We* increased Elsevier’s Facebook medical student community from 400 to 13,000 and drove 50% more engagement, helping to position Elsevier as a trusted partner to study success.
As far as engagement was concerned communications were not hitting the mark, both in terms of the actual message and the channel being used… the majority of messaging across all channels had typically focused on products and services alone. With the feeling that most communications were (ultimately) sales driven, it was therefore difficult to build an authentically engaged community.
What we did
Using Elsevier’s network of student ambassadors, we ran focus groups to understand exactly what, when and how they wanted to hear from a brand. The answer was simple, they wanted guidance and insight to complement their course learning, and crucially on their terms, responsively and on social channels.
Using these findings, we created a schedule of content that consisted of competitions, quizzes, revision sessions, debate topics, author takeovers, Q&A sessions, original fun content pieces to truly engage the audience, sent out using social media and email.
We made Facebook Messenger a direct contact channel to Elsevier so students could ask questions and gain responses from us in real time. It was important that this was not perceived to be a sales channel, and the content mix did not include any straightforward sales promotion to ensure we maintained that position of trust.
We built the programme and managed the process on an ongoing basis, ensuring we were on hand to respond and engage with any social interaction.
How it worked out
Elsevier’s social audience boomed on all channels, and students engaged with content daily. In providing a content mix that was fun, relevant and wanted, as well as being immediately available and responsive via social pages, we created a position of trust, interest and therefore a community of engaged students.
Audience and engagement continued to rise and Elsevier were delighted that a key student communication channel had been established.
This prompted the additional benefit of wider offline campaigns (e.g. student fair experiential activity) being shared via social platforms, thereby integrating on/offline efforts for even greater amplification.
*This was during our time as Elsevier FTEs, not in the capacity of Terrier Marketing, albeit completely under our responsibility and ownership.