NICE turns to Snapchat to connect with young people

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has become the first major public health body to adopt Snapchat, in a bid to connect with young people.

NICE staff experiment with Snapchat's geofilters for a new campaign pitched at young people
NICE staff experiment with Snapchat's geofilters for a new campaign pitched at young people
Comms professionals for NICE have been busy posing for snotty-nosed selfies in a series of pictures shared on social media.

But there is a serious side to the photos of the press team pulling faces, featuring a cartoon nose dripping with snot.

For NICE is one of the first major public health bodies to have embraced Snapchat – an instant messaging app used by millions of teenagers – as a comms tool.

While many Government departments use traditional forms of social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, they have been slower to try newer apps such as Snapchat.

However, in a bid to reach young people to promote new guidance aimed at tackling public attitudes towards antibiotic resistance, the public health body created an account last month.

Its first Snapchat story was posted towards the end of January and featured graphics and short videos. 
NICE’s communications team shared several ‘snap facts’ throughout the day - using pictures and emojis - to explain how easily infections are spread and how quickly drug resistance develops.

The health body promoted the launch of its Snapchat account through its existing Facebook and Twitter accounts. 

Its comms team used a geofilter - a graphic which can be offered to users within a particular area to use on their photos - to encourage Snapchat users in the vicinity of NICE's London office to take their own selfies, with the slogan 'fighting infection in London', in order to spread awareness of the campaign.

A small budget, just £500, was used for the social media promotion – the story was viewed more than 200 times and the geofilter reached nearly 5,000 people. 

Internationally, 10 billion videos are watched every day on Snapchat. It is an effective platform for reaching millennials, which is the biggest growing audience for NICE website news stories, according to the health body.

Rebecca Smith, head of media at NICE, said: "We wanted to try Snapchat with our tight budget because this particular guidance was all about educating young people about drug resistance and the importance of simple hand-washing. Snapchat was the perfect platform for this. A future campaign might include NICE working more closely with other organisations on challenging topics such as our guidance on child abuse, to be published later this year, or universities when publishing guidance on sexual health."

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