Severnside Housing – a study in niching your online efforts.
A study in how a housing association can leverage social media to meet a number of online objectives in a way that doesn’t create noise, just adds value and increases their profile.
During 2011 Severnside Housing, a social landlord with over 5,000 homes in Shropshire, identified a desire to increase their profile and to add a new customer service offering through the effective use of Social Media. The Net Advantage was brought on board in October 2011 to help them achieve this through our advisory, training and mentoring programme over 12 months.
During the initial planning phase, we ensured (amongst many other things) that we understood Severnside’s customer base and other stakeholders within and outside of the organsisation. It became clear that a fairly niched approach to social media would be required to engage effectively with all the different interested parties they were trying to connect with.
Severnside had also researched where their tenants were using social media which also helped develop a much more tailored approach to their online efforts.
The result: A tenant-centric Facebook page was established and training was provided, to ensure posts were always relevant to tenants to not create noise which would lose tenants interest. Also, by making the Facebook page tenant-focussed, it ensured that was the main online medium through which enquiries and accounts could be handled, in addition to all their traditional customer service offerings (website enquiries, helpline, email etc).
The existing (but only rarely used) Twitter account was identified as the primary tool for reaching out to the wider Shropshire community, industry influencers and media/journalists both local and industry-relevant.
The result: A predominantly Shropshire-focussed Twitter account, full of engagement and sharing of industry-relevant information to raise the profile of the organisation, both with the public in general and the media. Severnside have improved their visibility within the local community and have also secured local press coverage as a result. Through training delivered, their reach has also increased greatly by a 600% increase in followers in 6 months.
We have also worked with Severnside to ensure they are measuring their success and reach on these two sites, keeping up to date with the latest changes in social media, helping to keep content ideas fresh and keeping them focussed on attaining the key online marketing objectives we established during the advisory stage.
Although still a work-in-progress so far, Severnside are delighted with the reach and new audience they have achieved on Twitter so far and are encouraged to see more tenants engaging with them via the Facebook page.
When we engaged The Net Advantage to support and advise upon how we use social media as a communication channel, the first step was an in-depth planning and information gathering session so that Jan could understand our aims and objectives. With this understanding, Jan prepared a clear and concise report and online marketing strategy, which complemented our existing activities and set out how our objectives would be achieved.
With us keen to get started, Jan next delivered one to one training sessions. From explaining the benefits of using different channels for different audiences, to measuring and monitoring the impact and effectiveness of our social media activities, Jan has helped us to build on our activities, increase engagement and improve our effectiveness. Jan’s advice and expertise has helped de-mystify social media; not only do we now use it effectively; we know why we are using it too.
Since then, Jan has supported our efforts with regular meetings, guidance and advice. Her knowledge, drive and clear passion for social media has been infectious and has left us raring to go and fully enthused about social media! I would highly recommend Jan for her expertise, professionalism and passion.