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. 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.


increase in completed risk assessment quizzes YOY


new email contacts


increase in Kidney Smart class appointments YOY

DaVita Inc. is a Fortune® 500 company and one of the largest kidney care companies in the United States. It consists of two divisions: DaVita Kidney Care and DaVita Medical Group. DaVita Kidney Care delivers dialysis services to patients with chronic kidney failure and end-stage renal disease. DaVita Medical Group manages and operates medical groups and physicians, with the aim of transforming health care models and improving patients’ quality of life.

What they did

Our aim is to help educate people and encourage them to make lifestyle changes, big or small, that can prevent or slow the progression of kidney disease.

Bianca Anderson Social Media Manager DaVita Kidney Care
Streamline Social Media@1X

Streamline social media to transform results

DaVita is a large organization with many different business units, including clinical care, research and pharmaceutical interests. With 2,500 clinics nationwide, it can be hard to engage employees across business units and present a consistent brand image on social media.

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.

How they did it

Targeting And Amplifying@1X

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.

They created content focused on three goals:

  • Kidney disease content to compel people to take a risk assessment quiz
  • Nutrition advice to encourage people to download a no-cost cookbook
  • 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.

The Hootsuite Content Library helps us more effectively package and disseminate campaign material to other teams across the organization, resulting in increased sharing and, as a result, broader reach and engagement.

Bianca Anderson Social Media Manager DaVita Kidney Care
Scheduling Content@1X

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.

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.

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

The results

Building Awareness@1X

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 who are 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.

Another goal of the campaign was to have people complete a risk quiz to increase awareness of kidney disease among people who might be at risk. People who complete the quiz are more aware of their risk and can take steps to become better educated about kidney disease and how to prevent it. The campaign resulted in an 82 percent increase in risk quizzes being completed, compared to the previous year, with 80 percent of respondents arriving via social media. This was a huge increase from 2016, where 46 percent of the total number of quiz completions was driven from social media.

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.

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