What we’ve learnt: WeSwap’s foray into the world of social media marketing 

WeSwap’s social currency platform matches travellers heading in opposite directions. Here, UK marketing manager Stephanie Meyer-Scott shares the business’ experiences of entering the world of social media marketing.

Finding our voice

As a business founded on social principles, it’s important that WeSwap has a tone of voice that is trustworthy and that travellers actually listen to. People are at the heart of our operations and goals, so it’s vital that there is a human element to our output – showing there is personality behind the brand.

Defining this voice and personality in a helpful and, above all, actionable way wasn’t easy. We started by asking ourselves two basic questions, and had a brainstorming session to come up with what were essentially descriptive adjectives for each.

1) Who are we as a company? WeSwap is a young, tech start up: we are fresh, innovative and (at least try to be) smart.

2) Who is our audience? We know that our customers are informed, savvy and international.

To refine these ideas even further it was also helpful was to define what we weren’t – i.e. we’re confident, but not aggressive or cocky. We’re not patronising or stuffy, but human and informal.

Once these were drawn up and agreed we had a set of guiding principles that now essentially act as a “sense check” for any content – “Is it WeSwap?”. This document serves as a helpful internal guide for other departments such as customer support, guest bloggers or any new employees.

Goal setting

Our experience with social media marketing has and continues to involve a lot of experimentation and testing as we go – but we always ensure it is grounded by our agreed brand values and tone of voice.

>See also: Harnessing the power of social media to market your brand

While new followers, likes and reach are obviously important, right now at WeSwap, engagement is the most important metric. If you jump on a trending hashtag and that tweet gets loads of impressions, but no-one clicks on it or follows the link, how much real awareness did that tweet actually generate?

It’s the same with followers – if you’ve got loads but no-one cares about what you’re saying, what’s the point of having them? We are starting by finding out what engages and interests our audience, and working from there.

We have follower and impression targets each week, plus activities we specifically want to do – for example, outreach to certain bloggers . Even so, at the moment our overriding goal is still to test, learn and find out what our audience really enjoys. At the beginning of each week we review the previous week’s performance and agree on what we want to try next week. A spreadsheet that lists top-performing content for that week along with any notes helps us to identify trends.

Ramping up social media marketing

One of our big campaigns this summer has been a ‘Good Things Happen When You Swap’ initiative to encourage messages around the positive possibilities of swapping.

Firstly we wanted to say thank you to our customers. We’re lucky enough to have a bunch of incredibly loyal, engaged customers, some of whom have been with us from the very beginning, so we wanted to give something back. Secondly, we wanted to champion the concept of swapping beyond the cost savings that customers get when they exchange currency, so we came up with “Good Things Happen When You Swap”.

The idea was to randomly surprise our customers with a host of ‘swap upgrades’ to brighten up their summer and organically spread the WeSwap message on social media. It was a way to say thanks in a fun way that wasn’t just a standard loyalty scheme. It was very important to us that there weren’t any terms or conditions, that every WeSwap user would be involved regardless of how long they had been a customer.

>Related: What’s in a name? The changing language of brands

We came up with nine ‘swaps’ that we could give to customers – from swapping old headphones for tickets to a live music concert, to substituting a busy commute to work for a stretched limo ride.

Of course we had to invest in the prizes themselves, but the promotion all took place via social media and our blog. We also supported the campaign with a weekly highlights blog post. This gave us an opportunity to embed tweets and gave our winners the chance to show their friends and family.

This was our first major social media marketing campaign and taught us some important things:

  • People are actually more willing to share than you might think. Usually all you have to do is ask. For ‘Good Things…”, we simply encouraged our customers to share pictures of their swaps or share our announcements themselves.
  • It’s unbelievably important to interact. Social isn’t a platform for sell, sell, sell – it’s somewhere to share information, thoughts and ideas. RT and comment, ‘like’ other infographics, blog posts etc within our space. All of this helps to add context to that personality we’ve been trying to build – we only share things that are trustworthy and useful to our user community.
  • Find like-minded businesses and see if you can do something with them. For ‘Good things…” we got in touch with Laundrapp to organise our users’ holiday washing, and our interactions with them have been some of the most popular in the campaign.
  • In order to boost organic leverage always tag or mention any brand or service partners you’re working with and aim to strike up interaction at every opportunity.

So what’s next?

Our efforts seem to be paying off. In June 2015 WeSwap got three times as many new likes on Facebook compared to the month before (a 163% increase) and five times as many new Twitter followers.

With engagement on the up, our next key focus as a business is to look at ways is which we can start to monetise these social media channels and drive sign-ups. In tandem with these we are also reviewing which elements of this strategy can work across other social media outlets – Pinterest, Instagram and whatever else may be around the corner.

WeSwap is a peer to peer travel money exchange service that’s determined to make a difference in the unfair global consumer currency market – where fees and exchange rates vary wildly depending on where and when travellers exchange money.

Further reading: Capturing the talent to monteise big data

Praseeda Nair

Kellen Rempel

Praseeda was Editor for GrowthBusiness.co.uk from 2016 to 2018.