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Dare you #FlossYourBoss?

Author: Claire Briscoe
03 May 2018

Claire Briscoe, Head of Communications at St Ann’s Hospice in Greater Manchester, explains how the latest playground dance craze has become a viral sensation for the hospice.

Flossing.  We all thought we knew what it was, and how important it was to our oral hygiene.  But how wrong we were…there is much more to flossing than we had previously imagined.

In case you have been on holiday on a desert island and have not seen another member of the public for several weeks, let me explain.  The floss dance is the latest playground craze that has been sweeping across the world, with thousands of children, parents, aunties and uncles all trying to get in on the act.

With actions not a million miles away from Trev and Simon’s ‘swing your pants’ dance from Saturday morning children’s TV, flossing hit the national news agenda when Simon Hunt, a teacher from Tottington Primary School in Greater Manchester, decided to master the craze and join his pupils in a special video.  Cue a viral sensation, with a video that has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

The power of social media is immense, as we all know.  Within a few days, the story had moved from social to the local, regional and national news, with many a broadcasting legend trying out the moves on air as they linked to the video.

At St Ann’s, we are always keen to innovate and try new things, and we are lucky to have a team who are quick to respond to opportunities. Seeing the floss hashtag consistently trending over a few days, we decided to try and seize the opportunity to raise awareness of the hospice and the work our teams here do.

#FlossYourBoss was the result of a communications team brainstorm – it is actually very surprising how few words rhyme with floss – and the idea was that we would challenge people to surprise their boss with a floss dance, share the video, and make a £2 text donation to St Ann’s.  We also asked them to dare a friend to do the same.

The campaign launched with a video filmed by Laura and Helen from our team, of our chief executive Eamonn O’Neal in a meeting with some of our staff talking about the Midnight Walk.  He was interrupted in a rather unusual way – you can see how here

We are really pleased with how the campaign has been going so far.  Local businesses have decided to film their own #FlossYourBoss videos, and famous faces have shared for us to help spread the word.

It is still early in the campaign, but we are thrilled with the way it is going.  It has been viewed over 13,000 times and has reached almost 25,000 people to date, and most importantly nearly a thousand engagements in the form of reactions, comments and shares.

It may not be the new ice bucket challenge (yet!), but what has been really heartwarming is the number of people who have commented or shared their experiences of St Ann’s as a result of the posts.

We have also reached people who would not normally engage with the hospice, and grown our social media audience as a result. 

We all know how important it is for charities to raise awareness, and at St Ann’s we are always keen to try and change people’s perceptions of hospices.  This latest campaign has hopefully shown that hospices are not scary places, that we do support people through really sad times, but that we are also communities that are full of laughter and smiles.

As hospices change and develop; as we broaden our reach and services; as we endeavour to dispel myths around hospice care, sometimes we need to stick our heads up and try new things.  Some will work, some will not but we cannot stop shouting – and when staff can dance as well as ours, we simply could not miss this trick!

Trying something new can be scary.  But, we challenge you all to try the #Floss today too.  We would love to see your #FlossYourBoss videos, and please do share our campaign to help keep the momentum going.    Now, ready?  Swing your arms to the left…

For more information visit St Ann’s

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