Social media can help you engage members, politicians and the public in RCN campaigns and on nursing issues that matter to you. Read our advice to help you get started and stay safe online
Follow influential people and accounts
This could include accounts from the RCN and wider nursing community, such as health sector organisations and the nursing media. Useful RCN accounts to follow could include your country or region’s accounts, RCN Council members, other RCN activists and staff – don’t be shy about sharing their posts.
Look for interesting content to share
Follow the RCN on Facebook (@RoyalCollegeofNursing), and on Instagram and Twitter (@theRCN) to share our magazine articles, news stories and blogs. For more nursing-related news, follow other nursing publications or profiles like Nursing Standard, Nursing Times and @WeNurses.
On Twitter, use lists to help you save time and keep up to date
Twitter lists let you create a column of people you want to see on one page. You could create a list of RCN people to help you digest what’s going on with our campaigns.
Make sure you use campaign hashtags and any available resources in your posts
Resources could include campaign images for your social media profile or posts for you to share on different platforms. Find information and resources for our current campaigns on our campaigns page.
If you’re at online or in-person events, consider posting about them using the relevant hashtags
Always discuss the issues in an accessible way so if people are following the hashtag but are new to the issue, they understand what you’re talking about.
Expand your network
Social media is a great way to connect with and talk to other nursing staff and professionals in your specialty and to expand your professional network.
If you’re new to social media, why not start by becoming an RCN e-campaigner? You’ll be sent a monthly email with quick actions to take. Become an e-campaigner.
Look after yourself online
- Many of us use social media every day and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. Take a break from social media if you need to. It’s also helpful to familiarise yourself with different privacy settings for your accounts and how to use them.
- Talk about issues that are important to you, but don’t use social media to officially raise concerns – follow your local policy and read our raising concerns guidance.
- Think before you post. Sharing your own experiences of nursing on social media can be extremely powerful, especially on issues like unfair pay and short staffing. As a general rule, don’t share anything you wouldn’t want your family, colleagues or employer to see. Posting “views are my own and not that of my employer” in your bio will not protect you if you share inappropriate or confidential information. Read the NMC social media guidance.
- You can find information to support members using social media, including on dealing with unacceptable behaviour, in the RCN social media policy. Visit our governance documents page and scroll down to find it.
RCN rep and emergency nurse practitioner Toby Kunkel shares his advice on using Twitter to raise awareness about the RCN’s Fair Pay For Nursing campaign
My Twitter account is for professional use only – all my posts are related to nursing and my RCN roles. I’m an RCN safety rep, branch treasurer for the RCN Lothian and Borders branch and a member of the RCN Emergency Care Association.
I regularly share relevant news stories, calls to action and posts about the pay campaign and I’ve also organised local photoshoots to help spread the word.
The photos show members holding #FairPayForNursing placards, and myself and other branch members have shared these widely on Twitter to garner support for the campaign.
On a local level, I find Twitter helps me to keep in touch with branch members, and local HR teams and nursing executives from the trusts I cover.
Nationally, it’s great for sharing information between different countries of the UK.
I want other members to follow me and to find my account useful and interesting, so alongside messages about the pay campaign I try to signpost followers to important professional information and RCN guidance and available support.
Be polite and professional, and above all be kind
My advice is to be genuine and always have a positive message. Try to get it across in one tweet and don’t engage in complicated or potentially damaging discussions. Twitter can be a very negative place so be polite and professional, and above all be kind.
It’s great to see positive feedback from members and my peers about what I share on Twitter.
When I see high-profile public personas retweeting my posts about the campaign or following me, I know the message is getting across and reaching a wide audience.
Your stories can make our Fair Pay For Nursing campaign stand out, help secure fair pay and get the recognition the profession deserves. Even if you’ve never done anything like this before, you can promote our pay campaign to your networks to spread the word.
Have you thought about recording a short video of yourself explaining why nursing staff deserve fair pay that you can share from your social media accounts? Get tips on how to create a successful campaign video.
At the link above, you can also download images to update your Twitter profile header, Facebook cover photo or to post on these accounts or your Instagram grid or story.