NHS Education for Scotland’s (NES) Nursing, Midwifery & Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Directorate, wanted to increase its social media presence. In May 2017 Ann Rae (Principal Educator, NMAHP) and Elaine Figgins (Associate Director, NMAHP) established an NMAHP Twitter Group and in June 2017 the @NESnmahp Twitter account was launched.
It offers a professional networking platform, where ideas and information can be heard and shared. It’s an up-to-date and appropriate way to receive real-time, specific information in an easily accessible headline format.
We came together as a Group – made up of clinical practitioners, educators and business support staff – that hadn’t worked together before. Each of us brought varying social media skills and knowledge, from the complete novice to hardened tweeters! We thought about how to best connect, communicate and share – both internally and externally – what we wanted to achieve and how best to demonstrate impact. We used a quality improvement (QI) approach, considered our aim, the things which would impact on achieving the aim and how we would measure this.
In the initial stages of coming together these are the things that worked well…
GOVERNANCE & GUIDANCE
- Alan Gillies (Analyst Business Partner, Digital) undertook a literature review for the Team to ensure we used the evidence to support our work
- Making sure we were aware of our organisation’s social media policy, as well as that of the professional regulators
- Developing guidance so Team members felt supported, and equipped to deal with any challenges
- Using QI tools to help keep us on track!
- Linking across our programmes within NES to ensure a variety of Tweets were generated which enabled exposure to the wide range of work we’re involved in.
- Connecting with our audience – we explored who the key people and influencers were in each of our professional areas across all sectors and made sure we followed them and tagged them in relevant posts.
- We worked closely with our Communications Team at NES. Initially, we Tweeted from the NES Corporate Twitter account and the NMAHP account reTweeted. This helped our Tweets to be seen widely, to increase our followers quickly and had an impact on our activity.
- Supporting each other – finding a Twitter buddy within the Group to cover Twitter together was crucial. This included checking whether the wording was right, if certain tweets were okay to retweet and generally a bit of hand holding until we felt confident enough to go solo.
- Supporting others – we held lunch-time sessions or ‘brown bag lunches’ where colleagues could gain support around using Twitter to support their own practice. We used the Twitterversity resources to support this.
- Planning was crucial. Twitter is a standing item on NES programme and team agendas to ensure we plan social media activity in advance for any conferences, resources, or learning opportunities
- Tools and platforms – we tried and tested several platforms and tools to support the process. The tools that worked particularly well were:
- Microsoft Planner – holds all our communication and group minutes, notes and outputs. The calendar function enables us to have daily cover.
- Trello – to manage all social media activity across NES. Allows planning for events well in advance
- Tweetdeck – used to schedule Tweets in advance and monitor the account
- Twitter analytics – provides us with the account data
- Followerwonk – provides in-depth analysis of the account including top influencers, who actively engages with the account etc.
Once the account started to generate some activity, we used the data to help us understand, manage and grow the account. We’ve just revised our aim and hope to increase our followers to 4,500 by March 2020.
MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL
As a Team, we continually discuss how we can reach a larger number of practitioners and meet our target. This has involved us using the data and reflecting on times where there seemed to be high levels of traffic and engagement. It was particularly noted that the account was very active during national events with spikes in followers, mentions and reTweets. There may be value in coordinating attendance at events to ensure a Twitter presence to generate a buzz around national topics and agendas.
We’re always looking to expand our network and understand the context of health in practice. The team is considering how Twitter Chats may contribute to this as well as safe practice on national education initiative and projects.
SO, WHAT NEXT?
We’ll continue to reflect, plan and engage in the wonderful world of Twitter with the hope of connecting, communicating and sharing with as wide an audience as possible. Future blogs, campaigns and other creative ideas are constantly on the agenda at the ‘Team’ huddles. This is not only to meet our goals, but to ensure that we can use Twitter to its fullest potential and positively contribute to the health and well-being of the country and beyond.
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