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Inspired by the works of our reporting superstar David Moth, I decided that with all these big brands being covered in our series on social strategies, it was high time we threw our own hat into the ring.

As I’m the one doing it (and an egomaniac), I thought it might be fun to talk about how and why we use different social channels at Econsultancy...

Just a quick note before we get started; this is a quick round-up of our main accounts on these channels, but we also have some lively action going on over on LinkedIn, with various groups and a popular company page.

There are also various Twitter accounts for our events, including The Digitals, Integrated Marketing Week, and the upcoming Festival of Marketing, all doing slightly different things, and lots of video goodness over on YouTube, so do please check 'em out. 

Facebook

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0003/4463/econ_facebook-blog-full.png

Econsultancy currently has a little over 14,000 Facebook fans, and while engagement isn’t massive, it holds steady at around 3.3%, so higher than Facebook averages.

To be honest we’ve always used Facebook primarily as a traffic-driver, so engagement isn’t my main concern. I’d like people to hit those links.

Our posts are comprised of a mix of blog content and report or event updates, and we use a lighter tone of voice than we do on the site.

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0003/4464/econ_facebook_two-blog-full.png 

Visual content rules on Facebook, so every post gets a picture attached. In the past we’ve posted lots of infographics there, and passion for these doesn’t seem to have diminished (yet). 

We’ve also got a few apps and videos running on FB, including The Digitals Yearbook, the Training Navigator and brochure, and tabs for our SEO and Facebook pages guides. 

Oh, and we ignore every rule you’ve ever heard and post five or six times a day, although we do target some content regionally and space those posts out over 24 hours, so we avoid mass-spamming.  

Twitter

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0003/4465/Econ_Twitter.PNG

The big one!

Currently we’ve got just over 140,000 followers on Twitter, and I’m happy to say they are one of the most engaged communities I’ve come across, with an average engagement rate at a whopping 31%. You talkative devils you.

Content on Twitter is a big mix, all our blog posts go up, as does news of reports and training, updates from events, and a lot of random updates covering office gossip. Taking the conversation off road helps a lot, as evidenced by our most retweeted tweet so far this year: 

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0003/4466/Econ_Twitter_two.PNG

(This also underlines our commitment to proper EnglishYou will never see me tweet my ‘learnings’ from a report, I promise.)

Of all our channels, Twitter is the most ‘pure editorial’, so while you will see posts saying ‘hey, we have an event coming up’, I do try to avoid shilling tickets too often there, because... well, it sucks when people do that doesn’t it?  

As we have a global audience we do tend to retweet blog content on Twitter, but I always make sure we leave at least an eight-hour gap between these, so hopefully this minimises the amount of duplicate content you’ll see if you follow us. 

Pinterest 

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0003/4467/econ_pins-blog-full.png

I have to admit that I didn’t have high hopes for Pinterest when we began.

A site primarily known for Female American users sharing craft tips didn’t seem like it would appreciate Econsultancy’s content, but the platform has continually surprised, with a mix of visual content driving a steady stream of traffic converting at a decent rate, and around 2,600 followers. 

The key to this success lies largely in Pinterest's tremendous growth rate. The site has reached critical mass, with enough users meaning there's now room for any and all subjects under the sun (and a few beyond it).   

We’ve currently got boards covering broad topics like social, search and web design, as well as some focussing on our team, and we contribute to a few other external boards as well.  

We've always taken an experimental approach to Pinterest, trying new tactics and measuring result changes, which means that unfortunately over time we end up ignoring our own best practice advice, and the account has become a little cluttered.

So we’re currently trimming down the boards, mixing up the content, and making a point of being genuinely social and sharing content, which does seem to have upped response from the channel. 

Google+

https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/resized/0003/4468/econ_google-blog-full.png

For a long time we weren’t entirely sure what to do with Google+, so early experiments followed a well-worn brand path, echoing what we were doing on Facebook.

I realised that this wouldn’t pay off for us in the long term however, as there is a very different audience on G+, who contrary to popular opinion, are extremely engaged, but only with the right content.

The comments we receive on G+ have typically been longer and more involved than those on other platforms, mirroring the comments we see on our blog, so we needed a depth of content. We already utilise blog content heavily on Facebook and Twitter, so as befits a new platform, we’ve taken a new approach. 

We’ve put together a massive ‘superfeed’, compiling and sharing info from over 100 of our favourite blogs and bloggers on G+, and creating a kind of curated magazine of information. 

We do of course drop our own content in there from time to time, and we’ve also been using the platform to hold Hangouts and share upcoming events.  

This differentiation of content does seem to be paying off, with higher on-page engagement, and an increased rate of follower acquisition. We now have around 6,000 followers, and are taking the view that 'it will probably be increasingly important for search... maybe!'

While traffic has dropped as we’ve linked to our site less often, the traffic we do receive seems to be higher quality, and converts at a higher rate. This is still fairly experimental for us, so we’re going partly on data and partly on a hunch at this point – fingers crossed it pays off! 

Matt Owen

Published 18 June, 2013 by Matt Owen

Matt Owen was formerly Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or hook up on LinkedIn.

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Comments (7)

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Nichola Finan

Nichola Finan, digital marketing at Media-input

Would you make any comparisons with your use of email as an engagement tool??

about 3 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi Nichola,

We do try to integrate across channels, so email certainly plays a part. To be honest I think from looking at our analytics that it would be hard to find any of our channels that operate in a silo, they do all tend to feed into each other - more a case of giving users the channel of their choice really.

about 3 years ago

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David Bloy

When you talk about an engagement rate of 3% on FB, can you say how you are measuring it - is it through Facebook Insights or some other means? I'm interested as we often want to advise clients as to how to get beyond simply using 'likes' as their only metric on FB.

about 3 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi David,

That's the most basic measurement - talking about. So anyone Liking, commenting or sharing a post on the page. We do measure beyond that obviously, but that seems to be a good gauge of 'do people actually care?'

I define traffic from Facebook as a campaign in analytics and separate out actions based on various types of post, and track various engaged users and desired actions. Facebook doesn't often offer direct conversion for us (and to be honest, I wouldn't expect it to), but it is very good at directing traffic and fulfilling various secondary goals.

about 3 years ago

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David Bloy

Thanks for the info Matt. Out of interest, have you produced a guide to using Facebook Insights that I could point our clients towards?

about 3 years ago

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Sarah Louise Dean

Hi

Can I please ask how many people work on the social teams at Econsultancy? This is all great advice and most of it I am already following (and I'm seeing growth), but I am but one person managing 15 accounts on five different platforms. I do use management tools. I'd like to know how many people it takes to make these accounts run smoothly and for how long they have been running?

Thank you!

about 3 years ago

Matt Owen

Matt Owen, Head of Social at Econsultancy

Hi Sarah, I've run everything myself over the past few years, but various members of our editorial team take a turn at the helm from time to time (most notably Ben Davis who has been heading up Google+ for us recently) and as noted, i couldn't do anything without the constant stream of content being produced.

We've been seriously involved in social since I came on board around three years ago (although we'd certainly done more before that, but my role was initially to organise and expand our presence).

We did some research a while ago that showed that around 80% of in-house social teams are only 2 or 3 strong. From my own experience it does take a lot of organisation to keep everything rolling along smoothly!

about 3 years ago

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