Muiriosa Ryan - Social Media Manager
The HSE's Twitter account was set up 10 years ago so we could share public health messages on social media. Since then, our account has grown from strength-to-strength. We now have over 40,000 followers and this year we had over 1.4 million engagements with our tweets and a potential reach of over 12 billion.
As we near a new year, and a new decade, we thought it would be good to review our 2019 on Twitter by sharing our most popular tweets from each month.
It’s great to see that HPV vaccine advocate, Laura Brennan, features so often throughout the year. She was a very special person and a pleasure to get to know.
On 1 January 2019 abortion was introduced into Ireland. This historic change in the law resulted from the referendum to repeal the eighth amendment. As the health service rolled out abortion services for the first time, social media played an essential role in informing the Irish public.
This tweet on New Year’s Day was our top tweet that month.
Our tweet of the month in February was a video featuring Laura Brennan and her work with the World Health Organisation for World Cancer Day.
At 25, after receiving a diagnosis of terminal cervical cancer, Laura wanted to advocate publicly in favour of the HPV vaccine. After contacting the HSE through our Facebook page in September 2017, Laura worked tirelessly on the HPV vaccine campaign, helping to bring about an increase in uptake of the vaccine.
Laura’s message was clear - “the HPV vaccine saved lives, it could’ve saved mine.”
Laura Brennan featured again as our tweet of the month for March but this time we were tweeting the announcement of Laura’s sad passing. Those of us who were privileged enough to work with, and get to know Laura, learned so much from her.
When sending the tweet we used the hashtag #ThankYouLaura to thank her for everything she has done. Since March 2019, the reach on Laura’s hashtag has been over 53 million. There have been over 10,000 mentions of Laura Brennan’s name and #ThankYouLaura combined for the month of March.
There was huge engagement with this tweet and it is our top tweet since the HSE first joined Twitter 10 years ago.
For European Immunisation Week in April, we had a series of vaccination messages running on Twitter. Our top-performing tweet was our message about the MMR vaccine with an animated video which was shared widely.
For the third time in 2019, Laura Brennan featured in our top-performing tweet of the month. Laura worked with RTE on a one-off documentary called ‘Laura Brennan: This Is Me’. The documentary follows the final chapters of Laura’s life as she dealt with terminal cervical cancer while living life to the fullest as well as campaigning for the HPV vaccine. It initially aired on RTE Player and our top tweet for May was our promotion of the documentary.
The HSE’s Dementia: Understand Together campaign had a dementia inclusive garden in Bloom 2019. The entry was titled ‘Memories are made of this – Dementia: Understand Together’ and won the People’s Choice award at Bloom. The garden created a space for people living with dementia to reminisce in a welcoming and supportive way.
The garden has since been moved to its new home at St Ita’s Community Hospital, Newcastle West, Co. Limerick. It continues to be a celebration of all things 1950s – where people in their 60s, 70s and 80s can remember, celebrate and share stories about an era when they were young.
In June, the Government announced the planning of 6 new health regions for Ireland. The regions will be developed as part of implementing Sláintecare and improving our health service. We tweeted a map of the new structure as well as a video message from our CEO, Paul Reid.
We launched our 2019/2020 HPV vaccine campaign in August. For the first time, the vaccine was offered to all students in 1st year of secondary school, including girls and boys.
We promoted new and informative videos on social media to support parents in making decisions about the HPV vaccine. The videos feature girls and boys with their families who have received the vaccine and who will be getting vaccinated in the coming year.
Laura once again featured as our top tweet in September. As part of the HPV campaign the ‘Laura Brennan: This Is Me’ documentary aired on RTE. We sent a #ThankYouLaura tweet, encouraging our followers to watch the show, and it was our top tweet of the month.
Our social media team worked with Twitter and the HSE’s National Immunisation Office on a new feature which proactively promotes credible public health information about vaccinations to people in Ireland.
Now, when someone in Ireland searches for certain keywords associated with vaccinations on Twitter, they’ll get a visual prompt that directs them to the HSE website’s vaccine content. Our message will appear at the top of Twitter users’ search results, ensuring it is the first thing people see.
The winter plan is a key priority for the HSE. To support this, we have a series of related messages going out on Twitter including videos about injury units, EDs, feeling under the weather and going to your pharmacist. Our top tweet for November is one of these messages.
We are running a series of videos in relation to organ donation on Twitter for the month of December. We are encouraging people to #HaveTheConveration about organ donation over the Christmas period. It remains to be seen what our top tweet for December will be but we can see that this content is performing well already.
We've got lots more tweets to come in 2020 so If you don't already, follow @HSELive on Twitter now.