5 Steps to Utilizing Social Media to Promote your Wellness Programs






5 Steps to Utilizing Social Media to Promote your Wellness Programs

Let’s start off by looking at some social media statistics – 2012 was a huge year for social media:

  •   100,000 Tweets were sent
  •   684,478 pieces of content were shared on Facebook
  •   2 million searches were done on Google
  •   48 hours of video were uploaded to YouTube
  •   $272,000 was spent by consumers online


Social Media Market Trends


  • More than 250 million people log in to facebook every day.
  • 6.5 million community pages launched in May, 2010 with no participation with the companies they present
  • 2 million web sites have integrated with Facebook since April 2010


  • Number of tweets daily have increased 30% over the past four months to approximately 53 million tweets per day 2
  • Twitter is growing as a top referrer for web video traffic and users who discovered a video via Twitter tend to stay on those videos longer 3


  • Ranks as the 2nd largest search engine after Google, illustrating that more people are looking to learn and get information through video 4
  • Consumers watch more health videos than food or celebrity videos 5

Sources: Facebook (1/9/11) 2DoubleClick Ad Planner by Goodle 3TublaneMogel May 2010

4Comscore (10/09) 5Google & OTX, Health Consumer Study, December 2009

 How do I get started?  I feel overwhelmed – there is a lot out there but the following 5 steps will help get you started using social media to communicate your wellness plans more effectively.

5 Steps to Integrate Social Media into your Wellness Plan

  • Survey your employees – find out what they want and/or need
  • Inventory your assets – look at what content you already have
  • Plan your strategy (editorial planning) – Plan a schedule for sharing information on a regular basis
  • Resourcing and staffing it – Figure out who is going to do what
  • Read, connect and practice – Get out there and look around

1. Survey

Here are some sample employee survey questions

  • Where and how do you like to receive information
  • How do you manage your health – and that of your family?
  • What Social Media platforms do you use?
  • What do you want and need the most?
  • Do you blog?
  • What are your hobbies or interests?.

Once you get this info, you will have a better understanding of channels that will be the best for you to use to promote your wellness programs.

 2. Taking inventory – Look at all your assets, printed materials, on-line resources, in-house materials and always utilize Kapnick as a resource for wellness materials that you can share.

 Print materials

  • Insurance Company/Administrator
  • In-house
  • Local/relevant providers
  • Online assets
  • Web pages
  • Videos/other

Employee data

  •  Surveys
  •  Choose/use data
  •  External resources and tools
  •  Calculators
  •  Games
  •  Information
  •  Kapnick Insurance Group

 3. Editorial planning – This step can seem a little overwhelming but start with small obtainable goals, like I will blog once a month on a wellness topic to my employees.

Based on the quality content you have harvested, create an editorial plan for the next 6-12 months.  Use multiple platforms to ensure that you’re reaching the greatest number of employees in the channels they prefer regarding their wellness programs.

I personally think that one of the best ways to get started in social media is to start a blog and use chunks of the blog to share on your social media platforms.

I want to stress that blog content MUST be original – no cut and paste – Google will eat you up for plagiarism.

4. Resourcing & Staffing It

  • Leverage your external resources – partners and vendors (Kapnick Insurance Group)
  • Build and leverage your own network
  • Use your best resources – your employees
  • Use images to tell your story
  • Leverage your external resources – again reach out to our health solutions department for wellness resources
  • Promote peer engagement on social media surrounding wellness programs

For example, I started having conversations with key employees and found we had some bloggers amongst us. At Kapnick we have 4 (possibly 5 bloggers) who blog on everything from health tips to cyber liability. This did not happen overnight, in fact, I still have to remind them that their blog is due every now and again,

And remember to – I encourage you to try SM to promote your wellness program to up your employee engagement and even if you are not ready to use it w/wellness, use it to promote your brand.

5. Read, connect and practice

  • Find an HR and a wellness blog or two to follow (like the Kapnick blog)
  • Join the MISHRM group on LinkedIn
  • Start a Facebook group for your wellness team
  • Create a Twitter account, look around and see what your competition is doing out there

Poke around on Twitter. You don’t even need to open account to socially stalk your competition to see what they are doing on SM.  Also, look at the big brands to see what they are doing and how you could apply this to your company and use these ideas to promote and engage your wellness programs through social media peer engagements.


Once you get accounts set up, you will find it is much more than a place to post info – each channel has a host of analytic tools.  You can look at the success of your posts and the demographics of who is engaging on different platforms.  This way you can see what it really working –  what people like and not like and tailor your programs based on results.

Here is an example of a brand promoting their wellness programs using social media – and doing it well:

Whole Foods Wellness Program

First they branded the program with a logo called – Health Starts Here. They use to promote all of their wellness programs. They found that their employees wanted store discounts (what do your employees want – do you know?) so they offer free biometric screening and you receive your discount amount based on your score.

Employee healthy discount incentive program.

Bronze – 22%

Silver – 25%

Gold – 27%

Platinum – 30%

 Whole Foods Largest Retailer on Twitter

Whole foods chose Twitter as their main platform to communicate all wellness to their employees. Some examples are – “Health fair in store 10 starts in five minutes”. They also use peer recognition and success stories to drive wellness engagement.

More and more companies are using social media to promote their wellness plans. I want to be clear that I am in no way saying for you to get rid of your traditional print materials, flyers and bulletin boards to highlight your programs. Think of social media as a new and additional way to communicate your message instantly and get instant feedback. The argument that some employees do not have internet access is fast falling flat. – most everyone has a Smart phone or internet access at home. Social media if done consistently, thoughtfully and with a strategy in place can truly drive the participation of your wellness plan and in turn impact the bottom line with healthier employees. And if you are not ready to use it for wellness at least have some brand presence out there on social media to promote your brand because I guarantee one or more of your competitors are out there doing it and probably pretty well – don’t be left in the social media dust. Good luck!