The main challenge Experian had as a business in social media was to overcome the fragmentation of the EMEA regional market in terms of the business presence and offering. Not all business lines where present in the same countries, and the different business lines had completely different audience targets. This resulted in different tactical approaches to developing a social media presence in different countries. We needed an overall social media strategy to provide a framework for developing our brand.
A social media strategy to build brand awareness, relationships, and targeted traffic
Over three years, I built a social media strategy for Experian to ensure that the company was speaking with a single voice across the EMEA region. This strategy had a different focus each year:
- The first year the strategic objective was to ensure consistency and alignment across all EMEA social media profiles. We established governance processes that ensured we had visibility over all the social media presence in EMEA. We also made sure the local marketing department had enough resources to commit to social media.
- The second year we focused on a content strategy to build brand awareness and support a social selling pilot project.
- The objective of the third year of the social media strategy was to support integration with multichannel marketing campaigns.
The result we wanted to achieve was greater consistency in our approach to social, with an unified tone of voice, and better integration of our social media activity with our strategic business objectives.
At a more tactical level, the strategy had three main objectives:
- Increase brand visibility and recognition through sharing of insights and thought-leadership content.
- Make social an engagement channel, building relationships with customers and the wider marketing, fraud and risk community.
- Drive targeted traffic to relevant landing pages as part of wider lead generation effort.
In order to achieve those objectives, and deliver the unified voice we needed, we wanted to align all the key countries in terms of social presence, level of activity and topics. During the three years, I conducted ongoing in-house training sessions. These were designed to build alignment and share best practices between marketers. Also, in a context where resources like time, money and staff were scarce, a process to use a consolidated editorial calendar was put in place to ensure there weren’t any duplication of efforts, content was easily shared, and all efforts supported local and regional business objectives.
Considering the stated objectives, the metrics we used to evaluate success of our social media presence were grouped in three categories:
- Measured as total social media followers. We also aggregated the data at a country and channel level to monitor changes over time.
- Percentage of traffic from social sources: we looked at web analytics data to understand the weight of social as a traffic channel. The next logical step in this metric would have been to measure quality instead of volume. I’d have looked at the percentage of total form submissions coming from social media visitors. Another interesting metric could be bounce rate of social media traffic against the site’s average. These changes were not implemented during my time in the company.
- We used a social media monitoring tool to track brand mentions in social media and their sentiment (positive, negative or neutral). We classified them by country, sentiment and social network. A logical next step would have been to monitor competitors’ mentions as well, to determine social share of voice.
- We tracked every interaction with our social media profiles and used that figure to measure an engagement rate for our social media audience, classified by country and social network. For example, you could see the engagement rate of Twitter in EMEA. You could also see the engagement rate of all social media profiles from France.
The metrics described here are the very minimum you need to track in order to determine your success in social media at an strategic level. Implementing the additional metrics discussed above would have provided us with a better insight into traffic quality and brand awareness.
During the three years I managed the social media strategy in Experian EMEA we saw:
- 290% increase in social media audience
- 112% increase in social media traffic to the EMEA websites
- 91% increase of social media activity
- 91% increase in social media interactions