In 2014, the Virginia Council of Nurse Practitioners (VCNP), the professional association for 8,000 nurse practitioners (NPs) in Virginia, celebrated its 40th anniversary. VCNP wanted to use the anniversary to educate the public about NPs, increase VCNP membership and generate excitement among members.
As part of VCNP’s 2014 strategic plan, the organization wanted to “utilize the 40th anniversary as an opportunity to strengthen VCNP’s brand” and “increase Facebook likes to 900 by the end of 2014.” Results from a 2013 membership survey showed only 9 percent of respondents received communication through Facebook, but 94 percent received information via email from the state organization. Additionally, the survey showed 44 percent never visited VCNP’s Facebook page, and 21 percent weren’t even on Facebook.
Conversations with board members and the PR committee reinforced the decision to use weekly email messages to supplement daily Facebook posts during the contest. Daily trivia questions were developed by consulting with VCNP’s historian and researching information posted on VCNP’s web site.
After working with the historian, daily trivia questions were developed during the planning phase of the project. By developing questions that could be found on VCNP’s website, we were able to make responses easy to find, but also created a way to drive traffic to the organization’s web page to look for answers. A variety of questions about VCNP history, member benefits, officers and regional activities were written to promote VCNP and engage a new network of followers. Images to make Facebook posts and the contest more recognizable were also created.
All work was completed within the budget for VCNP’s PR consultants. Planning objectives included increasing the overall “likes” of the statewide page to 900 by the end of 2014, as well as posting one question-per-day for 40 days.
Although our primary objective for the contest was to increase Facebook traffic, we recognized that not all members were on Facebook or wanted to join it, so we included weekly trivia emails in our planning. Target audiences included members and prospective members, NP students, legislators, and physician and other healthcare colleagues.
Prior to the contest kick off, we included messages about the trivia contest in VCNP’s monthly e-newsletter, quarterly member newsletter and on Facebook. We then consistently posted trivia questions every day for 40 days.
From January 1, 2014 through March 31, 2014, VCNP’s Facebook page added 100 new followers and, by the end of 2014, had 893 likes. During the 40 days contest, daily Facebook posts reached an average of 225 people and included multiple comments. VCNP’s web traffic also increased from 290 page views on January 25, 2014 to 446 page views on February 28, 2014 and 890 page views on March 14, 2014. February also recorded a 53 percent new visitors rate as opposed to 46 percent in January. We also received positive feedback from VCNP’s board of directors and members about the trivia contest.