By Bridgetta Anderson

Posing for snot-nosed selfies on social media is hardly what you’d expect a major health organisation to be doing.

But methods of engaging young people are forever changing, and NICE is one of the first major public health bodies to use Snapchat as a communications tool.

While others stick to traditional platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, forward-thinking organisations are recognising how to market to millennials by taking a more fun and outgoing route.

And when the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) were looking at ways to create awareness of new guidance on antibiotic resistance, it opened an account on the instant messaging app favoured by teenagers.

Few would question the importance of public health education. But communicating this to young people is a challenge in itself. How do we get their attention?

Digital marketing in healthcare can deliver a serious message in a fun and eye-catching way.

And by using Snapchat’s geofilter - a graphic which can be offered to users within a particular area to use on their photos – NICE invited London’s users to take their own selfies with the slogan “fighting infection in London” to raise health awareness.

We all know why health communication is important, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be dull.

Doing your homework on millennials and technology is an important part of reaching the younger audience on social media.

NICE posted its first Snapchat story at the end of January, featuring graphics and videos, as well as ‘snap facts’ using pictures and emojis to explain how easily infections are spread and how drug resistance develops. It promoted simple actions like regular hand-washing to combat the spread of illness.

A social media marketing strategy like this can be brought in on a small budget – and just £500 was used for promotion of this campaign, which reached nearly 5,000 people.

Marketing public health is not always easy, but with 10 billion videos watched every day on Snapchat it is a highly effective platform to get a message out to the younger generation.

Millennials are the biggest growing audience for NICE website news stories, according to the health body. So it made sense for this latest of public health strategies to be aimed at them.

Snapchat was the perfect platform, and NICE is already looking at using this social media for challenging topics in the future such as when working with universities to highlight sexual health issues.


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