This research article highlights that social media messaging (particularly on Instagram) may be most effective when known health organizations use solution-based messaging, incorporate visual imagery, and acknowledge public fears and concerns.
By examining Ebola-related social media posts on Twitter and Instagram from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease and Control, and Doctors without Borders, researchers determined that Instagram, in particular, is a useful platform for establishing meaningful, interactive communication with the public during global health crises. Social media messaging is most effective when strategic health risk communication principles are followed to move away from top-down communication towards more meaningful, interactive dialogue. This helps connect health care providers and organizations with the public. Specifically, it is important to build a strong social media presence with frequent, consistent, interactive communication; counterbalance negative messages with a greater number of positive messages; utilize visuals for a longer-lasting effect; and disseminate solution-based messages.