After I launched theundiplomaticdiabetic.com my entire focus shifted to how I could amplify my messages & conversations and maximize my reach. The option was obvious. Social media.

When I thought of social media, the most popular ones that came to mind were: facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedIn and pinterest. I got these handles ready really soon and started the campaigns…mostly organic and paid for, marginally.

The social media conversations were thought-through and well researched and they followed the life-cycle approach to diabetes management. It is always best to start from the beginning and to never forget a newly diagnosed diabetic. These are the people who need the maximum hand holding, education-wise and emotionally. The campaigns hence started with what is diabetes mellitus or type 2 diabetes, reasons, diabetes symptoms, risk factors, diabetes complications, diabetes management which included food & nutrition, exercise etc and continuous ongoing education in that logical order.

While in the process, I encountered the image below that came to me via some random whatsapp forward. Maybe people look at it as a joke maybe, but I found the bracketing profound. This image clearly told me the human motivators or the ‘psychographic’ positioning of various social media handles.

Let’s look at each of these in detail:

  1. Tinder – Not useful
  2. Yelp – Platforms like Yelp have helped us initiate a diabetic barometer that rates and reviews restaurants or specific items on a menu.
  3. Linkedin – Greed I agree is the leading emotion on linkedin. But today linkedin and the way it has transformed draws from twitter facebook and instagram. Wrath, envy and pride sometimes in their most aggressive forms manifest here. Hence this so called corporate platform allows me to direct my messages and conversations to talk to the proud white collared force whose single-minded mission in life is to gain rapid financial growth and garner power. Nothing wrong with that. But I simply ask “at what cost”, especially in the Indian corporate where late working and created work pressures are norms. This forum I believe will allow me a great level of conscious customization and pave way for me to be a catalyst against this very harmful corporate conditioning.
  4. Twitter – What we see as the lead emotion on twitter is ‘wrath’. Unfortunately this anger most of the times is misplaced or deliberately placed on twitter. In the recent years in my geographical context twitter has got highlighted to me only in cases of immense trolling, religious battles and political warfare. Maybe I am undereducated on twitter’s new rules of engagement and hence it remains far behind in terms of a basic threshold of traction for me.
  5. Facebook + Instagram – Envy and pride are two sides of a coin and hence I would like to talk about these 2 platforms in one go. Facebook is like a big brother to Instagram. I find envy and pride positive. These are emotions that still fall on the right side of the fence and are surely better than greed and wrath. They convey the presence of a positive frame of mind, a healthy competition that motivates people to:
  • share check-ins
  • celebrate small / big life events with enablers like facebook live
  • compete on health & fitness goals
  • and in the context of diabetes, compare & share sugar levels, a1cs, diets etc in homogeneous, well-intended groups that this platform allows so beautifully.

Facebook’s format allows for elaboration and instagram urges you to keep it pictorial and interesting.

What I finally learnt in these 2 months is that while some of these social media platforms are friendlier than the others, each of them has great potential for educating people about type 2 diabetes. One needs to become a marketer in one’s mind and go after it. Paid would be easy, but I would for the time- being stick to organic combined with relevance. Look at it like this…a message on diabetes may not touch a chord on facebook but may make complete sense to you when I talk to you on linkedin. You are present in all these platforms in different avatars & with varied motivations. Where can I get you to worry about your health the most (if you or anyone in your family is a type 2 diabetic) is my challenge.

I think haven’t even started. My posts today are vanilla. They are general and talk the same language to this diverse set of emotions.  But even at this nascent level I have managed a few likes and shares that motivate me every single day. I believe that it is now entirely up to me to understand the strategies well and make my conversations, stories, narratives, opinions, debates and polls contextual, relevant and remember-worthy.  I must change gears from being diabetic-centric (despite the philanthropic nature of my product) and make customer-centricity and customization the name of my game.