Doctors Without Borders – Social Media Message Strategies

Doctors Without Borders
Increasing Awareness and Donations

 Doctors Without Borders is an organization that helps people worldwide deliver emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters, or exclusion from health care.

Doctors Without Borders provides impartial help without discrimination and independently of any political powers. They are a neutral source of aid that does not take sides in conflicts. They treat patients with dignity and respect for their cultural and religious beliefs and treat each patient on the basis of medical need not on any other criteria. 90% of their budget comes from private donors all over the world. 88 cents of every dollar donated supports the program. This generous funding gives them freedom to independently choose their actions without interference from political and economic powers. Without the donations, Doctors Without Borders would not be able to reach the amount of people they have today.

PLATFORM #1: Facebook

Messaging/Tactic A

Picture1Sharing an article or page from one of the Doctors Without Borders blogs would be a way to show different viewpoints on the work they do all over the world. An example for a post would be sharing Elizabeth Wangeci’s blog post on TB&ME. The thumbnail would appear, like the one to the left, on the timeline and would allow a short blurb or texts to explain or encourage people to read the article.
An example encouraging text would be: “I decided to come back to teaching because I feel much better and I enjoy teaching. It is also important for me to be back because I see this as a huge step towards my full recovery.” See how Elizabeth and her family are doing after Tuberculosis hit her life.

Messaging/Tactic B

Picture2Considering people use images and videos to show their “friends” what they are doing in their everyday lives, a link to Doctors Without Borders’ slideshows would be beneficial. Pictures touch people in different ways than words do. Attaching a link to a slideshow, can inflict more emotion from the viewers and encourage donations. An example of sharing a slideshow to Facebook, like the one to the left, so that the viewers can click right on the link to take them directly to the pictures. Using part of the description from the slideshow, I would say the same thing in the post to encourage viewers to watch. It would read, “According to official statistics from 2013, around one in every 10 infants under the age of one has not been fully vaccinated. MSF teams have already vaccinated more than 73,000 children.”

Facebook is a great platform that has the ability to reach people of many different ages. Anyone ages 14 – 60 are on Facebook now-a-days. Some even older are beginning to make accounts on Facebook. Posting on Facebook is an easy way to get information across to multiple ages of people who could spread more awareness and/or donate. Facebook is a valuable media source due to the amount of media you are able to post on it. Pictures, videos, blogs, links, etc. are all easily accessible from this one source. To know how far Doctors Without Borders’ Facebook posts are going is easy to see. The amount of friends, likes, shares, and comments help show the amount of people that are interested/affected by what the organization is posting about. By looking at the posts that get a lot of attention, the organization can post more things like that in order to keep their readers engaged.

PLATFORM #2: Twitter

Messaging/Tactic A

Picture3A good way to get people interested in your posts on Twitter is to attach a link directly to a video; it can be one that Doctors Without Borders uploaded on their own channel or one that on of the doctors or patients has uploaded. Either way, it is an effective method of grabbing the viewers’ attention. Since Twitter has a max amount of characters allowed per tweet, it is a good idea to keep the introduction to the video simple and to the point. That way viewers know what they are about to see and why they would want to open and see it. Attaching a video would show up something like the example above. It will include the title and hyperlink while allowing the user to edit it.

Messaging/Tactic B

Picture3Another great thing to advertise on Twitter is the link to an application to join the team of doctors, nurses, etc. Supplying a direct link helps to bring people right where they need to be. Since the URL for these types of posts are not that long, you still have plenty of characters if Doctors Without Borders wanted to add their own touch to the post. They could easily add something to the effect of, “If you want to bring your motivation, professional abilities and practical experience to join us in the field, please click the link below!”

Twitter is a platform that has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Anyone from adolescence to adults (at various age levels) have Twitter. Twitter has also become a media platform that has attracted many businesses, journalists, celebrities, non-profits, and etc. It is a place where you can find a multitude of information without going to a thousand different outlets. With the character limits on each tweet, Twitter is a fast pace read that allows you to pick what you do and don’t click on. Having the ability to follow, retweet, and like someone’s tweet/account, helps show how well you are doing attracting viewers.

PLATFORM #3: YouTube

Messaging/Tactic A

Uploading videos are crucial in order to maintain your presence on YouTube. If you are not active on your account, then you will not be able to uphold your subscriptions and views. Constant video uploads are crucial. Two main ideas for Doctors Without Borders to post would be regarding the before and after of the countries they hit. There can be a phase starting before the team gets to the country and ending when the team steps into the country ready to help the patients in need. That would draw a lot of attention to encourage viewers to donate their time and money to the organization. The second idea would be to film while there. Recording the positive impact the team has on each country is also a great way to encourage donations. Having people see the team helping the patients continues to keep viewers engaged in the videos allowing subscriptions and thumbs up to increase.

Messaging/Tactic B

A method to getting views on Doctors Without Borders’ channel in between the videos listed above, is by vlogging. Vlogging is an easy way for people to stay connected to the team while they are away. Vlogging is also a way for the team to stay connected to their viewers. Holding the camera out and videoing their thoughts and their patients is a way to personally connect with their subscribers while also encouraging more donations.

YouTube is a media platform that is evolving. When YouTube first came out, it was a place for people to put up humorous videos and music for fun. Recently, it has developed into a business. People now are using YouTube as a way to make money and take care of themselves by uploading videos that attract subscribers and thumbs up (likes). Businesses and non-profits are getting involved too. Having a channel on YouTube can open the eyes of people who would generally not be viewing your profile. All it takes is one amazing video to get people looking. Once they subscribe, they get notified whenever the channel posts, making it easier to get views and thumbs up.


Snapchat is a relatively new platform that is popular among teens and young adults. Older adults are starting to create Snapchat accounts and learn the way it works. A new feature to snapchat that has offers businesses the chance to get themselves noticed in the Snapchat world. The new feature is referred to as “Discover.” Inside Discover, there are businesses that update multiple times a day with new articles that would interest Snapchat users. Businesses/networks that are in the Discover section right now are, Tastemade, ESPN, Food Network, Cosmopolitan, MTV, Buzzfeed, Sweet, IGN, Refinery 29, Vice, Comedy Central, Mashable, Vox, People, CNN, National Geographic, iHeart Radio, WSJ, Now This, and Daily Mail. Each one of those shares unique stories that viewers can share with their Snapchat friends. Getting their own section of Discover, or even having one of the preexisting Discover companies, can reach a broader audience for the Doctors Without Borders organization.


Another cool feature that Snapchat has is its Live section. The Live section allows anyone in the location of an event, post their personal snaps onto the Live Snapchat story. If Doctors Without Borders was doing some sort of donation event/fundraiser, or even if the location they are working in has the ability to Snapchat, they can have people send their snapchats to that story and it can be a live feed showing people all over the world. This could be a good way to show the world what Doctors Without Borders does on a regular day to day basis and potentially promote donations.

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