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The role of Instagram in public health education in COVID-19

Instagram in public health education

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Instagram in public health education
Instagram in public health education

The coronavirus pandemic has been an unprecedented experience for everyone, including the government, public health authorities, and national leaders who were struggling at the beginning to find ways of combating the pandemic effectively. The pandemic’s unprecedented scale and impact compelled governments to take some extreme measures like declaring lockdowns, advising self-quarantine and physical distancing, and practicing good hygiene like washing hands frequently with soap. Wearing a mask when moving across public places and avoiding crowded and enclosed spaces are among several health advisories aimed at cutting off the cycle of infection.

The pandemic has put enormous pressure on the public health system and battered the economy besides dealing heavy blows to social structures. The government’s commitment to take bold public health approaches would require public health professionals’ interventions backed by the strong national leadership.

During the crisis, the biggest risk for people at large, healthcare professionals and other frontline workers is the lack of knowledge, awareness, and preparedness. The challenge is in working out ways to pass on the information and knowledge about the current state of disease. The statistics and information about health threats travel among the public faster than the spread of pandemic or at least at par. To attain the challenging task with ease, governments and the public health authorities are using the vast network of social media channels for more effective, timely, and authentic communication and sharing of information about various aspects of the pandemic. To engage with the target audience in the best possible manner, Instagram is the chosen social media channel playing a stellar role in information dissemination, creating awareness, and alerting people.

Why choose Instagram?

Since the coronavirus outbreak in January 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a worldwide pandemic, Instagram was quick to react to the health emergency.Instagram portrayed itself as a responsible social media channel to help people access accurate information to keep them safe and protected.  Instagram took some steps quite early to equip the platform with updates to make it more effective in earning users’ trust that could rely on its authenticity.

The updates included more educational resources in Instagram Search, adding stickers to vouch for the authenticity of the information, and retaining Covid19 accounts in recommendations by considering the credibility of the organization that posted it.

Countering fake news and information

Realizing the effectiveness of Instagram to present and share authentic information, governments and public health authorities use the platform to spread health education and various advisories about Covid19.  The platform gives users confidence about consuming genuine information, which helps to stay away from the plethora of health-threatening information in circulation.  Using Instagram makes it possible to deliver accurate and reliable information that educates people about measures taken for controlling the infection. Mass education about the proper behavior during the pandemic will help people gain confidence to combat the disease more effectively. They would also know how to take care of their overall wellness and wellbeing during difficult times.

Sharing stories

During the crisis, people need to identify proper health-related behavior and abide by the health advisories issued from time to time to deal with the crisis more effectively. The biggest public health campaigns of the century are playing out on Instagram as it earns the widest exposure and high engagement. The public health authorities are aware that bare facts and information do not impact viewers, like real-life stories, which are more inspirational. Launching campaigns on Instagram to depict some stories of people dealing with the pandemic has a deeper impact in bringing about positive behavioral changes in people who empower them to deal with the pandemic more effectively.

Taking a leaf from Influencer marketing

Authorities are looking to make the best use of the features of Instagram during Covid19, well known for launching high-power influencer marketing campaigns. They are collaborating with influencer marketing companies to convey their messages through content created by influencers. Instead of posting written advisories, the content shows how some people adapt to the new normal by using masks, washing hands frequently with soap, keeping the surfaces sanitized, and maintaining physical distancing. Demonstrating the safe habits of living during the pandemic has a much deeper impact on people than sharing pages of information that seem uninteresting.

 When people are struggling to find ways of coping with the demanding situations during prolonged home confinement, it is more helpful to show them the ways by sharing videos of other people who have found some better solutions to the problems.

The deep impact of influencers helps people shift their behaviors towards better public health. It also gives them a sense of belongingness as they understand how the pandemic is affecting communities and that they are not alone.

Measuring the campaign effectiveness

 The interactive campaigns launched on Instagram create higher engagement that reflects in the number of likes gathered. While it takes some time for any content to gain popularity, the rate of collecting likes organically will be slow at the beginning and then gradually increase through more sharing. To speed up garnering likes, it is possible to buy likes from Blastup.com that offer likes from real people that generate genuine engagement.

Video and live content is more trustworthy

Instagram has already established its credentials as a trustworthy social media channel, and posting content on the platform automatically acquires viewers’ trust. Also, the opportunity to post real time videos enhances the trust level many more times. People can gather much more information from videos that reveal a lot and helps to draw the correct conclusions.

The content on Instagram bears the stamp of authenticity, and its wide sharing ensures better public participation in fighting the pandemic and preventing it. From training and caring to epidemiological data sharing to tips about healthy lifestyle and general prevention guidelines, the public health authorities can be in constant touch with people, making the public more confident of winning the war against the pandemic. It is  a great way of reaching to many people at a time.

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