What we do
One key to countering individual and organisational constraints to scaling up stigma-reduction efforts is to increase the depth and breadth of dialogue among key players. The social media space is well-suited to encouraging such dialogue, since it provides anonymity for those who need it and is readily accessible and available to a large global audience.Sonalini Mirchandani 1
Still, in order to engage effectively via social media, we first had to take a close look at what kind of messages we wanted to share and how to best convey them via various social media channels. Our initial step; therefore, was to spend time together with our steering and advisory committees thinking through our messages and how to best utilise various social media assets to share those messages in compelling new ways. From there we began implementing a campaign comprised of:
- Daily engagement via the SAN Facebook page and Twitter handle: We began more actively and routinely posting a variety of information, resources, events, videos and infographics on Facebook and Twitter.
- Campaigns to connect with, celebrate and inspire the community: For example, we initiated a weekly interactive quiz on Facebook –#MythbusterMonday – designed to engage various audiences, educate the public in a dynamic way and make people question their own conceptions / misconceptions about HIV. We also started using the hash tag #StigmaWarriors on Twitter as a way to celebrate and extend the reach of the great work being done by individuals across the globe to combat HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and to inspire others.
- Strategic outreach and partnerships: We began engaging with organisations that already had large followings on Twitter and Facebook and a shared interest in reducing HIV-related stigma and discrimination, and we formed strategic partnerships with individual activists and bloggers.
- Weekly blog posts: We increased our blog posts to at least two per month and expanded our cadre of authors to include SAN members, guest bloggers, steering committee members and members of the general public.
- Quarterly e-newsletter: We initiated an e-newsletter that highlights key timely topics and ties them back to the work we’ve been engaged in over the previous quarter. The newsletters serve as a way to provide the HIV community and broader public with links to key advocacy topics, emerging best practices, new research findings and useful stigma-reduction tools on the SAN website.
- Ongoing monitoring and evaluation: Part of our goal with this initiative was to increase our flexibility in producing content and presenting it in compelling ways based on public reaction and usage of our social tools. As such, ongoing monitoring and evaluation is central to the project itself, since it enables us to effectively evolve and adapt as we move forward.