Essex-born, but now residing in Walthamstow, Sean Cook ended a six-year stint at News UK as a sports journalist across a variety of the UK’s largest publishing titles last year.
From writing and podcasting for talkSPORT, to growing a social network of over 3M followers for Dream Team, culminating in becoming Head of Sport Social for The Sun, he is now the Global Senior Social Media Manager at one of the UK’s biggest and best food companies- Deliveroo. Sean assists with leading the global team in social strategy from a UK level and supporting the social teams for 10 international markets worldwide.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media networks are continuously pushing out updates, making it difficult for social media management, marketers, and users to keep up. Algorithms are ever-changing, and genuine engagement is harder to obtain.
So, how do industry leaders navigate the ever-changing field of social media?
Sean generously agreed to do a Q&A with us, providing fantastic feedback and tips for fledgling social media managers!
Q: What is one thing to avoid doing when trying to grow on social media?
A: Posting too frequently can be a real trapdoor for social media. There’s a fine balance between breathing life into your page (new followers need a bank of content to discover in order to commit to following you), and frustrating an audience that is seeing mediocre content too often.
Getting content out for content’s sake is a big no-no for me. I’m a big advocate for introducing a shop window aesthetic to your page - consumers are far more likely to commit to following you if they go onto your page to discover banger after banger.
If you’re debating posting an Instagram Reel or tweet that just doesn’t feel right - there shouldn’t be anyone standing over your shoulder forcing you to post. Be patient, the right post will come.
Q: What are some challenges for influencer marketing in the next two years?
A: Picking the right influencer for your brand is a challenging but highly rewarding skill.
Firstly, the audience demographics need to line up, but picking an influencer that is selective in their choice of brands to partner with is equally important. Talent that spreads themselves too thinly with paid activity can result in an alienated following that will immediately switch off when it comes to your brand’s turn on the podium.
In my view, it’s always better to work consistently with one influencer who nails your message, than to work with six that never quite hit the nail on the head.
Q: Which social media trends proved to be the most successful for your business?
A: Like many I’m sure, I’ve been pleasantly surprised to see the new approach to LinkedIn over the last few years from lots of brands.
The platform has slowly started to absorb traits from other publishers, namely Twitter and Instagram, and has led to a rise in a first-person structure to captions. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes pages can go too far, but using it wisely can be highly effective.
Quickly realising the value of this, we began speaking to our LinkedIn audience like a close friend, whilst maintaining a ‘professional’ tone to the content.
We see Twitter as your party personality and LinkedIn as your work persona. The same bubbly, friendly personality, but dialing that disposition up or down depending on which scenario you’re in. You never want to be a bore at work, but equally, there’s a time and a place for your colleagues to see the real you.
Getting that right on LinkedIn has been a game-changer for us.
Q: What is your go-to/must-have tool/program that you use?
A: Without sounding like an AVON salesman, CrowdTangle in my view is the only social monitoring platform brands should be using.
Although weakened by the loss of the Twitter functionality (after being bought out by those rascals at Meta), there is no better tool to track over-performing and under-performing social content to gauge in real-time which content stream your brand should target.
As I write this, I’ve seen Meta may be pulling the plug which would be a grave mistake in my view.
Q: Which is the most important social media platform for your business and why?
A: Good question. It has to be Twitter for me.
With any business that has a product or service, there are inevitable customer service challenges - which is no different here at Deliveroo. The immediacy of Twitter means that it can often become the go-to platform for consumers to reach out to us, which can mean that an entertaining tweet can get swallowed up by sentiment around issues the app may be experiencing.
We know that we’re never going to completely shift those dials when it comes to sentiment towards the brand, but by having entertainment at the core of our objectives on the platform, we’ll go a long way towards balancing those scales.
Q: What is one secret to social media success that no one talks about?
A: If laughter serves a social function, then ‘social’ media should be the home of humour. Laughing is a way for us to signal to other people that we wish to connect with them, and by making comedy content a constant consideration with your brand’s social media content, you’re setting yourself up for success.
Social media is escapism, and given the horrid state of the world right now, producing content that you hope will make people smile is a pretty lovely position to be in.
Q: Top tip for a start-up beginning their socials?
A: Finding your niche is so important on social. Having a true passion that you express in every facet of your content will create a lasting relationship with your audience who share that same love. That might take weeks, months or even years, but it’s important to always keep that front of mind. Try and be like the others and you’ll quickly come unstuck.
Q: Two companies you think have mastered the social game?
A: It’s hard to overlook the obvious in Ryanair. I love brands that are self-aware and really tap into truisms about their company through their social content. By being so self-effacing, the audience over time will do the legwork for them in defending the negative sentiment often directed towards them in the comments. Ryanair are experts in getting their followers to advocate for them - a really difficult obstacle to overcome.
As a big Tottenham Hotspur fan, it would be remiss of me not to mention @SpursOfficial. Since the tail-end of last season, the social team there have done an excellent job in giving fans what they want - video content that we as fans rarely get to see. Pitch-side cameras, players answering honest questions, and aesthetically pleasing celebration shots.
Of course, there will always be that intrinsic link between performance on the pitch and the content the team are able to make - I wouldn’t fancy being the Leicester City admin right now! But if sport is escapism, social media about sport helps to fill that increasingly smaller void in between matches (damn you winter World Cup!).
Huge shout out to Sean Cook for taking the time to share his insights into social media management, trends, tools, secrets, and especially the challenges of influencer marketing which ttagz hopes to solve for businesses across the UK.