Ashley Anderson from UCLA Health System shares how she collaborated across departments to execute a successful campaign for Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Last May, UCLA Health System Social Media Manager Ashley Anderson and her team were approached by their Division of Digestive Diseases about putting together a big integrated campaign for colorectal cancer awareness screenings.

Ashley and her team immediately started planning on the campaign and connecting with teams across the hospital to make it a success.

According to Ashley, the process started with several meetings with their colleagues in Marketing and Communications to set everything in motion.

“We had a little less than a year to figure out what our goals were, how we wanted to accomplish them, and how we were going to measure the campaign’s effectiveness against what we were trying to accomplish with our goals,” she said.

And for Ashley’s team and their stakeholders in the Division of Digestive Diseases, their primary goals were creating buzz and awareness around the importance of screenings and talking to your doctor about them.

“We wanted to see if the campaign made a difference with various parts of the patient population, those who would be the most likely to get a screening,” said Ashley.

In all, the planning and preparation process took approximately 11 months.

This campaign was a great example of what we can do together working in tandem with various departments and coming together for a common goal. Ashley Anderson
After starting the conversations in May of 2018, by fall they were deciding on the different components of the campaign they wanted to focus on and create content around.

By January and February, they were creating that content, and then finally scheduling everything out in February for a launch in March, which is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

Ashley said throughout that timeline, having consistent collaboration across their teams made a big difference.

“This was the first time a social media initiative was really driven and championed by a division in this way,” she said. “They were extremely helpful, because they wanted it to be successful too.”

As part of that collaboration, the Division of Digestive Diseases helped secure patient interviews, schedule different components of the campaign, and bring all the different pieces of content together for their website.

For executing this campaign, Ashley and her team wanted to utilize every channel to engage with their audience.

This was the first time a social media initiative was really driven and championed by a division in this way. Ashley Anderson
“We created everything from patients stories to promoting different community events about colorectal cancer and general awareness topics,” she said. “We also had Kareem Abdul Jabbar as an influencer partner, who created videos with us that he shared from his account.”

They also put together webinars and other video content that was created with some of their physicians that they shared across their social media channels.

In all, they created over 100 pieces of content for the campaign.

Ashley said a big part of ensuring they could track the effectiveness of such a multifaceted campaign was the hashtag they used across channels.

By putting together their #UCLAColonChampion hashtag and deciding to use it as part of their multi-channel strategy for the campaign, Ashley said they were able to track engagement and get statistics from the whole campaign. They estimated the hashtag alone got over 23-million impressions on Twitter.

“It was pretty successful in terms of engagement and getting clicks to the sub site that we created specifically for colorectal screenings,” said Ashley. “And from our content across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we estimate that we got over 300K impressions over the duration of the campaign.”

Internally, the success from the campaign has ignited some interest across the health system to create similar campaigns in the future.

We wanted to see if the campaign made a difference with various parts of the patient population, those who would be the most likely to get a screening. Ashley Anderson
“People are excited to create similar campaigns for different awareness months,” said Ashley. “This campaign also made us take another look at the things we were measuring and how we can measure them.”

She said this campaign was a big step for them, and proved the value of having different facets of marketing, media relations, communications, and the health divisions come together for an effort of this scale.

“This campaign was a great example of what we can do together working in tandem with various departments and coming together for a common goal,” she said. “It sets the bar for some of the engagements we could potentially see for baseline measurements and what could be effective for campaigns like this in the future.”

One of Ashley’s key takeaways from this process was that having the amount of time they did to plan was instrumental to their success.

“The more time you have, the better off you’ll be,” she said.

And she emphasized that, especially with the number of teams involved and the content they were putting out, taking the time to make sure everyone is bought in and things are done right makes a big difference.

She also said the champions within the Division of Digestive Diseases and within her team who helped them execute were crucial.

“They’re the front line staff and are seeing folks every day, so they understand what people are saying and help us reflect that on our social channels,” she said. “It’s nice to be able to showcase those stories and the different things we want to get people engaged in for their health.”

As far as internal successes and takeaways go, Ashley said this campaign really proved that education about social media across teams in a health system is crucial.

We created everything from patients stories to promoting different community events about colorectal cancer and general awareness topics. Ashley Anderson
“Not everyone understands what social media can do or the power of it,” she said. “Being able to educate people so they understand the importance of it and how it can be used to accomplish their various goals is a key component to our work being successful and ensuring our campaigns are as strong as they can be.”

Ashley Anderson has been a member of SocialMedia.org Health since 2018. You can follow her on LinkedIn.