The Official Shorty Awards Blog

An interview with Dr. Oz and his digital team: helping people get fit on social media

Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz), two-time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning host of the two-time Daytime Emmy® Award-winning “The Dr. Oz Show,” just joined the Health. Join In. #SocialFiness Jury on the Real-Time Academy. You can watch his welcome video here and his video with holiday advice for #RealHealth blogger Toni Church here.


"If you surround yourself with quality information on social media, you’ll have a better chance to apply those healthy habits in your day-to-day life," Dr. Oz recently told the Shorty Award in an interview. We spoke with Dr. Oz, Samantha Lazarus (@srl23), Director of Digital for Dr. Oz Digital, John Oates (@JOates32), Head of Social Media for Dr. Oz Digital, and Dave Lankford (@davelankford), Director of Product for Dr. Oz Digitalabout helping people stay fit and healthy on social media.

Shorty Awards (SA): Why is social media important to you? 


Dr. Oz (@DrOz): The reason that I was drawn to start The Dr. Oz show is the same reason that I became a doctor: I want to help people on a large scale. My passion for social media is also fueled by the same mindset. It allows me to connect with so many people everyday and touch them on a one-to-one scale. In many ways, it’s one of my strongest tools because it allows me to have a conversation and a relationship that would otherwise be almost impossible to have. 

SA: How do you recommend others use social media, in small ways to live a more healthy and fit life? 

Dr. Oz: The beauty of social media is that it allows anyone with a message to share it. Sometimes that message is positive, sometimes not, but the ability to share is unlike anything we’ve ever had access to before. Social media has torn down the proverbial walls of information. If you surround yourself with quality information on social media, you’ll have a better chance to apply those healthy habits in your day-to-day life. We also know that people trying to get healthy are most successful when they are accountable to another person.  Social media is a great way to connect with people who have similar goals and to encourage each other to meet those goals. 

SA: How did you build a social media strategy for Dr. Oz and the Dr. Oz Show?

Samantha Lazarus (@srl23), General Manager of Oz Digital: We started with the premise that social media was our most effective way to connect directly to our viewers and to allow them to engage with the Dr. Oz brand on a deeply personal level.  Through social media they can take Dr. Oz’s message, respond to it, embrace it and share it with their friends.  We then examined each social media platform to make sure that we structured our message to be most effective for the given platform. How Dr. Oz uses Facebook, is very different than how he uses Pinterest, Google+, Twitter or Tout, but each will try to establish a personal connection between the user and Dr. Oz. Authenticity and engagement are paramount priorities to us and that is what guides most our strategy decisions.

SA: How does your team and Dr. Oz use social platforms on the show? 

John imageOates (@JOates32), Head of Social Media, Dr. Oz Digital:Our goal is to make Dr. Oz’s social media platforms a fundamental part of the viewing process. If you are not connected to Dr. Oz on your social platforms, you’re really missing out on a unique opportunity to interact with him. Guests, questions, reactions, conversation, etc. are all a large part of viewing and that all takes place on his social media.

SA: How does “You Feel" work? Why did you build it and why is it unique?

Dave Lankford (@davelankford), Director of Product, Dr. Oz DigitalYou Feel asks the question “How are you fimageeeling today?” This is the most fundamental question in health and wellness, and not surprisingly, the first question a doctor asks when meeting a patient. At The Dr. Oz Show, we wanted to take that further and understand how our entire community was feeling. Community members who visit the site are immediately prompted to answer the question and can enhance their response by adding an image from their local computer, a picture from a Facebook album, or a YouTube video.  Members can also support others in the community by clicking a “support” button on individual posts, or by leaving a comment.  Posting and supporting activity on You Feel is optionally shared to the member’s Facebook Timeline, allowing them to reach out to their personal social circle. You Feel helps us understand simply that: how you feel. It is a living, growing multimedia wall reflecting the real lives of our guests and viewers. It is the pulse of the Oz community.


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December 18, 2012