Use of Live Community Events on Facebook to Share Health and Clinical Research Information With a Minnesota Statewide Community: Exploratory Study

Jinhee Cha, Ian W. West, Tabetha A. Brockman, Miguel Valdez Soto, Joyce E. Balls-Berry, Milton Eder, Christi A. Patten, Elisia L. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Community engagement can make a substantial difference in health outcomes and strengthen the capacity to deal with disruptive public health events such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Social media platforms such as Facebook are a promising avenue to reach the broader public and enhance access to clinical and translational science, and require further evaluation from the scientific community. Objective: This study aims to describe the use of live community events to enhance communication about clinical and health research through a Facebook platform case study (Minnesota [MN] Research Link) with a Minnesota statewide community. We examined variables associated with video engagement including video length and type of posting. Methods: From June 2019 to February 2021, MN Research Link streamed 38 live community events on its public Facebook page, MN Research Link. Live community events highlighted different investigators' clinical and health research in the areas of mental health, health and wellness, chronic diseases, and immunology/infectious diseases. Facebook analytics were used to determine the number of views, total minutes viewed, engagement metrics, and audience retention. An engagement rate was calculated by the total number of interactions (likes, shares, and comments) divided by the total length of the live event by the type of live community event. Results: The 38 live community events averaged 23 minutes and 1 second in duration. The total time viewed for all 38 videos was 10 hours, 44 minutes, and 40 seconds. Viewers' watch time averaged 23 seconds of content per video. After adjusting for video length, promotional videos and research presentations had the highest engagement and retention rates. Events that included audience participation did not have higher retention rates compared to events without audience participation. Conclusions: The use of live community events showed adequate levels of engagement from participants. A view time of 23 seconds on average per video suggests that short informational videos engage viewers of clinical and translational science content. Live community events on Facebook can be an effective method of advancing health promotion and clinical and translational science content; however, certain types of events have more impact on engagement than others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere30973
JournalJMIR Formative Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Communication
  • Community engagement
  • Digital
  • EHealth
  • Engagement
  • Facebook
  • Health information
  • Information sharing
  • Participation
  • Retention
  • Social media
  • Virtual

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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