Using social media to tackle Sheffield’s sugar problem

Most of us know having too much sugar is bad for us, but do you know how much is too much? This was one of the red flags that came out of our research for Sheffield City Council. They appointed us to create a five-year behaviour change campaign to help the people of Sheffield reduce their sugar intake and bring down the high rates of obesity and tooth decay in the city.

During the research phase, it became apparent that most people didn’t know about Public Health England’s recommended daily limits of sugar for adults and children. Those that did, found the information confusing.

We set out on a mission to raise awareness and simplify some of the messages around sugar. It began with a dedicated campaign website and, following an initiative in schools in Feb 2020, we started building the campaign’s presence on Facebook and Instagram.

We curated a monthly social media calendar by defining five key themes for our day-to-day social posts, including facts on sugar, healthy swaps and what the council was doing to support the campaign. These five topics are used as a guide to help us plan posts each month while keeping an eye on current affairs to ensure we can tie in content and always have something relevant to say. We also mix these posts in with regular campaign work. We’re currently asking our followers to share their low sugar recipes for a chance to be featured in the Sheffield Family Guide to Smart Sugar Swaps.

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With full-time own­er­ship and man­age­ment of the cam­paign we fol­low accounts that align with our think­ing, such as local Sheffield groups and any­thing focused on healthy eat­ing. We active­ly like, com­ment and share con­tent reg­u­lar­ly to increase fol­low­ers and keep Sheffield is Sweet Enough’ at the top of people’s minds. 

We’ve learnt a lot of good prac­tice tips for each social chan­nel and try to apply them to our posts. Such as, focus­ing more on video con­tent for Insta­gram, keep­ing posts short and spe­cif­ic on Face­book and always respond­ing to mes­sages prompt­ly. We’re also keen to keep things on-trend, so we always look out for ini­tia­tives we can pig­gy­back, such as Love Your Gut week or the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

One thing that real­ly helps with engage­ment is shar­ing oth­er people’s expe­ri­ences or cre­at­ing polls on sto­ries to get reg­u­lar inter­ac­tion. We’ve also had great suc­cess with shar­ing low sug­ar recipes – cre­at­ing and shar­ing pho­tos and videos of the fin­ished dish­es on the Sheffield is Sweet Enough social channels. 

Every­thing is in-house – all videos and images are devel­oped at a low cost by our cre­ative team and are then post­ed out by us up to three times a week, with addi­tion­al activ­i­ty on sto­ries. As pro­lif­ic users of social media, it’s a dream job to be trust­ed with a client’s social media accounts and have the cre­ative free­dom to keep com­ing up with fresh con­tent. We love it!

Whether you already have a social media pres­ence or want to get start­ed, we can help with every­thing from brain­storm­ing, strat­e­gy devel­op­ment and plan­ning a cam­paign cal­en­dar to copy­writ­ing, cre­ative devel­op­ment, and day-to-day man­age­ment. You can get an idea of what we do in our social media blog post. Give us a call if you’d like to find out more.

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About The Foundry 

The Foundry is a strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tions agency, based in Man­ches­ter, deliv­er­ing ful­ly-inte­grat­ed mar­ket­ing cam­paigns for B2B, B2C, pub­lic sec­tor and health­care clients. 

Mar­ket­ing ser­vices that sup­port patient edu­ca­tion include qual­i­ta­tive and quan­ti­ta­tive research, social media cam­paigns, edu­ca­tion­al web­sites, CPD pro­grammes, online learn­ing tools, in-clin­ic train­ing mate­ri­als, posters and patient literature. 

For more infor­ma­tion, call 0161 926 8444.