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Social media to help raise kidney disease awareness

DaVita Inc. found a way to use social media to help raise awareness, deliver education, recruit staff and ultimately save lives through targeted content and engaging social campaigns. Kidney disease affects one in seven people in the U.S., but many don’t learn they have it until it’s too late—resulting in dialysis or a kidney transplant. Using National Kidney Month to raise awareness resulted in 10 times more Kidney Smart® class sign-ups.

Streamline social media to transform results

DaVita’s small marketing and communications team wanted to streamline the way they managed social media and make better use of their social channels to raise awareness of kidney disease. They identified National Kidney Month in March 2017 as a huge opportunity to reach people who may be at risk from the disease and their families in five priority markets: Southern California, Denver, Atlanta, Houston and Washington, DC. In order to leverage National Kidney Month, the team couldn’t reuse other campaigns or take over the corporate websites—they needed to generate the right amount of focused content and distribute it at the right times to reach a wider audience. They turned to Hootsuite to streamline their efforts and help their message reach as many at-risk people as possible—with extremely healthy results.

  • +82%
    increase in completed risk assessment quizzes YOY
  • 230
    new email contacts
  • +90%
    increase in Kidney Smart class appointments YOY

They created content focused on three goals:

1. Kidney disease content to compel people to take a risk assessment quiz
2. Nutrition advice to encourage people to download a no-cost cookbook
3. Educational content to drive sign-ups for no-cost Kidney Smart classes

However, creating content was just the first step. DaVita’s challenge was to ensure that their 40 or so social accounts shared the right content at the right times. The Hootsuite Content Library allowed the team to easily distribute copy, images and other content assets to their teams, including guidance around how to use these assets. The content library aims to reduce the risk of non-compliant or inappropriate content being shared on social media, and to streamline team workflows by reducing approval times.

Targeting and amplifying their content

As with any social campaign, creating enough appropriate, shareable and useful content would be the key to success. In DaVita’s case, their content was focused around building awareness of kidney disease and who might be at risk. They also wanted to help people take proactive measures such as healthier eating to reduce risk and improve their health.

Scheduling content to save time and effort

Conscious of the need to avoid overwhelming their followers’ feeds with too much content, the DaVita team made full use of Hootsuite’s scheduling features. After populating the content library with preapproved posts, they then scheduled posts to appear at regular intervals during National Kidney Month.Using the calendar in the Hootsuite dashboard, the team was able to publish posts directly from Hootsuite without needing to log in to Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and their other social networks. This also meant they could reuse one piece of content across multiple platforms to increase its reach.With a more efficient publishing process in place, the social team’s time was freed up to engage with people on social media, creating conversation rather than just broadcasting content. For example, the team directs people who have dietary questions or want clarification on something they had read about kidney disease to the appropriate resource for more information.

We set up streams in Hootsuite Insights to track conversation and engagement related to our campaign. This helps show us the associated spikes in engagement around our social activity.
Bianca Anderson
Social Media Manager
DaVita Kidney Care

Using social to drive media coverage

The social team also supported the efforts of the PR team, which in turn supplied content that could be distributed across the company’s social media channels. One person from the PR team was assigned to each of the five priority markets so they could focus on pitching stories there.

The team looked for human interest stories—for example, finding local dieticians who could appear on cooking segments of morning TV shows. Thanks to the streamlined social media management through Hootsuite, the team could quickly amplify earned media content to spread their messages as widely as possible.

Using the content library, the DaVita PR team was able to distribute press releases more efficiently than ever before.

The results

Building awareness and knowledge in order to help save lives

A major campaign goal was to increase awareness of DaVita’s resources for kidney disease education, including its no-cost Kidney Smart classes, especially among people who have just been diagnosed with kidney disease, but are not on dialysis. The classes are available to the community and can be attended in-person and online, and involve social workers and dietitians trained in kidney disease education classes.

Getting someone into one of these classes, particularly an in-person class, is an excellent way to help them start to make healthier choices that could help prevent kidney disease. The campaign generated a 90 percent increase in Kidney Smart class sign-ups compared to 2016.

The team also wanted to increase the number of downloads of DaVita’s no-cost kidney-friendly cookbook. The campaign again surpassed the team’s goal of cookbooks downloaded by 13 percent. In addition to distributing valuable and practical health information, every download creates opportunities for DaVita to continue to build relationships.

Products used in this study

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