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What makes a leading social media strategy?

As part of our strategy to understand what separates content leaders from the mainstream, we partnered up with Base Creative on their Sharing Social podcast.

Blog Post Author – Andy
12th December 2021

As part of ContentCal’s ongoing strategy to understand what separates content leaders from the mainstream (read more in our 2022 content marketing report) we partnered up with Base Creative on their Sharing Social podcast.

The podcast series included discussing social media focuses and objectives with four senior social media leaders, from IBM, RB, Mett Office & Ericsson

All of the sessions are available on-demand on the Sharing Social podcast and the key takeaways have been summarized below.

Episode one: Nada Alkutbi, Social Media Leader at IBM

Recently appointed as the Social Media Leader for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, Nada works with a team of 30 social media practitioners, covering nine markets, across 122 countries.

Nada spearheaded the IBM social influencer marketing program, driving engagement and web traffic to, as well as generating high-quality audience contacts for IBM events. Nada also played a key role in the design of the global IBM Influencer Council, establishing a centralized approach to the way IMB works with influencers and ensuring influencers are equipped with the tools needed to develop and measure their own programs.

In addition, Nada has led IBM’s UKI employee advocacy program helping IBMers improve their own social eminence and presence.

How IBM create their social media strategy

IBM’s social media mission is to ‘build belief in IBM’ through relevant story-driven content, connections and dialogue.

The strategy uses data to understand who the audience is and what kind of content performs well, built around the 'Four C’s’

  • Channels

Which channels are best for their audiences (LinkedIn and Twitter in IBM’s case)

  • Champions

Empowering employee advocates to be social, external influencers

  • Cadence

Quality over quantity. IBM sees higher engagement when they publish fewer pieces of content.

  • Content

High-quality content that is social first and tailored to each platform.

This strategy is measured through KPI’s based on upper-funnel metrics including likes and shares, middle funnel metrics like consumer experience, and bottom-funnel metrics by way of engaged website visits. Results are shared on a quarterly or monthly basis with senior stakeholders, using benchmarks to compare content performance year-on-year

Something that separates IBM from others in the space, however, is that there is a heavy focus on attribution - using UTM’s to establish social media’s impact on key website pages.

How IBM incorporate influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has become a core part of IBM’s strategy and has created a substantial impact across the business.

Nada’s philosophy on influencer marketing is refreshingly different. She focuses on helping influencers become IBM advocates, driving long-term engagement - rather than paying influencers on a campaign basis.

Episode two: Kelsey Nebbeling, Social Media Senior Manager at Reckitt

Reckitt is the company behind some of the world’s most recognizable and trusted consumer brands in hygiene, health, and nutrition, like Durex, Nurofen, and Airwick.

Over the past 12 months Reckitt has really focused on building a corporate reputation across social media channels, to improve  brand awareness and become more consumer-facing.

What’s the purpose of social media for Reckitt?

Reckitt has specific social media objectives for the internal and external activity.

From an external perspective, Reckitt’s efforts heavily focused on introducing consumers to the company behind the brands they love.

From an internal perspective, the focus is on brand positioning and talent acquisition. It is also a way for employees to keep up to date with the latest company updates.

What social media channels do Reckitt focus on?

Listen to the full interview with Kelsey to learn more about the ins and outs of Reckitt’s social media strategy.

Reckitt’s main focus is across LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Each channel is used for a different purpose:

  • LinkedIn – drive the corporate brand and meet ROI targets
  • Twitter – talk to media, NGOs, and investors
  • Instagram – internally focused channel for talent acquisition and employee updates
  • Facebook – under assessment for long term benefit, but used for paid media

How does Reckitt measure success?

Reckitt is focused on raising brand awareness, so impressions and reach are measured carefully. Additionally, engagement and engagement rates are monitored on LinkedIn and Instagram. Reckitt also looks at the user journey as a whole to see what happens after social engagements.

All of this builds an accurate picture of how audiences respond to the content being published and allows Reckitt to adapt as necessary.

