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The Impact of Social Media

Posted By Colleen Dougherty, NC Recreation & Park Association, Monday, April 20, 2015

Happy Monday,

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the 2015 NCRPA Marketing Summit in Durham, NC. The information shared during the sessions was extremely valuable. As digital media continues to grow it is being embraced and utilized by an assortment of agencies. The questions is; how can we use digital media to promote wellness?

Why is this relevant for wellness? Social media is one of the strongest, (not to mention free, mostly), tools that your parks department can use to their advantage. Social media is one of the primary modes of communication to broadcast breaking and updated news and information. Still not convinced? According to the Pew Research Center, as of September 2014: 71% of online adults use Facebook, 23% of online adults use Twitter, 26% of online adults use Instagram and 28% of online adults use Pinterest, and 28% of adults use LinkedIn.

What can you do with those social media outlets? Facebook allows us to post visually engaging content. You can promote your department’s programs and events by posting pictures and stories. The key is to find a story to tell to create an emotional response. This could be sharing a story of one of your staff members or families in the community. Twitter is widely used by journalist, companies and individuals. It is easy to build a network of users by creating hashtags and geotags. It is also great for instant and constant news, both to share and receive. Instagram can be used to create photo and video content, check out the department of the interiors page for some inspiration ( Create an engaging and creative competition for users to post pictures helping promote your department. Lastly, Pinterest is good to organize topics, such as arts, sports and special events. Check out how Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources is using Pintrest (

The high percentage of online users tells us that we should communicate to our communities more through social media. Your department can have impact by strategically sharing useful information, whether that be regarding healthy eating or physical activity ideas. Spark ideas by sharing pictures, videos and stories of health related topics. According to the Social Media Examiner, photos accounted for 75% of content posted by Facebook pages worldwide. As well as adding a photo to your tweet, can boost your retweets by 35%. These statistics indicate that by posting visual content related to health and wellness can help increase overall engagement on your social media pages!

We can inspire our communities through the use of the internet by sharing health related information and providing tools to empower change in their daily lives. If you have any ideas on using social media as a positive reinforcement, then please email us or submit them on the wellness site here: (,


Tags:  Awareness  Health  Social Media  Wellness 

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