Incorporating Skin Cancer Awareness Month in Your Patient Communication

Skin Cancer Awareness Month is here! As we discussed in our recent post, this is a chance to spread awareness and education on skin cancer prevention and the importance of regular screenings. Hosting free screenings and other awareness events are great ways to participate. But if you’re looking for an additional way to educate and impact lives, simply incorporating skin cancer awareness messaging into your existing (or additional) marketing efforts can help.

Early detection and prevention continue to be proven ways to reduce the prevalence of skin cancer in the United States. However, risk factors like indoor tanning continue to pose a threat. If including messages around melanoma and skin cancer prevention in your materials, consider:

Educating About Risk Factors and Proven Strategies.

  • Many only consider sun protection when they’re at the beach or pool. Emphasize that sun exposure adds up daily and happens every time you are in the sun.
  • Educate your audience about the possible signs and symptoms of melanoma, like the “ABCDE rule” (Asymmetry, Border, Color, Diameter, Evolving).
  • Communicate information so it’s clear and easy to understand. Consider sharing genomic risk information about melanoma in an icon array format.
  • Since genetics can increase someone’s risk for the disease, encourage your audience to know their family history, as this can be an important step in motivating behaviors to reduce risk.

Highlighting the Dangers of Indoor Tanning

  • Messaging can emphasize the benefits of avoiding risky behaviors or discuss the costs of engaging in risky behavior. Warnings about indoor tanning are most effective when they include graphic images and talk about the costs/negative impact that can result. Highlight that quitting indoor tanning will reduce skin damage. Be careful when addressing myths associated with tanning and present the preferred message clearly.
  • Mention key people who would approve of your audience quitting indoor tanning, like parents, friends or romantic partners.
  • Share data on true rates of indoor tanning, which are likely lower than people may believe and highlight. Address appearance concerns and psychological benefits associated with feeling more attractive. Highlight the short-term gains of quitting, like saving money.

Social media can be a big part of spreading these Skin Cancer Awareness Month messages. Whether you’re using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., you have access to convenient platforms to communicate to wide audiences through posts, videos, graphics and other media. When creating messages for social media, here are some tips:

Facebook Best Practices

  • Content that feels personal, conversational and authentic will hit with audiences.
  • Shorter posts (around 250 characters or less) get up to 60% more distribution than longer posts.
  • Post consistently and with a variety of different content types like video or photos to maximize reach and make your content stand out.
  • Acknowledge interactions, messages and comments with visitors to your page. Consider turning on comment filters to prevent harassment in your comments section and avoid identifying people in photos without their consent.

Instagram Best Practices

  • Tell a story with your images by focusing on experience and emotional appeals over just health information.
  • Great photos and videos create engagement, especially on a visual platform like Instagram. Once you’ve identified your audience, be consistent with your style and branding. Use creative ideas like contests and post user-generated content to get your audience to participate.
  • Connect with what other organizations are also sharing information for Skin Cancer Awareness Month.
  • Make your content stand out by using simple or free photo editing tools to make your images as quality as possible.

Twitter Best Practices

  • Keep tweets below the 280 character limit. This allows other users to re-tweet while adding their own comments.
  • Add other elements like photos, videos, infographics or other illustrations whenever possible. Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets on average.
  • Post regularly and make sure content is useful and relevant to your audience.
  • Interact with your audience – ask questions and listen to build engagement.
  • Twitter, Sprout Social, Hootsuite and other social media scheduling tools offer options to shorten links as you write tweets.
  • Promote engagement with other organizations by liking or re-tweeting their content. Likewise, be responsive and recognize re-tweets, mentions and when others share your content.

Need some help with your patient communication and marketing for Skin Cancer Awareness Month and elsewhere? We’re always a phone call or click away to support your needs. Schedule a consultation with one of our practice management experts today!

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