Public health initiatives are not typically the subject of influence marketing. However, a recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request highlighted that the UK government paid influencers to post about their Test and Trace service.
A FOIA request by FullFact revealed that £63,000 in total was spent on paying 42 social media influencers to create social media posts to advertise the public service.
The investigation by FullFact found 11 of these personalities, who ranged from nano-influencers with around 9,000 followers to 1.6m follower mega-influencers.
The average amount paid to each influencer was £1500, although it is exceptionally likely that the money spent was weighted towards the macro-influencers.
Influencers that were used include Shaughna Phillips and Josh Denzel from Love Island and Henry Weir, a professional hockey player who has won four bronze medals for England.
In total, those posts were interacted with 81,963 times, although this is far from the total engagement with the campaign, and does not include other traditional advertising methods the government used such as pay-per-click advertising and print media.
Much like with commercial influencer marketing, all sponsored post must be disclosed following many social media platforms’ terms of service as well as US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, as Instagram is based within the United States.
This particular campaign highlights the potential use of influencer marketing in the field of public health to raise awareness, although it remains to be seen whether it will be used again or what analytics the government is using to measure its success.