Episode 3: Ross Middleham, Content & Social Lead at the Met Office

Listen to the full interview with Ross to learn more about the ins and outs of The Met Office’s social media strategy. Including a deep dive into breakthrough formats such as Instagram Reels and YouTube shorts.

What’s the Met Office’s distribution of followers across platforms?

The Met Office has 1.6 million combined followers across Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, and TikTok.

Part of the purpose of the Met Office is to inform everyone of upcoming weather conditions and keep everyone safe. So, different channels are used to connect with different audiences.

Twitter is the Met Office’s biggest platform, as it’s been used by the company for the longest time and has over 800,000 followers. Twitter is used as a rolling news channel to keep up with the ever-changing nature of the weather.

We’re able to provide people an avenue to understand how the weather and climate will impact them around the clock when it matters to them the most.

How did the Met Office begin a partnership with TikTok?

The Met Office realized during TikTok’s early stages that there was a buzz around the platform and that it was important to look ahead at what was coming next. At first, the Met Office started experimenting on the platform when it was a low-risk strategy and no one actually knew they were posting there!

Some of the initial content hooks in the early days revolved around the current weather, or what the temperature was going to look like in the next few days. However, this wasn’t really getting the traction they wanted.

At the start of lockdown, the Met Office began looking at their publishing schedule to work out how they could align themselves with some of the new verticals TikTok was investing in - one of them being education. After discovering an opportunity to keep people up to date and informed, the partnership was born!

The importance of social media for the Met Office

The Met Office has a clear social media strategy, something that’s essential to its success.

We’re a trusted name, and people come to us in times of severe weather because they know they’re going to get the most accurate information. We get people commenting saying that they’ve told their mum to bring the rabbit in because it’s gonna be really rainy overnight, or that they’re going to download a load of Netflix stuff because the power might go out. People are taking action based on our advice and we’re ticking a big box in that sense.

Episode 4: Anita Veszeli, Director of Social Media and Advocacy at Ericsson

Listen to the final interview here.

Anita’s been with Ericsson for 13 years and has been on quite the journey. Having started as a Marketing and Communication Advisor managing local accounts, she’s been key in helping change the culture of social media at Ericsson.

Anita now has oversight of all social media, employee advocacy and influencer marketing across Ericsson’s global business. This bird’s eye view helps create a social-first strategy to help colleagues around the world better reach and engage with customers.

Anita championed adopting a strategic approach to digital marketing, challenging existing ways of doing things, and demonstrating the power of using social media to solve business challenges. Operating at a group level, Anita’s teams’ expertise and social media insights help multiple markets make better decisions and speed up sales velocity.

Of the keys Ericsson’s success is its employee advocacy program, involving around 10% of their global workforce.

Getting buy-in for social media development at Ericsson

Changing culture takes time. Business leaders need to understand the opportunity that social media holds and data is needed to prove success. One of the standout steps in Ericssons’ case was conducting a ‘social media maturity assessment’, which ranked Ericsson on the ‘Tactical' level and gave some clear steps on getting to the ‘Leading’ level.

The opportunity was demonstrated by an Employee Advocacy pilot, which made the business case and got them onto the journey to where they are today.

As an example, brand messages reached 561% further when shared by employees vs the same messages shared via official brand social channels (MSLGroup) and content shared by employees receives 8x more engagement than content shared by brand channels. (Social Media Today)

Social Listening

The act of understanding what’s being said on social channels. Ericsson looks for trends to understand what other people are looking for and saying around certain topics. Cultural differences are also a big learning opportunity within social listening. Different markets might view topics differently, and as a global business, understanding nuance is essential. Linked to this is sentiment - what perception, both positive and negative do people have around a topic. Finally, the share of voice - something that I’m a big advocate of - to help visualize how involved in a topic your brand is compared to your competitors.

The importance of Culture

Social media is not just for marketing

is a comment that Anita shared in our interview and is a thread that links all of the interviews together. Once a business truly understands the broader impact of social media at the highest level and commits to investing in its potential, growth can truly be unlocked.

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