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Social media has become a major source of news for much of the world. To increase the amount of reliable information on social media, Econometrica has supported the CDC Foundation in launching a course to teach public health professionals how to create and promote social media messages that make an impact.

The course, Evidence-Based Strategies for Digital Media Messaging, is part of the Global Tobacco Surveillance System’s (GTSS) Academy. Many of the social media examples and practice scenarios in the course are specific to global tobacco information; however, the information in the course is applicable to any public health professional looking to better leverage social media.

The highlight of the course is the Digital Media Workshop: Developing a Social Media Post module, which is a practical, step-by-step, hands-on tutorial that takes the learner through the full process of creating an effective social media message, including free resources to use such as software, data, and images.

Econometrica’s instructional designers, led by Creative Lead Ephraim Ross, worked closely with tobacco prevention and digital media subject matter experts to develop the eight-module course. In addition, Econometrica’s team designed and built visually engaging and interactive content to enhance learners’ understanding, including animated video tutorials, custom-designed images, infographics, and GIF animations.

Econometrica also provided expert learning design solutions and technical development on various aspects of the project, such as incorporating social polls throughout the course to give asynchronous learners a sense of community.

In addition, our team recommended and developed creative solutions for gathering data and feedback directly from the course, including developing a final course evaluation survey, writing custom code for an auto-generated personalized completion certificate for learners, and incorporating Google Analytics tracking.

The course, which is free and open to the public, includes a bonus module, Guide for New Social Media Users, which helps organizations open and manage their professional social media accounts, including creating company social media policies, brand strategy, and content calendars.

The course is completely self-paced and can be completed in approximately 90 minutes. It contains the following modules:

  1. Data Dissemination Strategies
  2. Infographics: Using Data for Visual Storytelling
  3. Introduction to Social Media
  4. Evidence-Based Strategies for Social Media
  5. Digital Media Workshop
  6. Evaluating the Reach of Your Social Media Message
  7. Guide for New Social Media Users
  8. Digital Media Messaging Toolkit and Course Summary


Funding for the course was provided to the CDC Foundation by a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use.