Diabetes UK

The health charity asked people who have the condition to share positive stories for its awareness week and saw a big boost in engagement on Facebook and Twitter

The i Can campaign
The i Can campaign

What is it?

For Diabetes Week, the charity is inviting people who have diabetes and their families to share positive messages and pictures using the hashtag #iCan. Messages are being shared across multiple social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram, as well as on the charity’s website, where all of the messages are being pulled together in a live story stream.

Why are they doing it?

Jemma Stocks, marketing executive at Diabetes UK, says that, rather than using Diabetes Week to focus on its own messages, the charity wanted to turn the focus on to its audience and hear their "stories of triumph, of overcoming challenges, and times when their diabetes hasn’t held them back".

What else

The charity has created a video that explains the campaign and draws attention to positive stories from its research. Diabetes UK says it will personally acknowledge and thank each person who shares their story by commenting on their online post, writing them an email or letter or signposting them to their support services.

How has it been received so far?

Diabetes UK says this campaign has generated the highest social media engagement levels of any campaign it has delivered, which Stocks attributes to a "strong, relevant, feel-good theme and good coordination between internal teams to manage and deliver the project on a shoestring budget".

At 12pm on day four of the week-long campaign, the charity’s social media messages had reached 6.5 million people. In a typical week, Diabetes UK would expect a social media reach of about 750,000. For context, the charity points out that the condition affects 3.2 million people in the UK. On Facebook, posts received more than 4,800 likes and 1,662 shares; on Twitter, the #iCan hashtag was used 6,731 times. 

Third Sector verdict

The campaign has a very positive message, which is refreshing compared with campaigns from other health charities that focus on problems or obstacles. The charity’s commitment to respond to each person who contributes will no doubt create extra work for its comms team, but it is something supporters will greatly appreciate and which will boost the charity’s profile among its target audience. This is a factor missing from many digital campaigns, which can often be a one-way method of communication.

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