Author(s): Lambert DN, Bishop LE, Guetig S, Frew PM
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The Emory Jane Fonda Center implemented the Start Strong Atlanta social marketing campaign, "Keep It Strong ATL", in 2007 to promote the development of healthy adolescent relationships and to foster the prevention of adolescent dating abuse among 11-14 year olds. OBJECTIVE: A formative evaluation was conducted to understand whether messages directed at the target audience were relevant to the program's relationship promotion and violence prevention goals, and whether the "Web 2.0" social media channels of communication (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, Tumblr, and Pinterest) were reaching the intended audience. METHODS: Mixed methodologies included qualitative interviews and a key informant focus group, a cross-sectional survey, and web analytics. Qualitative data were analyzed using constant comparative methodology informed by grounded theory. Descriptive statistics were generated from survey data, and web analytics provided user information and traffic patterns. RESULTS: Results indicated that the Keep It Strong ATL social marketing campaign was a valuable community resource that had potential for broader scope and greater reach. The evaluation team learned the importance of reaching adolescents through Web 2.0 platforms, and the need for message dissemination via peers. Survey results indicated that Facebook (ranked 6.5 out of 8) was the highest rated social media outlet overall, and exhibited greatest appeal and most frequent visits, yet analytics revealed that only 3.5\% of "likes" were from the target audience. These results indicate that the social media campaign is reaching predominantly women (76.5\% of viewership) who are outside of the target age range of 11-14 years. CONCLUSIONS: While the social media campaign was successfully launched, the findings indicate the need for a more focused selection of communication channels, timing of media updates to maximize visibility, balancing message tone and delivery, and incorporating differentiated messaging for the target audiences. Collaboration with parents and community partners is also emphasized in order to expand the campaign's reach and create more channels to disseminate relationship promotion and dating violence prevention messaging to the intended audience.
This article was published in JMIR Res Protoc
and referenced in Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism