTube Logos

YouTube (NASTAD Youtube Channel)

  • Go-to platform for video
  • Largest search engine after Google (which owns YouTube)
  • Longer video views
  • Additional wraparound content is minimal
Screenshot of YouTube Page


Snapchot and Tik Tok Logos

Snapchat & TikTok

  • Keep an eye on new platforms
  • Younger audiences often first adopters
  • Balance priorities, time, cost, and metrics
  • May be better for brand building than education
  • Most are built for in-app experience, not click-thru actions



Gay, Bisexual, and other Men who have Sex with Men (GBM) specific apps:


Dating Apps Logos

Grindr, Scruff, Jack’d

  • Reach specific audiences
  • Mobile functionality like push notifications
  • Difficult to get users to take off-app action
Screenshot of Dating Apps



Queer women apps:

Dating Apps Logos




Dating apps:


Dating Apps Logos

Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Bumble


NASTAD Contact Information

For any other questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Nicole Elinoff, Senior Manager, Prevention, at