Social Media 101 – HealthUnlocked Academy

How to become a mobile charity & acquire new members without building a smartphone application

70% of people in the United Kingdom have a smartphone today.

60% of smartphone owners use it to access a social networking website.

50% of people with a profile on a social networking website follow 1 to 5 charities and 75% of them engage with those charities.

Joining a social network is your path to finding new followers and most importantly to always being with them, in their pocket!

But I know you’ve heard this already many times and you’ve probably thought to yourself:

  • “Thanks for that, but I’m not sure where to start…”

  • “Yes, I understand that social media is useful for my organisation but I’m afraid I don’t have enough time…”

If you read this blog post all the way to the end, I’ll resolve both of these concerns for you.

Let’s be clear, though you will definitely benefit by having multiple profiles across social media networks, as a patient organisation there are three crucial ones that we strongly recommend: Facebook, Twitter, and HealthUnlocked. The others are ‘Bonus’.


With more than 1 billion active members every month, Facebook is the world’s largest social networking website!

These members want to share your posts with their friends! According to recent research by the Pew Research Centre, 40% of men and 50% of women join FB specifically to share their knowledge and experiences with their friends and family.

And, crucially, 190 million members around the world access Facebook ONLY on their mobile device!



Twitter has 500+ million members and is growing at a very strong pace.

Of all the social networking websites out there, Twitter has one of the highest rates of engagement on mobile as 80% of its members are active on their mobile device!

As a side note, the fastest growing demographic is the 55-64 year age bracket, which I understand may be relevant to many patient organisations.



As a patient organisation it’s very important to have an audience that is focused on your interests. HealthUnlocked has 2+ million monthly visits (with 20% monthly growth) making it the fastest growing social network for health!

And our members want to engage with your organisation! In fact, in a recent survey, 70% said that they are interested in supporting the charities that manage their communities.

An added bonus, is that the the NHS Choices website refers visitors to communities managed by charities in the United Kingdom!

This explains why 75% of HU members didn’t know about the charity before they joined!


Great, so what?

It should be clear by now that as a patient organisation you have 2 benefits by joining Facebook, Twitter, and HealthUnlocked:

  • without even building a mobile application your organisation becomes mobile and your members can engage easily with you at anytime

  • you will reach many new members that may not have known about you otherwise

Got it, how do I get started?

Here’s a few do’s & don’ts to help you begin:

  • Do use the same username across all your social media profiles. That makes it much easier for people to find you.

  • Don’t over promote yourself. Your followers want to hear about you, but they also want you to share some general knowledge about your common interests.

  • Do build and maintain relationships. The relationships you build with your online followers can be invaluable as it’s these members who will make your charity viral!

  • Don’t be shy about asking for help. These people decided to follow you because in addition to learning more about you and your cause they also want to get involved and to support you. For example, a tweet where you ask to be retweeted can have a 12x higher chance of being retweeted!

  • Do share updates with enough frequency. If you start engaging with your followers but stop for a few months some of them may start to lose interest, so once you start building that relationship, keep it up!

And as an added tip, when you publish posts or tweets in your social media profile, do include images whenever possible as they drive much higher engagement. For example, tweets with images can get up to twice the engagement than if they were tweeted without an image!

Now you’re ready to get started:

  • Click here to create a Facebook Page

  • Click here to create a Twitter profile

  • Click here to create a HealthUnlocked community

For those of you who are only just launching your social media profile, I strongly recommend that once launched you invite your friends and family to act as your first advocates and evangelists to help promote your Facebook page, Twitter profile, or HealthUnlocked community.

But isn’t this going to take up too much time?

Once you’ve created your social media profile and launched it,it can take you as little as no more than 1 hour per week to get it running.

In the case of a HealthUnlocked community, once its been launched, many communities grow naturally and need no more than oversight. And in the case of Facebook or Twitter, you can use a free tool called Buffer to schedule a week’s worth of tweets and posts all on a Monday in less than 1 hour!



Are you a registered charity? If you are, there are two additional free tools no patient organisation should be without:

I hope that reading this blog post you’ve learned something about the benefits of having a presence on social media websites as well as a bit about how to go ahead with it.

And if you’re still with me, here’s the recorded video of the Social Media 101 Webinar hosted by the HU Academy:

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