This article originally appeared in the November/December 2020 issue of the Ontario Medical Review magazine.
by Media & Social Media Team
OMA Member Relations, Advocacy & Communications
In the past few years, the OMA has introduced several initiatives to strengthen the position of Ontario’s Doctors as thought leaders, and to build the OMA brand. Among these initiatives is a more strategic, proactive media approach – one that has resulted in record media and social media coverage in 2020.
We received 490 media inquiries in 2020, nearly double the number from 2019, and almost three times as many as the average of the previous five years. Since moving to a new platform which allows for significantly increased ability to share our content, we have had over 2,000 downloads of our podcast series “Spotlight on Health,” launched in 2019, and have gained almost 20,000 new followers across our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels.
Additionally, the OMA was mentioned positively more than 14,000 times in the news media since late February when we received our first COVID-19-related media inquiry. That is significantly more often than similar organizations.
Our success can be attributed to the fact that we positioned Ontario’s Doctors as thought leaders from the outset of the pandemic. We provided timely, evidence-based material to the media on important issues such as the supply of personal protective equipment or hygiene practices people should adhere to, such as washing their hands or wearing a mask. These were new behaviours the public was expected to adopt in these new times and we were asked to repeat our expert advice frequently.
Doctors’ Day was one of our most successful campaigns to date and included a large social media presence. Thousands of people across Ontario showed their support for physicians by shining a light, be it a candle, flashlight, their phone or other illumination. Doctors’ Day was the No. 1 trending topic on Twitter that day. More than 10,000 user-generated social media posts created more than 67 million impressions and 973,209 engagements across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
While summer is usually a relatively slow time for news, a July 17 OMA news release that called on the government to rethink opening indoor bars lead to dozens of interviews for OMA President Dr. Samantha Hill. It was one of our most successful news releases in the last two years.
Media coverage picked up again in the fall. On Nov. 12, we broke our own record and released an even more successful news release when we asked Premier Doug Ford to fix his colour-coded framework for tightening and loosening pandemic restrictions. This resulted in more than 1,000 media mentions.
November also saw a significant spike in most of the OMA’s major Twitter metrics. During and following the OMATalks Healing the Gender Gap event on Nov. 27, OMATalks was the Association’s top performing Twitter topic for November 2020 – a significant achievement considering the social media success around the Nov. 12 news release.
The hashtag #OMATalks was used more than 50 times. Broad adoption of this hashtag helps the OMA identify, capture and brand all tweets related to OMA thought leadership, and strengthens the #OMATalks branding and hashtag for future use.
The media team will continue to develop its strategic, proactive efforts to continue to build on the success to date.
2020 has brought successes to the OMA social media channels that you may not be aware of. While @ontariosdoctors had verified status on Twitter, this year we secured verified status on our Facebook and Instagram accounts. Verified status, indicated by a checkmark icon, confirms that an account is a trusted source of information. On Instagram, it also confers extra features such as the use of the swipe up function on stories.
Every year, Twitter Canada recognizes the Twitter accounts that received the most mentions across entertainment and sports categories. For 2020, they recognized five Canadian public health accounts that “gave Canadians the latest real-time COVID-19 content and emerged as key accounts to follow as a nation adjusted to the various stages of the pandemic.”
@OntariosDoctors made the list! This is a significant recognition of the impactful work we have done throughout the pandemic. The Twitter blog also noted that these Canadian health experts and organizations made masterful use of Twitter. “Their innovative approaches to keeping us informed about COVID made Twitter the vital resource for real-time updates and information on the pandemic.”
Source: #ThisHappened in Canada 2020