Business development · 22 August 2016

NHS Missing Type campaign shows how businesses unite on social media

NHS Missing Type
The NHS and its marketing team have captured the imagination of businesses with the Missing Type campaign

For the second successive year, and this time on a more global basis, the NHS has rolled out its Missing Type campaign – and seen a strong response from businesses large and small.

Social media has increasingly been used as a platform for campaigns and initiatives, with the right ingredients leading to some going viral. The latest to hit the headlines is from our very own NHS, highlighting the need for blood donations – particularly for rare types.

Figures from NHS Blood Transport revealed that there were 40 per cent fewer new blood donors last year than a decade ago – and Missing Type is all about utilising the support of the public and brands to spread the message.

From Microsoft in the US, to Tesco at home, businesses have dropped the “As”, “Bs” and “Os” from names both online and in the flesh – and it’s now gone internationally across 21 countries. Here are some more examples of those which have got involved.

 

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Social media is a massive democratising force in business today, as it is available to companies large and small for no cost. Granted bigger corporations can afford to both hire people in to run social media accounts full time, and engage in paid-for posts, but a bit of careful planning and structure can enable small enterprises to join the fun and reap the benefits.

For something like the NHS Missing Type campaign, which is inherently a feel-good initiative with no express commercial gains for anyone, it allows brands to engage with both existing and potential customers in an informal way. Using a hashtag, in this case #MissingType, smaller companies can sit right alongside global corporations in a stimulating discussion.

Picking the right social media platform for your business can be a daunting process. As our resident online sales and marketing expert Becky Campbell explained in a piece last year, it’s important to follow your audience and appear where your audience is found – both online and offline.

She emphasised that all social media channels are different, and aimed at different audiences. Content suitable for Twitter may not necessarily engage with a LinkedIn audience.

Making a strategic investment in a social media manager, even if they are part time or outsourced, means businesses don’t miss out on the chance to be part of viral campaigns like Missing Type. Customers like to know that the companies they are supporting are not only concerned with driving sales, but also value humanistic perspectives.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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