Social Media from the Frontline with Andrew Davies

By Rob McNair

Another Social Media from the Frontline for you now, and this time we’re having a chat with Andrew Davies, Social Communications Exec for Nuffield Health. If you’d like to feature in an upcoming Frontline, let us know by dropping us a Tweet at @mycleveragency.

NAME: Andrew (Seb) Davies

COMPANY: Nuffield Health

ROLE: Social Media Communications Executive

TWITTER HANDLE: @NuffieldHealth (@UncagedPR personal)


Tell us about yourself:

Born in South Yorkshire’s finest pit town Doncaster, I’m a northerner living behind enemy lines in London. I have a degree in public relations from Leeds Metropolitan University and I’ve always had a keen interest in social media in both a personal and professional context. My PR and social media background spans across both the public and private sectors having worked for several NHS trusts and Leeds-based PR agencies Two Birds One Stone and recently renamed Good Relations North and now I’m in a social media role at Nuffield Health.

My role at Nuffield Health, the UK’s largest health charity, is to make social media an essential part of our health and wellbeing communications strategy and to realise its potential as a communication and engagement tool. We aim to provide, fun, informative wellbeing information to help improve the health of the UK population. I am also building a strong and effective customer service channel for the 200,000 members in our 65 Fitness & Wellbeing Centres.

What do you like about social media?

I love the fact there are no experts, only those prepared to take risks and learn from their mistakes. With each communication we push out or attempt to engage with our online communities, we only have our past experiences to guide us and form predictions, but we’re never guaranteed results. Social media has offered a whole new approach to communication, especially in the area of health and wellbeing, and I intend to be a part of that for a long time. We have some fantastic plans in the near future to engage with our members. We want them to see us as approachable and knowledgeable, helping them improve their fitness.

My view in a nutshell: “The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” Jessica Hische

What don’t you like about social media?

Those who refuse to listen or be constructive, something both individual users and organisations are guilty of when using social media. I believe it can provide us with in-depth business intelligence. We should be using this information to improve the experience of our fitness & wellbeing members and hospital users. I dislike those who fail to be constructive via social media. Those who no matter what approach you take will try to be destructive.

Do you have any social media tips you’d like to pass on to our readers?

Have a clear objective of what you want to achieve from social media. Is it a quick and dirty customer service channel, an online community of dedicated followers helping your organisation to develop or a platform to educate?

Be clear about your strategy and build your social media programme around it. By knowing what you want to achieve, you can properly evaluate the success of your efforts. Give yourself realistic targets and understand how to measure them. It doesn’t have to be expensive and there are plenty of free tools to help you do this.

Embrace online conversations between your customers – they are your lifeblood after all. At Nuffield Health we are using our team of Athletes in Residence, who represent our members at each of our 65 centres, to help build these vital online conversations. We’re achieving fantastic results having tripled our levels of engagement in just three months.

Despite what you think, these conversations are taking place everywhere, be it at the bus stop, pub, in the supermarket or hospital waiting room. Unless you’re physically there you cannot listen to or be involved in these conversations, so embrace this opportunity. You should always listen, but it’s up to you whether or not you want to get involved.

Where do you think social media is going? Do you have any predictions?

This is very difficult to say. The industry is changing at such a pace by the time I make a prediction it’s probably already happened. Over the last few weeks I’ve doubted the longevity of Facebook as I’ve noticed many of my personal friends on the site have become inactive. My news feed is now full of promotional offers and posts about ‘pages likes’ and I can see how this is driving people away from the supposed ‘social network’.

The one thing we can be sure of is that social media will never disappear, but how we use it is going to keep on evolving and everyone will have to adapt to the changes.

This post was written by Rob McNair

Rob has experience advising some of the worlds most iconic brands. He thrives on helping improving social media knowledge within organisations with the ultimate goal of making theirs brands more social, transparent and accountable.