It can seem easy to talk about social media management when addressing consumer brands. But what about those less exciting and more serious businesses- the ones everybody needs but often get a bad rap for being boring or ordinary.
As competitive and challenging as it is to stand out in the digital world, especially within the banking industry, Richard Cook, Social Media Manager at Monzo Bank, has perfected a strategy that's transformed the digital bank into a content giant, garnering tons of engagement, shaping the online identity of the bank and exceeding expectations of what it means to be a "formal" business on Social Media.
We had the pleasure of chatting with this industry leader. Here’s what he said:
- Can you tell us about yourself (background, current position)?
I'm Richard, Social Media Manager at Monzo. I've been here for four and a half years and have been involved in all kinds of things in that time, from helping to grow our community to rolling out new and exciting products. Previously I worked at Spotify in their Customer Service and Marketing teams.
- What is one thing to avoid doing when trying to grow on social media?
No cheap engagement hacks! And never buy followers or rely on things like competitions to grow - it's more important to have an engaged audience that are following you for the right reasons.
- What are some challenges for influencer marketing in the next two years?
I think there's a growing fatigue toward traditional style influencers. We've grown tired of seeing perfectly curated lives that simply don't come across as authentic. But there's also an opportunity there for brands to embrace influencers who have a truly unique voice to deliver a message that actually makes a difference.
- Which social media trends proved to be the most successful for your business?
It's been an unexpected discovery, but simply posting things about our company has worked really well, especially on LinkedIn. From names of our meeting rooms to funny Slack channels, just sharing what life is like at Monzo has been received really well. You can say a lot about your brand by what it's like to work there, and it shows that we're really living our values every day.
- What are your go-to/must-have tools/programmes that you use?
Get yourself a solid social listening tool. Whether that's just having Tweetdeck up on a tab, or a more substantial platform, it's crucial to know what your customers are saying about you. And the quicker you can respond to trends as they emerge, the better!
- What innovative techniques have you used to promote your business/client’s business?
We've really embraced 'relatable content' as a strategy. By reflecting on the language our customers use when they talk about us, we can stay relevant even as we grow to six million customers and beyond. Sometimes that means even simply using our customers' words AS content - as we 'frame' tweets and put them up on Instagram, for instance. Or playfully teasing our TikTok followers as they line up in their hundreds to ask for one of our much sought-after 'Hot Chip' plushies.
- Which is the most important social media platform for your business and why?
They're all important for different reasons! Twitter is great for reach and getting our big messages out there, but TikTok is great for engagement and driving a really strong sense of brand love. I couldn't pick a favourite, they're like my children.
- Best campaign ideas that brought your business success and why?
We've had lots of fun and successful campaigns, but I particularly enjoyed our "Very Important Data Thing" we ran in December 2021. We mashed together the memes of the year with insights from real Monzo customer transaction data. The result was a week's worth of super fascinating (and hilarious) content that set Twitter on fire. Who knew there was a Greggs/Pret divide in the UK?
- What is one secret to social media success that no one talks about?
Reactive content is a superpower. The quicker you can respond to things the better, but the diminishing returns are pretty substantial. Being 30 minutes late to something can make all the difference. We've tried to set things up so there's a minimal amount of time between spotting an opportunity and executing on that - the tighter you can get that loop, the better!
- Top tip for a start-up beginning their socials?
Pick one channel and go hard on it, instead of spreading yourself thin. A channel like TikTok, for instance, is a good shout because you can get a huge reach without needing a whole bunch of followers there. Grow the audience, and then take them over to your other channels when you're ready.
- Two companies you think have mastered the social game?
I'm a big fan of Specsavers and Deliveroo
Thanks, Richard! We genuinely appreciate your time and your willingness to share your first-hand tips and experiences with us.