Creating #MyHealthPromise: A Socially Driven Hashtag Awareness Campaign

Most marketing campaigns at Johns Hopkins Medicine are about us — our facilities, our doctors, our research, our services. But what would happen if we created a campaign all about our audience — if we let our audience tell us what they care about — and as a result, show that we care about them?

That is the premise on which the #MyHealthPromise campaign was built. You haven’t made your health promise? Well, here’s what it is: #MyHealthPromise encourages people to put their health first. Individuals can either create their own health promise or make one of 15 preset preventive health and screening pledges, and then share their goal via Twitter and Facebook. The campaign leverages both the site and our social media platforms to create an engaging and interactive experience.

The Start of Something New

Each month, Johns Hopkins Medicine creates a Web package featuring a specific health awareness month. During a meeting in September, members of the Internet Strategy team discussed ways to promote the Web packages. Someone tossed out the idea of a hashtag campaign. Following the meeting, the two of us met and brainstormed a bit more, and from there, #MyHealthPromise was born.

[themify_box style="light-blue rounded" ]A hashtag campaign promotes a pound sign paired with a phrase — all included in “one word” — that people can add to their social media posts. When readers click the hashtag, they see all posts that use that phrase. Hashtag campaigns have become a popular way to spark social engagement, participation and conversation.[/themify_box]

Working Together

It’s said that timing is everything, and launching #MyHealthPromise as a New Year’s-themed campaign made sense to everyone. Since we’d never created a campaign like this, we had to go beyond our typical responsibilities and work together as a team. Tristin created the graphics; Jess worked on the text; and other members of the Internet Strategy team brainstormed on the layout, implemented tracking functionality and tested the user experience — we employed skill sets across the team to bring this to fruition.

A Fantastic Success

To get the spread the word, we turned to multiple communications channels, including:

We’ve had a tremendous response. The My Health Promise page received more than 4,000 visits since we launched on Jan. 1. In fact, it was the second-most visited health page on in January.

And we’re seeing that people are taking action: We had more than 1,200 social media engagements—meaning shares on Facebook, retweets on Twitter and comments on posts.

The Inside Hopkins daily email delivered almost 600 clicks, and the Your Health newsletter produced another 100. Across the board, this was a win with people inside and outside of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

But beyond the numbers, we’re proud of how we worked together to make this happen and went beyond our job descriptions to try something new. The campaign showed how innovations do not just happen at Johns Hopkins Medicine in research labs, but rather through a multidisciplinary marketing and communications effort. We found that when we push new ideas and work together to reach people on the Web, great things happen.

The Next Great Idea

The idea to engage our audiences on such a personal level is a direct extension of our patient-and family-centered care strategic priority — we want people to be thinking about how they will make their health a priority. The goal of a health promise is to get people thinking about how to improve their health and by making an outward promise, motivating them to make a change.

With this kind of response, we’re looking forward to finding other ways to engage with our audience.

That’s where you come in. We’d love to hear if you think a hashtag campaign — or another new idea — could work with your group. After all, new ways of connecting with our audience come when we put our energy toward breaking out of the same old box and when we’re given the freedom to explore.

If you have an idea about a hashtag campaign or other patient-generated content, let us know!


Tristin Bates is the Social Media and Blogging Specialist for Johns Hopkins Medicine. She works with colleagues and faculty to support the development and execution of social media strategies tied to institutional goals and objectives. Drawing on her passion for graphic design, she also develops engaging visual components that enhance our Web and social content.


Jessica McQuay has been a member of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center’s marketing and communications team for over 10 years. In addition to contributing to internal and external marketing and communications efforts for Johns Hopkins Bayview, she also serves as Web coordinator. In this role, Jessica collaborates closely with Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Internet Strategy team to fully integrate the medical center’s public web presence with overarching content strategies and efforts to achieve a seamless, system-wide Web experience.