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Influencers Drive Public Health

It was reported last year that the UK government would be investing a budget into influencer marketing for their COVID Test and Trace app. Independent fact-checking organisation Full Fact has since announced that £63,000 was spent paying forty-two social media influencers to post about Test and Trace.

Influencers, including former Love Island contestants, shared sponsored Instagram posts using the hashtags “#gettested” and “letsgetback”. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rules that only health claims listed as authorised in the EU Register, or claims that would have the same meaning to the consumer, may be used in advertising and marketing communications. 

The cabinet confirmed that this was indeed an official marketing campaign, they said:

“As part of the wider communications strategy for raising essential awareness of the NHS Test and Trace service and the importance of testing for COVID-19, we have been working with micro and macro-influencers to reach young adults in a channel they regularly engage with, as we also use traditional marketing and advertorials to reach adults via print, radio, and TV advertising.”

YouTube pilot health campaign 

Health is at the forefront of our minds and news feeds especially surrounding the pandemic. YouTube, an online video-sharing platform that is native to many influencers with large followings, announces that it will be pushing health content on its platform. 

YouTube’s Director and Global Head of Healthcare and Public Health Partnerships, Dr. Garth Graham will be leading the platform’s effort to work towards surfacing easy-to-understand health information from trusted professionals. 

Dr. Garth stated in YouTube’s official announcement of its new scheme: “For anyone who wants to be at the forefront of change in healthcare education, YouTube is an important part of this digital revolution.” 

Health promotion through influencers on social media 

Health and fitness influencer, Joe Wicks, is already successfully using YouTube as a platform for his fitness campaign. ‘PE with Joe’ has raised upwards of £580,000 for the NHS by hosting online workouts throughout the March 2020 and January 2021 UK lockdowns. In July 2020, Wicks received an MBE for his work. 

The Body Coach star welcomed a host of celebrity guests to drive his online PE classes, including Sam Smith, Marvin Humes, and Kimberly Wyatt. All of whom were able to share the video content with their following, too. 

‘PE with Joe’ has perhaps been one of the biggest influencer lead health campaigns to come out of the coronavirus pandemic. For influencer marketing teams, it will be important to follow the plans that YouTube has put in place in order to increase the amount of credible content they host to benefit public health. 

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