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.

Choosing Social Media Usernames and Handles

One of the most basic things to do when starting a Social Media Marketing Plan is to set up profiles on the Social Media platforms of your choice.  I’ve been using a few different platforms for a while now, so I found the technical aspects of this easy enough.  What has me stumped right now is trying to think of a user name for my business that will work across multiple platforms.

I found this article How to Choose a Twitter Handle by KerriLynn Engle at the Blogging Wizard was a good place to start.  Two key pieces of advice are to use handles that are consistent across platforms and to be closely related to your brand name so that its easy for your audience to recall.

Here are the rules for usernames on some of the platforms I am looking at:


domain is the address, or main URL, that people type in the browser to get to your Web site. Think of a domain like an address to your house. When someone looks for you, they can find your address. A domain name allows your site to be easily remembered by your readers, look more professional, and change Web hosts or hosted blog solutions at will.

A blog name can be anything, but try to think of something that

  • Matches your blog name.
  • Is based on your topic keywords.
  • Is humorous or memorable.

You can find technical advice on how and why to register a domain name here.


username, or short URL, lets you easily promote your business or organization in a variety of other channels, including TV, radio, and print. If you don’t have a username, the frustration of having to remember a long URL means you’d lose a lot of potential customers. Your username appears after when someone views your Page.

  • Usernames must be at least 5 characters long.
  • Your username can only use upper and lower case letters, numbers,and periods.
  • They can’t contain generic terms or extensions (.com, .net).
  • Here’s a link on the technical stuff for creating a Facebook Username


Airbnb                                                                                                                                 @Airbnb

Your Instagram username is how you are recognized on Instagram: All activity, from the content you post to how you engage with others, is associated with your username. The username is at the top of the profile.

  • Usernames can be up to 30 characters long.
  • Your username can be upper or lowercase letters, numbers, periods, and underscores.
  • You can’t include symbols or other punctuation marks as a part of your username.
  • Find advice on the technical stuff for creating an Instagram Username here.



  • Your username can be 3 to 30 characters.
  • The only characters you can use are upper and lowercase letters and numbers. NO spaces, symbols or punctuation.
  • You can find the technical stuff for creating a Pinterest Profile here.



Your Twitter name has power and influence on search engine optimization (SEO), which translates to how close to the top of a search results list you appear in a search engine such as Yahoo! or Google. If you’re a business, consider using a valuable keyword as your Twitter name.

  • Your handle (the part that follows @) can be up to 15 characters.
  • Your name (the part that comes under the handle) can be up to 20 characters.
  • The only characters you can use are uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and the underscore character ( _ ).
  • Here’s a link on the technical stuff for creating a Twitter Handle

And of course, the most difficult thing about all of this is that once you go to set up your profile, you may find that your name is already taken! You can use a service like to help you see if your choice is taken across multiple platforms.

What other things do businesses need to keep in mind when choosing their username(s) for the various platforms?