Social Media: Who’s Doing it Right?

For this assignment I decided to look at Ottawa Public Health’s use of Social Media. They are present on the following platforms:

Organizational Mission

Their webpage has the following mission statement:


Ottawa Public Health (OPH) provides public health programs and services to individuals and communities while advocating for public policies that make our city and its residents healthier. OPH is a teaching health unit and works with all post secondary educational institutions in the area.


The website also has a page dedicated to describing its social media protocol. In addition to outlining expected behaviours it also provides this information:


Are you looking for reliable local health information? Do you have questions or comments? Connect with the City of Ottawa’s official source for health information.

If you follow us, you can expect content related to:
Ottawa Public Health awareness campaigns, programs and health promotion;
Newsworthy events involving public health organizations and health initiatives; and
Timely notifications that affect residents and partner/stakeholder organizations.


Target Audience

Given this mandate they have a very large target audience: anyone living in the Ottawa area. Looking through their various platforms I can see that they are targeting the following groups in particular:

  • Families
  • Seniors
  • Sexually active
  • New comers to Canada
  • Minority groups

Organizational Goals

Any good Social Media Strategy begin with the organizational goals. In this case Ottawa Public Health’s organizational goals would be related to the following:

  • Providing a broad range of health services to people living Ottawa
  • Providing education and advocacy on a broad range of health related topics
  • Advocating for public policies that support healthy communities

Strategic Marketing Objectives

I think that the following would be appropriate Marketing Objectives:

  • Increase Reach
  • Increase Credibility
  • Maintain Visibility
  • Develop Stronger Relationships With Customers

Social Media Objectives

In the case of Ottawa Public Health Social Media Objectives might be to:

  • Build an online community of your target market
  • Increase conversions from visitors to participants
  • Demonstrate thought leadership
  • Become a media resource
  • Increase online visibility

What Are They Doing Well?

 Content Creation

This is an example of an original Tweet created by Ottawa Public Health to educate it’s audience about how to protect themselves from West Nile virus. It has a simple message, uses #hashtags effectively, an eye catching image and a link back to it’s main web page where readers can find out more.

OPH Tweet

You can see how Ottawa Public Health uses various platforms differently. In this example it put the same post about West Nile on both Twitter and Facebook. Someone asked a question on the Facebook post about Lyme Disease, and OPH followed up with more information and a link to their page on Lyme Disease.

OPH Facebook Post
OPH Facebook Post

Again, you can see here how OPH is changing how it uses different social media platforms to reflect the kind of content, and also the expected audience. Their Instagram account uses a combination of infographics with text and #hashtags. This platform also has many more images of OPH workers at events throughout the city, creating a more friendly and welcoming vibe for readers.

OPH Instagram

OPH Instagram post part 2

Content Curation

Their feeds on each of the platforms contain a good balance of original created content (with the purpose of providing information, and also sometimes pointing back to its own webpage, or promoting services it offers), curated posts that point to other relevant service providers, retweets and posts from other organizations, and finally event retweets of retweets.

Here is an example of another tweet, this time pointing to information from another organization.

OPH Tweet

Creating Tone and Using Humour

Another strength in how Ottawa Public Health uses social media is their distinct sense of humour. Here is another example from their Instagram account. Users on this platform tent to be younger and will find the simple, not preachy message of this joke funny.

OPH Instagram

After having looked at how Ottawa Public Health uses its various platforms and the kind of original and curated content it uses I think I have a much better sense of how I could manage content for my own business. I am looking forward to reading about other organizations that use social medial well on everyone’s blogs.

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