Expanding Wellness Participation with Social Media

Social media has dramatically changed the way we communicate. Ten years ago memorandums and postage-paid letters were the preferred methods for sharing information, but today people spend more time communicating through email or texting on their phones, touch pads or other mobile devices.

Surveys indicate that up to 80 percent of Americans now routinely visit more than 500 health information sites on the Web to research problems or concerns. Another study discovered that more than 40 percent of Web users also use social media tools, including Facebook®, Twitter®, blogs or news services, to learn more about health problems. These are not surprising numbers, given our society’s demand for instant information and preferences for personalized communication.

Many employers are adopting social media tools to educate employees on wellness programs, encourage participation in activities and more. Here’s why:

  • Convenient communication – Information online is available to employees at any time
  • Instant information and responses – Employees can quickly learn about the latest news on wellness programs, ask questions, or provide immediate feedback; employers can respond promptly with answers, update communications or adjust program components
  • Lowers costs – Although it takes time to craft and distribute information, employers using social media tools enjoy significant savings compared to the traditional communication costs associated with printing and postage
  • Promotes your company – Social media features borderless communication, providing an excellent opportunity to educate other readers about your company, develop positive awareness and reach potential employees or customers

Although wellness programs were first introduced in American businesses more than 25 years ago, employees today are just starting to embrace the value of managing their medical concerns proactively by adopting healthier lifestyles. Detailed, regular communication is essential to encourage employees to change habits, make better choices and participate in wellness activities.

Review the communication recommendations offered in the following article, Getting Results-Based Wellness Communications Right, offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

What do you think? Share your feedback and tips for improving benefits communication.