The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) were beginning to participate in social media activities, but did not have a framework in place to guide their staff. Re-Think was engaged to define how social media should be used by CIHR and to outline the specific protocols and procedures for beginning a new social media initiative.

In order to determine how CIHR should be using social media, we first conducted external and internal environmental scans. The external environmental scan involved an analysis of the use of social media by CIHR stakeholders and the identification of key influencers in social media in the area of health research. It also involved a social media monitoring exercise which reviewed and analyzed recent mentions of CIHR in social media (negative, positive and neutral). The internal environmental scan involved an assessment of CIHR’s current use of social media, by reviewing its current social media properties and identifying strengths and weaknesses. It also included a series of interviews with internal stakeholders to define who their stakeholders are, how they currently engage them, how they are using social media at the moment, and what social media business requirements or opportunities they anticipate in the future.

Using the information from the environmental scans, we developed a Web 2.0 framework for CIHR that identified how social media should be used by CIHR and included a detailed set of protocols and procedures for initiating, managing and measuring the success of a social media project or initiative at CIHR. We also identified a number of possible pilot projects for CIHR to test the new procedures and protcols while leveraging social media on key stakeholder engagement requirements.

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