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

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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.

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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

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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: 

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(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 

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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+

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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!