Using social media effectively

Here is an example of a social media campaign developed by RNAO to call on the Ontario government to mandate recommendations set out in its Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee. The campaign incorporated the hashtags #LTC #BasicCareGuarantee and #4Hours4Seniors to raise awareness of the staffing crisis in long-term care (LTC) and encourage the public, health-care providers, the government, LTC residents and their families to mobilize change. As the campaign evolved, so did the visuals and the messaging. The three examples below show stages of the campaign as it progressed from good, to better, to best as it gained attention and momentum.

Good example
Protect nursing home residents Action Alert

An Action Alert (AA) was developed to mobilize collective action to advocate for nursing home residents. The link to the AA, the graphic, the messaging and the hashtag #4Hours4Seniors were all shared on social media to urge others to sign and share the AA, and use the hashtag to contribute to the dialogue of the LTC crisis. The social media campaign aimed to support the goal set out in the AA – encourage as many people as possible to add their signature to urge action from key political leaders (in this case, the premier and minister of LTC).

This is a good example because it incorporates a graphic, supportive messaging, a call-to-action (the link to the AA) and a specific hashtag.  

Better example
Senior long-term care residents holding signs on a zoom call asking for 4 hours of care

This example is from RNAO staff holding signs identifying why #4Hours4Seniors matters to them and includes reasons, such as compassion, respect and an end to ageism. The #hashtag is used consistently and individual reasons for supporting the cause are illustrated; however, no faces are shown, just the hands holding the signs.  

This is a better example of a social media campaign because it brings a personal touch to the campaign and allows supporters to answer why they want to join the conversation. It also brought life to the hashtag and to the purpose of the campaign. 

Best example
Long-term care resident in her room holding a sign asking for more care
Long-term care resident in his room holding a sign asking for more care

RNAO collaborated with F.J. Davey Home in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada to encourage residents to share their “why” for wanting #4Hours4Seniors. It followed the same idea as the “better” example, but this time it truly brought a face to the reason for the campaign in the first place. RNAO shared the photos and quotes from residents on its social media feeds (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) alongside the hashtag #4Hours4Seniors.

One example: M. Doan, a senior living at the F.J. Davey Home who said: “I am a very independent person, but my wife on the other hand isn’t and she means the world to me. With four hours of care, it doesn’t need to be rushed. And who wouldn’t want to see her beautiful smile for four hours!" (

The photos are powerful as they show a real-life married couple living in a LTC home – two of the many residents RNAO is advocating for through its AA and ongoing call for a Nursing Home Basic Care Guarantee. The posters they are holding express their personal values of dignity and comfort.

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