Social Media for Starters: The Asian American Donor Program encourages you to spread the message

By Donna Megino

Managing social media is not as easy as it may seem. In fact, it takes a lot of online (and offline) interaction: monitoring, engaging, strategy, and organization. Whether you are a brand company, small business, self-employed, start-up business, non-profit, etc., social media becomes the one essential tool for engaging with people online. Social media broadens your business by putting forth information through the internet, which works in the same way as “word-of-mouth”; passing along a message with the hope that the message will continue to be passed on, leading increasing numbers of people to take action.

I am not surprised if people feel out of the social media loop. Social media is not for everyone. It involves time and participation. Over the years, the evolution and context of social media and social media networks, as well as developments in third party tools and applications have improved tremendously. It’s dizzying to keep track of all your social media networks, logins and passwords. And let’s not forget the task of keeping up with all the fancy shorthand lingo and jargon. For instance, hashtags, which identify topics trending or topics of interest, change all the time.

While it is a lot to take into account, in the end, it’s worth knowing that using all these social media tools can help get the message across. These days, patients, family and friends rely on the wonders of social media to increase awareness about their illness and search of a life saving donor. Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pintrest, Google+, YouTube, and Reddit are a few of hundreds of social networks available to reach millions of users worldwide. You’re getting a message across, and doing it across the globe!

Many patients and families have taken advantage of social media to fuel their search for a life saving donor. Even with little or no expectation they will receive responses. Simply raising awareness for people to sign up as a donor can yield startling results. One example of social media’s power was the work of Janet Liang, spearheading the “Helping Janet Find her Perfect Match” campaign. Janet released a heartfelt video on Youtube pleading for more people to register as a marrow donor because her time to find a match was dwindling. She wasn’t expecting the outcome she received. In a matter of 2 days her video reached more than 20,000 viewers, YouTube and Reddit combined. AADP was flooded with calls and emails from people across the nation wanting to host drives, create publicity, sign up as a marrow donor, donate funds, or just send support to Janet. Her Facebook page is now filled with more than 11,000 likes! Her twitter feed is constantly updating her followers of potential drives, events, and news.

We can see the same activity and response generated from Facebook, which designates May as “Organ Donor/Transplant Registration” month. Recently, Facebook launched a “Like” feature to recognize registered organ donors throughout the United States. Facebook also provided social media network application to direct people who are interested in signing up as an organ donor. After this launch, the number of newly enrolled donors into the organ donor registry increased significantly. The number continues to grow as awareness reaches more people.

In short, take advantage of your social media strand. You never know where your message will end up, who it will reach, and the outcome you may receive.

Donna Megino is the Recruitment Assistant & Social Media Manager for AADP (Asian American Donor Program).

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