Establishment, messaging, reach, and engagement of Tobacco Control Program smoking cessation websites and social media platforms
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The emergence of social media technologies and web-based interventions sponsored by many state Tobacco Control Programs now provides an alternative for smokers seeking assistance in quitting smoking. However, there is little known about social media establishment, messaging, reach and engagement among state Tobacco Control Programs. This study provides a descriptive analysis about how states are reaching their populations and engaging them through online approaches. Twenty-four state Tobacco Control Programs were included in this study sample. States delivered all available website and social media data from calendar years 2010-2012. An internet search was conducted of state websites for the presence of Facebook pages, Twitter accounts, and YouTube pages. To understand the rate of establishment of each platform, we conducted searches for presence during quarter four of each year. Data was abstracted and coded with the total number of messages published, along with the type of messaging posted. Web and Social Media Platform metrics were used to quantify the descriptive data. All website data were collected by the programs using Google Analytics, while all Facebook and Twitter data were collected using Facebook Insights and Radian6, respectively. All reach and engagement data were adjusted per 100,000 population and smokers. Sixteen states (67%), have a presence on Facebook, while twelve states (50%) had a presence on Twitter and YouTube. Sixteen states with a presence on Facebook published 393 total messages with a majority of the messages published were links (36%). Eleven states published 702 messages on Twitter, of which 76% were links. When adjusting for smokers, Vermont had the highest number of monthly visits at 1,283 and Wyoming had the highest number of monthly page views at 18,121. Florida had the highest number of page likes (5,877), while Vermont had the highest total clicks (133,611). For “people talking about this,” Florida had the highest engagement with 4,521. Nebraska had the highest number of followers (393). With the increased growth of social media platforms, the tobacco control community is provided with an opportunity to reach and engagement with their populations. All participating programs are reaching and engaging with their populations when compared to the general public.