good, bad and cake: a social media campaign to celebrate landmark birthday


by Kate Bentham


At the beginning of May 2012 the FIS ran a weeklong multi-platform social media campaign called #WeAre12 to commemorate 12 years since the service was first launched.


It was hoped that #WeAre12 would:





  • raise awareness of the range of information and support available from the FIS
  • explore new social media channels for parents who prefer to use the internet and social networking sites as a route to gather information
  • engage with parents, carers and those working with children, young people and families
  • see an increase in enquiries to the service
  • champion frontline services using social media
  • raise the profile of the service corporately
  • celebrate the work of the FIS 

The events which took place during #WeAre12 were:


Family Information Service Blog


As part of delivering information online we launched a blog to easily share information, comment on news and also be a go to place for not only parents but other working with children, young people and families.


We also wanted the blog to feature guest blogs to showcase and highlight the work of other services which supported families, especially community and voluntary sector organisations.


More importantly we wanted the blog to also include articles from parents who felt able to share their experiences of being parents and to act as a peer support for other parents experiencing similar situations.


Launch of Google +


We had undertaken research on Google + and assessed the potential of the platform for the service. The statistics showed that it was a growing platform and that the highest proportion of users were male. We saw this as a good way of sharing information with dads, who currently only accounted for 8% of service users. Also the wait and see approach to Google+ wasn’t a strong enough argument not to deliver through this channel. We were prepared to give it a go.


Live Question and Answer Session on Facebook


We have a well-established Facebook Family and wanted to host an event especially for Facebookers. We issued a poll to see if people would want a live question and answer session, and if so when would be a good time. The poll said yes, and evenings would be better – once the children we in bed. We checked when Corrie was on and posted the event on the page. Again we weren’t sure if it would work, after all parents might not want to ask us a question about their family in a very open forum.


Live Tweet of Enquires


The service responds to a wide range of information requests. It really is anything and everything to do with family life. We wanted to show how no two requests for information were the same, because no two families are the same. It was hoped that by showing the nature of requests it might help parents to understand that the service really is there for them too. No question is out of the question. We tweeted the question and also tweeted our reply.


 Infographics and Wordles


The last day of the campaign was really to provide some information on the service, through infographics and wordles, which were placed on the blog – to drive traffic there. We wanted to show the feedback we’d had from parents, number of enquiries we’d had since we launched (76,800 fact fans) and also information on childcare provision in Shropshire. We also posted some of the headline stats alongside the images. The posts generated our second highest page views for the week.


Facts and Stats


We were constantly gathering evidence throughout the week, screen grabs and analytics, as a way of evaluating the campaign as it ran. We may not know the impact of the campaign for some time but by the end of the week the stats were as follows:-


Blog post 


 Mon Tues Wed Thu Fri



Page Views 60 65 374 94 135


Facebook referrals 8 9 166 35 27


Twitter Referrals 10 4 89 20 27





46% of #WeAre12 tweets were replied to by followers

45% of #WeAre12 tweets were retweeted

Number of followers increased by 5%

31,442 accounts reached

157,977 impressions




Weekly total reach up by 118%

Number of new likes up by 3%

People talking about this increase of 40%


Google +


Number of pluses up by 57% increase


The Good


We used the #WeAre12 hashtag for the whole campaign. Having an overall campaign hashtag was essential. For the live tweet of enquiries we used #FISLive and when we distributed the infographics and wordles we used #FISFact.

  • The guest blogs worked a treat. Our busiest blog day was from a mum sharing her very personal account of post natal depression. The response from other parents was incredible.
  • The networks we had developed came good and we felt we could call on a favour.
  • Supporters of the service shared, retweeted, promoted the campaign and the work we were doing.
  • BBC Radio Shropshire invited us onto their mid-morning show for two consecutive days to talk about the campaign.
  • The live Q&A on Facebook actually generated discussion – parents were making suggestions to other parents, we merely provided the venue and facilitated that discussion.
  • We had a modern apprentice designer in the team, which really helped. It gave us more control on timescales and any changes could be made instantly.
  • We engaged with Digital Communications Team way in advance of the campaign and they were on board in a shot and were very supportive.
  • We had a bit of luck on our side the day of the live tweets of enquiries – we really had a range of questions that day.
  • We had an element of fun/trivial, we asked people when they were 12 what they wanted to be, what their favourite cake was.
  • We felt we got the mix of events right and the mix of platforms. It helped to maximise greater coverage.
  • We benefitted from staff prepared to work in the evenings and on their day off to keep the campaign going.

The Bad

  • There could have been more support from corporate comms. Some of the highlights of the campaign could have been picked out and press releases issued individually along the one overall campaign press release.
  • There could have been more support from the corporate twitter account. The campaign was only tweeted twice before it had even started.
  • On the first day of the campaign the corporate twitter account launched the blog before we had. Corporate comms then emailed to say they’d done it and asked if there was anything on there – good job there was but they clearly hadn’t checked.
  • The press release wasn’t initially picked up by the local paper until I tweeted the link to one of the journalists.

The Cake

  • There was birthday cake and lashings of it.
  • We tweeted pictures of the #WeAre12 cake of the day.
  • We asked our facebookers what their favourite cake was.
  • We ate cake everyday, all in the name of work. #Ace

Kate Bentham is an officer for Shropshire Council's Family Information Service

Picture credit


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