When it comes to social media, some brands definitely have easier opportunities for engagement than others. Most users are going to be more interested in watching the latest Stranger Things trailer on Netflix’s Twitter than a video about cleaning tips from the account of a detergents brand.
Additionally, some companies belong to regulated industries, such as banking and healthcare, which have strict guidelines governing the contents of their external communication.
Despite the content and regulation obstacles facing some companies, many still find creative ways to approach social media strategy. In particular, Yorkshire Building Society (YBS), a financial services company based in the UK, formulated a social media campaign that effectively engaged their audience.
Their campaign illustrates how creative strategies, such as optimizing language, creating interactive content, and using multiple networks, can engage and stimulate conversations with your intended audience.
Although YBS provides useful, necessary services to nearly 3.3 million customers, content about finances is not a topic the majority of users would want to consume in their free time. Additionally, as a member of a regulated industry, YBS faces certain guidelines about the messages they broadcast.
Richard Bassinder, YBS’s social media manager, and his team took a creative approach to the company’s strategies, however, by restructuring key messages and the use of social.
YBS’s team began by assessing the type of language used by their audience. According to Bassinder, terms like “savings” and “mortgage” did not appear in consumer’s messages often. Instead, terms like “aspiration” and “homes” were focal points of audience posts, which Bassinder incorporated in the company’s messages.
They started a hashtag, #aplacecalledhome, and encouraged people to share it in posts about their homes. The company also started using Pinterest for the first time, creating a contest that offered £1,000 to the user who created the most inspiring collage of how to make a house a home. Additionally, the company filmed a video of children using the popular video game Minecraft to build their ideal home and shared it on Facebook and Twitter.
What can we learn from YBS?
According to Bassinder, his philosophy is to “Be a social business, not just a business that uses social media.” This approach provides communicators with useful lessons about how to optimize social media.
Assess your audience
As a financial company, YSB’s communication professionals could have created content that highlighted the technical nature of their business, but they assessed consumer posts to identify language that resonated with their audience.
Analyzing the type of language used in your audience’s accounts, as YBS did, allows your messages to align more closely with their interests, encouraging them to share and engage with your work.
Make your campaign interactive
YSB’s work encouraged customer involvement from a variety of avenues. The Pinterest portion of the campaign asked users to create a collage and provided a potential monetary incentive for participating. The #aplacedcalledhome hashtag also promoted content creation from users.
The interactive components of YBS’s campaigns highlights the effectiveness of generating social content that involves audience participation.
Explore different mediums
YBS’s campaign did not target just one social channel. Instead, they diversified and utilized multiple networks, including channels their business had not previously used.
This strategy is effective because it allows you to reach a broader population of people and to subsequently measure the effectiveness and responses from each platform. The data from the channels gives professionals insight about the best networks to use for future campaigns.
Social media channels are one of the most useful tools for communicator to reach their desired audience. Following the advice of YBS to be a social business by employing effective techniques, specifically assessing audience posts, creating activities that encourage involvement, and exploring different mediums, will generate valuable outcomes for your business.