Extending University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire Trust’s catchment area for maternity services was identified as a strategic priority for 2012. As a result, the trust wanted to highlight its maternity services as some of the best in the country in order to instil local pride.
Previous stories around maternity had already helped to generate significant levels of media coverage. However UHCW recognised the need to develop a dedicated campaign to ensure even greater impact – particularly focused on local residents and specifically testing new engagement methods for healthcare. They identified the period around Mothers’ Day in March as an ideal opportunity to conduct a dedicated, month-long awareness-raising campaign targeted particularly at young women in the area.
- Instil pride in UHCW’s maternity services
- Position UHCW’s maternity consultants as leading experts
- Use case studies to demonstrate excellent care at the trust
- Stimulate dialogue with local residents and other key stakeholders
- Prove that successful campaigns do not always have to rely on large budgets
- Enhance awareness of our services with the key audience and gatekeeper group
- Test the reach for the key messages using social media alongside more traditional PR
- Provide an open access environment for expectant mums
As it was crucial to engage with the target audiences, UHCW conducted an integrated programme of social media and traditional media relations in order to build dialogue with its key stakeholders and gatekeepers relating to maternity. This consisted of sustained social media activity throughout the month, punctuated by key events including web chats and the UK’s first ‘Tweetathon’ from a maternity unit.
The Tweetathon provided a focal point for the campaign’s activities. The communications team spent 12 hours on the ward, tweeting about the new arrivals, what the staff were doing, talking to maternity experts and answering followers’ questions. Ahead of the Tweetathon, UHCW built a database of key bloggers and influential social media users to reach out to in addition to regional media and national health correspondents.
Alongside social media activity, UHCW drip-fed case study-led news stories to national, maternity and regional media throughout the month to drive on- and offline coverage and sustain awareness of the campaign.
Measurement and evaluation
The campaign succeeded in generating coverage in national, online and regional media outlets including The Sun, The Daily Mail, Metro, Press Association, MSN UK, Coventry Telegraph, Mother & Baby, and BBC Coventry & Warwickshire Radio.
The webchats were a particular success, especially within the catchment area, generating coverage in the Coventry Telegraph, Nuneaton News and Kenilworth Weekly News.
The success of the social media activity was further evidenced by the many influential social media users who tweeted about the campaign, particularly the Tweetathon. Baby Expert, Coventry Telegraph, Warren Manger (Health Correspondent at The Coventry Telegraph), NHS Midlands East and SHA (Midlands and East) tweeted about the Tweetathon to a combined 16,603 followers.
The on-going engagement with local patients and stakeholders helped to reassure expectant mums that they were in safe hands. Being able to talk to maternity experts and have insights into the maternity ward has helped to enhance the patients’ own experiences of the maternity unit.
As a result of the Tweetathon, UHCW has seen an increase in Facebook fans and more than 300 new Twitter followers, including particularly influential ones such as Prima Baby and Mother & Baby. The Tweetathon was also covered by BBC Coventry & Warwickshire and askamum.co.uk.