Evaluating social media's capacity to develop engaged audiences in health promotion settings: use of Twitter metrics as a case study

Health Promot Pract. 2013 Mar;14(2):157-62. doi: 10.1177/1524839912469378. Epub 2012 Dec 27.


Use of social media in health promotion and public health continues to grow in popularity, though most of what is reported in literature represents one-way messaging devoid of attributes associated with engagement, a core attribute, if not the central purpose, of social media. This article defines engagement, describes its value in maximizing the potential of social media in health promotion, proposes an evaluation hierarchy for social media engagement, and uses Twitter as a case study to illustrate how the hierarchy might function in practice. Partnership and participation are proposed as culminating outcomes for social media use in health promotion. As use of social media in health promotion moves toward this end, evaluation metrics that verify progress and inform subsequent strategies will become increasingly important.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Community Participation*
  • Health Communication / methods
  • Health Promotion*
  • Humans
  • Public Health
  • Social Media*
  • United States