Despite the widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic during the spring and summer of 2020, adoption of key public health practices such as social distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing was slow in many parts of the country. We understand that often the best way to break through to consumers with actionable messages is through like-minded social influencers, rather than PSAs and advertisements from official agencies. With this in mind, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) sought out a partnership with us to craft an influencer campaign encouraging Texas citizens to take measures to stop the spread of the virus in impactful and creative ways. 


The Challenges

We had to consider a number of factors when researching potential influencers for this campaign. In particular, we used our tech intelligence to identify:


  • Authentic and diverse voices representing key demographics throughout the state of Texas. 
  • Influencers who would adhere to government health guidelines in their personal lives as well as in sponsored posts. We checked every potential influencer’s posts dating back six weeks and stipulated in our contracts that influencers abide by the guidelines for six weeks after posting.
  • Influencers free of political agendas who would not promote any controversial or harmful politics or misinformation, or engage in unlawful behavior.
  • Users who could appeal to Millennials and Generation Z, the target audience for the DSHS’s messaging. 


Additionally, executing this campaign in a timely manner was crucial. Lives depended on it. We had to be nimble as changing health guidelines led to changes in campaign factors and influencer qualifications. All the while, we also had to be mindful of the slower pace of the government approval process—working ahead of time to allow for potential delays. 


The Campaign

Our thorough vetting process identified 20 high-impact Texas-based influencers. Combined, the group had a reach of more than 22 million followers. Notable participants included: 


  • NFL quarterback Robert Griffin III
  • Houston Astros’ Alex Bregman
  • TikTok star Parker James
  • Fashion blogger Leena Snoubar
  • MLB player Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez
  • Gymnast & five-time Olympic medalist Nastia Liukin 
  • TikTok star Tayler Holder
  • UFC fighter Montana De La Rosa 
  • Professional disc golf player Brodie Smith
  • NFL linebacker Craig Robertson 

These influencers got creative with the campaign hashtags used on TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube including, #StayHomeTexas, #WeGotThis, and #HealthyTexas. In all, posts from our influencers reached 23.8M users and garnered 8.5M engagements, for a total media value of $24.2M. Below is a post Nastia Liukin created:



Looking ahead to more social good campaigns 

While the fight against COVID-19 is far from over, our work with the DSHS proves that it’s possible to spread accurate, positive information on behalf of a government entity in a fun and engaging way. What’s more, this approach can drive powerful results. As more state and local municipalities look to incorporate non-traditional marketing and social media tactics into their educational campaigns, we hope that #HealthyTexas will serve as an example of how to use these tools to engage constituents and drive awareness and action in novel ways. 


The team at Markerly was proud to play our part in the fight against this pandemic and we hope to continue to champion campaigns for social good. If you’re interested in working together, drop us a line!