learning from the unawards winners in social media.jpg

comms2point0.co.uk was created as a free online learning platform for comms, pr and marketing professionals across the sector. This new post is exactly what the site is here for – to gain valuable insights and learn lessons from others…

by Rachael Richardson-Bullock

Best Social Media Account: NHS Blood and Transplant

Beautifully combining powerful human storytelling and a data-driven approach, the winning entry from Melissa Thermidor, Social Media Manager at NHS Blood and Transplant, truly shows the power of social media to drive real life-changing outcomes.

From a social team of just one person, the importance of taking risks in order to break barriers is underlined – but this requires a management culture that supports this and accepts that not everything will work seamlessly.

A clear strategy that is aligned to organisational objectives, underpinned by a highly creative use of digital platforms to tell emotive human stories, have clearly been the key to connecting with people and inspiring them to take action. Rather than getting too hung up on metrics early on, by using social media as the general public does and moving away from a “corporate feel” – this social media account is a fantastic example of successful social media use in 2018.


Melissa Thermido tilise ocial media av n mprov ive cros h nite ingdom by encouraging individuals to give blood and normalise the concept of blood donation. We need just under 200,000 new blood donors each year to replace those who no longer donate and to ensure we have the right mix of blood groups to match patient needs in the future.

In the UK, 15,000 people have sickle cell disease and over 300 babies are born each year with the condition. Advances in the treatment of sickle cell disease also means that patients with sickle cell disease are living longer and the demand for transfusions is higher than ever before. Yet, to get the best treatment, patients need blood which is closely matched. This is most likely to come from a donor of the same ethnicity. However, currently only 1% of blood donors in England are black and it is estimated that a further 40,000 new black donors are still needed to meet growing demand.


Wit onor n itizen h or h trategy, elissa efine hre igita ontent themes: o, Think and Feel, n se ocia edi h atalys o igita torytelling, hiftin h ocu h torie h eopl hose live av ee hange loo onation.

Th nitia ar h ocia ransformatio nvolve dentifyin he most effective hannel eac he targe ommunit, harin as tudie ha he ommunit a dentify wit ngag motiona n ersona a. onversion n cquisitio were removed ro h orefron rganisationa bjective n dopte personal pproac o ocia edia – people connecting with people. Monthl onten alendar n evera onth estin onten elpe nderstand wha onten orke.

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Delivery and measurement

T nsur valuatio ase po bjectives, hre tag pproach was adopted: 

1. ey Objectives: At this stage the objectives and metrics to measure activity, and any  KPIs and/or benchmarks are identified.

2. reakdown: Utilising the AMEC Framework, this is where the data is broken down to glean key information using a mix of data sources

3. nsights and Instincts: This is where all the findings are broken down to truly understand what resonated with the audience and why.

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Outcomes and Benefits

Organi ngagemen n each increased, helping uil tea ocia dvocate n most importantly eadin a 25% ncreas e loo onor ge 7-2 egisterin igitally – makin ocia edi now ne of the o hanne eferrer o nlin egistration cross bloo onation.

A racist comment, on a post that was published which called for more black donors, was responded to and went viral. While engagement and conversions are important, it’s also extremely important that social media users feel protected and trust an organisation. The response to the post garnered a 6% increase in new black donors – one of the hardest to reach audience groups, and media coverage from the BBC, the Huffington Post, The Poke, generating over 5 million impressions across our social platforms.

A lot of corporate accounts, especially public sector and government comms can be afraid to speak up and be honest on social media. It’s important that the values displayed internally are also visible to the wider external audience. One of the unique strengths of social media is how it can be used as a powerful platform to build communities and conversations around important topics, sharing stories that inspire people to act and solve matters in the real world.

Best Social Media Campaign: NHS England South

Like all great social media campaigns, NHS England South’s winning entry, submitted by Laura Dimmick – Communications and Engagement Officer, set ambitious goals and achieved huge things in the real world, particularly impressive with no budget set aside for this campaign.

Focussing on key demographics who are particularly vulnerable to skin cancer, including those undertaking outdoor activities, such as sportsmen and construction workers, this campaign was targeted, resourceful and cohesive across multiple channels.

Using a natural, informal tone across all materials and content ensured the key messages resonated with the target audience. It’s an emotive and deeply personal subject matter, delivered in an non-intimidating and engaging way.

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Building awareness surrounding preventative action, as well as symptoms of skin cancer and seeking advice, were key to this initiative. The use of social media and strategic partners to drive this campaign enabled a large reach to be achieved, relatively inexpensively. Though the reach of this campaign didn’t stop there and crossed all media channels, producing a consistent and cohesive multi-channel approach.

The social media objectives for the campaign were:

  • To reach 250 Retweets and achieve 50,000 impressions on campaign announcement on Twitter
  • To secure 100 pieces of media coverage
  • To partner with 50 organisations
  • Increase hits to NHS to beat a previous campaign figure of 56,055 hits.


Timing was also key, it was crucial that this was a summer-based campaign, so NHS England South planned all of their activity to take place in June and July, with ongoing ‘top up’ style activity, particularly during spikes in hot weather.

NHS England South broke down their campaign goals into four key milestones; the launch, farmers’ attitudes to skin protection, builders’ attitudes to skin protection and the hot weather activity. Not only would this campaign target individuals, but collaborate strategically with organisations such as the Institution of Occupational Safety and Healthy’s, to encourage businesses to pledge to protect employees from sun radiation.

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Making use of colloquial terminology, as well as poignant content, such as mortality and incidence statistics (broken by down by region), this campaign would be both emotive and informative, with the hopes of driving significant awareness and a change in real-world behaviours.

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Delivery and Measurement

With daily social media activity, press releases and events, this campaign got off to a flying start, with the announcement tweet alone achieving 144,774 impressions. On top of this, over 200 organisations shared or retweeted using the hashtag #CoverUpMate and NHS Choices pages on skin cancer and sun safety were up 33,802 and 6,078 hits respectively.

41 pieces of media were circulated during the first week of the campaign alone, generating great content to share on social media, but also helping the campaign on its way to achieving over the campaign target of 100 pieces of media coverage.

Effectively working in collaboration with Public Health England and other partners, meant that this campaign took advantage of additional resources and funding. NHS England South produced marketing materials, including t-shirts and information cards to take to events to accompany the ongoing success on social media, merging online and offline successfully.

Outcomes and Benefits

This campaign saw the most retweets in the history of the NHS England South account, totalling 699. As a direct result of this campaign, GPs nationally reported seeing an increase in appointments booked to discuss moles and skin abnormalities amongst the target audience.

This campaign exceeded its targets, as well as increasing awareness of skin cancer to key audiences. But most importantly, it has begun to drive real behavioural change by being inventive, informative and accessible – it’s these real-world outcomes that are the hallmark of truly successful social media campaigns.

Rachael Richardson-Bullock is marketing communications executive at SocialSignIn – official sponsor of the UnAwards17

image via the University of Washington


Original source – comms2point0 free online resource for creative comms people – comms2point0

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