Social Workers Can Strengthen Communication Campaigns

During National Social Work month, we are thinking about how social workers are an underutilized asset. Social workers can strengthen nearly every aspect of a communications campaign, from research to creative execution. Firms like Hager Sharp that have social workers on staff benefit from their expertise.

The populations that social workers serve are so often campaign audiences. Social workers help everyone from children to the elderly, individuals to communities, and under-resourced groups to persons with disabilities. And they serve their clients in a variety of institutions, such as schools, food banks, hospitals, and state and local health departments.[1] Social workers are equipped with a special combination of skills and desire to understand and build trust among these populations.

Social workers are experts at developing relationships with and empowering populations that are typically difficult to engage—persons who usually need our help the most. The social work profession requires a balance between empathy for the challenges populations face and encouragement to create change in their unique lives and circumstances. This skill facilitates a level of intimacy with the information, and the messengers an audience needs to hear it from, that can take a campaign from good to extraordinary.

One example is the quest to improve breastfeeding rates. Maternal infant social workers are experts in both the barriers breastfeeding people face and the resources needed to overcome those challenges. These can include education about breastfeeding, help finding lactation counselors, and assistance acquiring breastfeeding pumps. Social workers’ insights on these matters can expedite and refine a campaign’s formative research process by helping the team quickly analyze relevant policies, resources, social media and digital content, audience profiles, and more.

Social workers’ knowledge can also strengthen the impact of a campaign’s messaging. For example, medical social workers are often familiar with the challenges people with diabetes face in accessing and managing care. They can connect patients to financial and medical resources, nutrition education, and mental health support. These experiences position them as experts who can ensure that materials resonate with intended audiences.

Additionally, social workers can identify and connect communication teams to messengers who increase audiences’ trust. They are like walking rolodexes of organizations and trusted leaders, both locally and nationwide.

Social workers’ insights are too often untapped resources that can help communicators execute nearly every aspect of a campaign with greater efficiency and precision. They can bring target audiences to life–beyond a diagnosis or data point and at the heart of a campaign. And they can inspire resourceful and unexpected ways to cultivate ideas that make a difference. Here at Hager Sharp, we’re lucky to have them.

[1] What is Social Work? | CSWE