Alison Traboulsi is Social Media Editor at Direct Line Group. For our latest ‘Day in the Life’ interview, we caught up with Traboulsi to ask the usual questions about job requirements and her daily routine.
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Please describe your job – what do you do?
AT: I manage the Social Media team at Direct Line Group. Our remit covers Direct Line, Green Flag, Privilege and Churchill. I’m responsible for the social strategies across our portfolio of brands, copywriting, content creation, social listening using Brand Watch, influencer relationships, paid social across Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and Instagram as well as the measurement behind these channels.
Describe your typical working day?
AT: Wake up at 6:30am and get myself and my daughter ready for the day ahead. Leave the house at 7:55am and drop her off at nursery and arrive at work for 8:30am. No two days are the same. I spend time at our Head Office in Bromley, which is the team’s permanent base. I go through emails and action anything urgent. Usually between 9 – 5pm I will be in back-to-back meetings or calls with Facebook, one of our creative agencies or our Social Customer Care Teams in Leeds and Doncaster who are accountable for delivering the community management strategy that we have defined.
There are also lots of coordination meetings with colleagues from across our brands, to plan out new campaigns or to assess the performance of campaigns which are in flight. You can also frequently find me singing the praises of my team, and what we do in social, to interns and graduates who are new to our business.
Whereabouts do you sit within the organisation? Who do you report to?
AT: We are part of the Marketing Division and sit within the Digital Marketing Team. As a cross-functional team, we report into the Head of Brand PR and Social Media. I head up a team of four social media managers who are responsible for the content and planning process for Direct Line Group’s consumer-facing brands. We drive forward the social strategies for Direct Line, Churchill, Green Flag and Privilege and bring them to life across our social media platforms. We’re award-winning and it makes us very proud!
What kind of skills do you need to be effective in your role?
AT: Across so many household name brands it’s important to have experience of managing a brand’s reputation online. We can’t go out with posts with grammatical errors or anything that is factually incorrect, so close attention to detail is a must. It’s also necessary to manage an ever-changing work load. Your day might start off with an action list, and usually quite quickly that goes on the back burner whilst you deal with reactive issue and opportunities.
Our role is all about connecting with people, especially as insurance is something you have to rely on to deliver when something unexpected has happened in life. To really connect, you have to understand the pain and passion points of the audience, and how best to apply that authentically on social.
We also try to embrace failure and not to be scared of it. At Direct Line Group, we like to test in a controlled way to measure marketing effectiveness. Marketing performance is at the heart of what we do, from developing a hypothesis, implementation, measurement and deciding whether to repeat, optimise or stop. All learnings are useful.
What do you love about your job?
AT: I love the variety, the fast pace of work and the diverse range of stakeholders that we have to manage on a daily basis. One minute we can be discussing how best to drive incremental reach with light TV viewers on Facebook, then the next, we can be working with Legal and Underwriting to sign off on our customer-first comms messaging on Brexit that we will use on social. It’s never dull, and it’s constantly changing and evolving.
AT: When it comes to social, everyone thinks they are a social media expert just because they’re on Twitter. They believe the notion of it taking five minutes to write a tweet and assume that is what we do all day! Understanding the thought and the strategy behind every post online takes time, especially in an industry as highly regulated as insurance.
Even though social media has been around for over a decade, it is still treated as a new channel and you constantly have to justify why it should be on the media plan. It is not as trusted as TV or PPC which frequently get the lion’s share of the budget, so you have to be prepared to actively promote your channels, your team and the success of social.
How did you end up at Direct Line?
AT: I was looking for a company which values its employees and has a customer-first mindset. It is fantastic to be part of an organisation which is successful and innovative from a Marketing perspective. Direct Line Group offers lots of opportunities for training and career growth and working on projects outside of your typical remit. They also really value working parents and offer flexibility in terms of working from home, condensed hours, great maternity policy and appreciate a good work life balance – which is still a lot rarer than it should be.
AT: I’ve just started reading Be More Pirate by Sam Conniff Allende, which is all about how agitator figures like Richard Branson, Steve Jobs and even Banksy have shaken up the status quo and kept industries moving forward. It’s interesting to see how echoes from the past can be clearly heard in the unsettling times that we live in today. A great quote from the book is ‘Ask for forgiveness, not permission’. It’s a real treasure trove of tips to embrace change and move the “No”s into “Go”s!
Do you have any advice for people who want to get into your field?
AT: You do not necessarily need a degree to do the job although it does help an employer when sifting through hundreds of CVs and trying to make a short list of candidates. I do think that you need experience within a business environment, and ideally I would always recommend a stint working agency-side. Anyone starting out in an agency gets such a broad exposure of working across brands and industries; it puts you in good stead if you do want to work client-side.
Having your own social profiles doesn’t necessarily translate into relevant experience for a business context. It’s a ‘nice to have’ as it shows your passion for content creating and social media but in my eyes it’s not mandatory. It’s much more important to stay on top of the changing world of social, by reading industry press so you can cite these in interviews, which again will show your commitment and understanding of the field.