Innovative social media marketing for the health sector

Guy in a shirt holding a rose

We’ve recently completed a very successful digital marketing campaign for the NHS Lanarkshire Blood Borne Virus Network, in Scotland, promoting HIV health awareness throughout the Lanarkshire region. The campaign ran over the festive period this Christmas and New Year (2016-17) and also ran for two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, on 14th February this year.

The aim of the whole promotion was to communicate the message of safe sex and educate on the risks of getting carried away during the party season. We all tend to overdo things at this time of year, some more than others… and the NHS wanted to remind people of some of the dangers of partying too hard without full knowledge of the risks.

Elastic has already undertaken branding and brand design for NHS Lanarkshire which can be seen on the website at We’ve also been involved in previous social media marketing campaigns and Google Adwords PPC marketing for the organisation.

Creative video production and digital marketing strategy

For the recent campaign, we created a range of short videos, designed to be delivered on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and consumed on mobile devices. Creative video production and highly targeted marketing were both key here. Our audience in Lanarkshire was over 300,000…those were people in the 16-65 age group who have a social media account on either of the three networks.

We wanted to target this group with short, sharp videos to educate them immediately, without having to click through to a website. The plan was to then follow this up with ‘click bait’ type, image based content, designed to reinforce the message and drive traffic to a specially created landing page.

So, the digital strategy was to raise awareness and educate, directly, within social media and then to re-market and reinforce the message using strong ‘click bait’ imagery and text. We felt this would really cut through and drive website visits; developing that awareness captured by the video content.


Overall we achieved 170,441 video views of 3 seconds length or more across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, with over 880,000 opportunities for Lanarkshire people to see a piece of content, during the period.

Really phenomenal numbers here and NHS Lanarkshire are very happy with the investment made. We don’t have statistics on numbers of people coming in to be tested, as yet, but awareness of HIV and Hepatitis has absolutely increased.

The Valentine’s campaign was the most successful, racking up 80,487 video views of 3 seconds or longer. Also the view to 50% rate was 60,590, the reason for this high figure being that the video content here was a lot shorter.

Here’s an example of one of the shorter, GIF like, Valentine’s videos

An example of one of the Valentine’s day ‘click bait adverts’

Man in white shirt with rose

Take aways

Much shorter content, of less than 10 seconds is very strong on social media and especially on phones. The Valentine’s videos were very GIF like, direct and colourful. We did run them as GIFs on Facebook but switched to mp4s as the reporting is more comprehensive.

What’s also clear is that to really engage with a local targeted audience you need to include language relevant to that audience. Content that included the text ‘Lanarkshire’ early on within the text, always performed better than content without that local focus.

Instagram is really coming into its own as a video marketing channel and with a younger user base than Facebook, this was one of the reasons for using it for this campaign. People watched more video content to 50% on Instagram and it was also strongest at marketing the image based, more direct, ‘click bait’ content.

Twitter didn’t perform as well and we feel it’s still not a completely natural fit for marketing video content. Also, even though images and links are widely shared there, the ‘click bait’ content didn’t drive the traffic that Instagram did. Instagram has been built around this type of content and we feel Twitter is struggling to escape its text based roots.

Finally, Facebook/Instagram’s advertising interface is way better than Twitter’s, making reporting and monitoring more effective.

Getting the message out. Find out more about our social media marketing expertise.

Return on investment (ROI) for NHS Lanarkshire

ROI for NHS Lanarkshire is based on not having to treat someone for HIV or Hepatitis infection. It’s very expensive to treat a member of the public for these infections. If we can reduce the rate of infection, through communication and education, then not only does the NHS benefit in resource terms, people’s lives are improved.

Here are some examples of the creatives we developed and used for the campaigns.

One of the Christmas period videos

New Year period video

Additional Valentine’s video

Some examples of the ‘click bait’ images run during Christmas and New Year 2016-17

Graphic showing viruses in red and green

Feet of a couple in bed

Fireworks on Hogmanay


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