This is an excerpt from the Live Well in Alabama FY19 Annual Report.
Social marketing is the broadest and furthest reaching component of Auburn University SNAP-Ed’s multilevel, comprehensive approach to obesity prevention. Using a variety of original and engaging campaign materials, the Live Well Alabama messages to Eat Better, Move More and Make a Change for better health reach tens of thousands of Alabama residents in multiple ways every day.
The social marketing initiative aims to reinforce and support the direct education and policy, systems and environmental change initiatives for years to come. The overarching goal was to develop memorable, engaging and impactful SNAP-Ed resources and integrate them into local communities and home environments in an effort to increase awareness of better food and drink choices and increase motivation for daily physical activity. According to SNAP-Ed participants, the Live Well Alabama campaign has successfully reached this goal!
Live Well Alabama successfully launched a social media campaign in 2017. In the third year of this campaign, Live Well Alabama followers have grown by as much as 56% across three platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Content has continued to successfully educate and engage the target audience.
The #FoodFriday recipe videos used Live Well Alabama recipes and garnered strong engagement on Facebook. In July 2019, Live Well Alabama launched a new round of recipe videos. These posts reached over 31,800 people on Facebook. Followers also enjoy and share Body Quest Warrior posts and County Spotlight posts in large numbers.
Most of the Live Well Alabama website traffic sources was initiated through social media. Website visitors shared program articles from the Live Well Alabama website to personal social media platforms. There were nearly 8,000 website page views since January 2019.
Statewide Billboard Campaign
Live Well Alabama messages blanketed the state through two billboard campaigns. For 12 weeks, from January through March 2019, 76 billboards in 46 counties displayed each of the three core messages, changing every 4 weeks. A second 16-week campaign ran from May through August 2019 and included 128 billboards in 48 counties.
All Live Well Alabama messages were focus group tested with SNAP-Ed eligible adults. Responses to campaign materials were overwhelmingly positive and attendees provided valuable insight into their attitudes, beliefs and behaviors related to health. Suggestions for amending messages and images were considered in finalizing materials for the FY19 campaign cycle to ensure Live Well Alabama resonated with the target audience.
In FY19, Live Well Alabama billboard messages reached an estimated 268,000 SNAP eligible adults and made over 162 million impressions on Alabamians.
SNAP-Ed partnered with Altarum Institute to evaluate the reach and effectiveness of the billboard campaign with a cross-sectional phone survey. The survey included 386 respondents from various Alabama counties. Survey respondents were asked questions about health views and behaviors, and responses were compared between those who were exposed and those who were not exposed to the billboard campaign. Survey respondents who were exposed to campaign messages reported higher intakes of fruits, vegetables and water compared to those who were not exposed to the campaign.
Most respondents were female (93%) aged 25-44 years (82%). Respondents were mainly White (61%) or Black/African American (37%). Most (98%) respondents had one or more children in the household. Over one-third (41%) of households were headed by a single adult. Over one-third (40%) of respondents had a high school diploma or less. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of respondents participated in one or more assistance programs in the last year. Over half (59%) reported participation in the National School Lunch Program’s free or reduced priced meals for children, and 40% reported participation in SNAP/EBT.
Growing Awareness of the Live Well Alabama Campaign
Overall exposure to billboard messages continued to rise, with more than half (58%) or respondents recalling billboards, a substantial increase from 51% in FY18 and 38% in FY17.
Half (50%) of respondents recognized Live Well Alabama as the name of the campaign, a major growth in awareness and recognition from 29% in FY18. The most common sources of recognition were through school or summer programs for youth, billboards, handouts and recipe cards provided at educational events and social media.
Respondents who were exposed to the billboard campaign were asked if seeing the messages led them to try something new or do something different for themselves or their families. Some common responses were:
- Planning healthy meals (16%)
- Eating more fruits and vegetables (21%)
- Drinking more water (22%)
- Drinking fewer sugar-sweetened beverages (13%)
- Exercising more (16%)
Understanding Barriers and Readiness to Change
By conducting a statewide phone survey, Alabama Extension at Auburn University SNAP-Ed gained valuable feedback from Alabamians to shape the future of the Live Well Alabama campaign and provide residents with resources to help them make the changes they are ready to make.
While many phone survey respondents were not meeting recommendations for fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity, the majority were preparing to make a change. The most common barriers to changing behaviors were being too busy, experiencing food budget constraints, and general dislike of fruits and/or vegetables.
One way SNAP-Ed addresses these barriers is by incorporating Live Well Alabama recipe demonstrations into educational activities and community events and promoting them through social media and text messaging. Each recipe is designed to be quick, inexpensive, and tasty to encourage consumption of more fruits and vegetables. In addition, Live Well Alabama messages are integrated into SNAP-Ed direct education and policy, systems, and environmental change strategies occurring all over the state. The goal of all Live Well Alabama activities is to provide SNAP-Ed eligible adults greater access to opportunities and resources to Eat Better, Move More and Make a Change. Understanding the barriers Alabamians face to adopting healthier behaviors and knowing where they are ready and interested in making a change is important for providing relevant and impactful SNAP-Ed initiatives. SNAP-Ed is committed to providing multi-level, comprehensive initiatives to help residents overcome barriers to achieving better health.
A Look Into the Future
A long-term goal of SNAP-Ed is to gain insight into audience behavior change by being exposed to Live Well Alabama messaging. Live Well Alabama social marketing is only one component of a comprehensive, multi-level intervention aiming to create change in food, drink and physical activity choices. Combining Live Well Alabama messaging with other SNAP-Ed program strategies to create behavior change is a long-term goal toward creating a culture shift in Alabama.
- Live Well in Alabama: FY19 Annual Report
- Live Well in Communities: Positive changes spread across Alabama for a healthier culture
- Live Well in Schools: Nutrition education moves youth and parents toward better health
- Awards, Publications, Recognitions, and Presentations