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From 0-7000. How The River Group engaged the toughest B2B audiences on social media

Author image Published by [email protected]
Published Date 14.02.2024

In a social media world dominated by noise, it can be difficult to make your expertise heard, let alone appreciated.

As an integrated marketing agency, The River Group was founded with transformation and continuous innovation in our DNA. Both have been central to our work with RS Group in bringing its authentic expertise to life for some of the most hard-to-reach B2B audiences on social media.

We were incredibly pleased to learn that our launch of RS Group’s UK and Ireland social presence had been shortlisted in not one, but two categories at the European Content Awards.

This is a campaign that took more than just stand-out creative. It required an agile solution based on a genuine understanding of some very niche industries, audiences, challenges and trends.

The result has been a fast-growing, highly engaged social audience of senior leaders across the UK and Ireland, and a clear strategic asset for our client.

Why we were shortlisted for B2B and Social Media Content Campaign of the Year

The engineering community is not known for its enthusiasm on social platforms. When surveyed, more than half said they consider it to have too much noise and not enough substance.

But as a global, multichannel distributor of products and services to engineering, industrial and manufacturing companies, RS Group’s most important audiences consist of engineers and professionals in health & safety and procurement.

When the company charged The River Group with launching its UK and Ireland social presence (RS UK & IE), RS Group told us two things: It needed to be capable of meeting the local challenges and needs of these notoriously reticent audiences, and it needed to reach them at a senior level.

So, how do you build a social presence amongst three separate, senior professional communities, none of which is very social?

Our answer was a dedicated LinkedIn hub founded on a content strategy designed to drive engagement with all three audiences without alienating anyone, combining big-ticket campaigns with an agile approach to our audience’s interests and needs.

Delivering value through unique research

Health & safety leaders are extremely time-poor, yet highly conscientious about staying up to date with the latest developments in their field. We built a strong relationship with them by offering in-depth research into health & safety post-COVID attitudes, concerns and challenges across more than 50 different industries.

The Protect What Matters campaign combined qualitative and quantitative data to create the first report of its kind, backed by a media partnership with Health & Safety Matters to deliver unique insights into the short-, medium- and long-term trends within health and safety across the UK and Ireland.

We were able to tell engaging stories through the data via infographics, video content, qualitative insights and commentary, which positioned RS as a strategic partner in an industry that had previously only considered them as a PPE supplier.

Video for the problem solvers

Senior maintenance and engineering audiences were catered to with a video series that features one of RS’s internal experts, Rob Webster. In his role as a chemical analyst, his job is to answer difficult questions from manufacturing and industrial clients regarding the causes of failures in their machinery.

Using genuine cases that he had solved for customers as source material, we created CSI Rob, a video series that features Rob in his role as a problem-solving forensic scientist who uses his expertise to unravel mysteries for RS clients.

This enabled us to communicate RS’s value as an expert engineering and maintenance partner through short-but-riveting tales that included industrial sabotage and shattered chicken nugget machinery.

An agile approach to engagement

Maintaining engagement with senior engineers and managers was a consistent challenge, as they are some of the least likely demographics to be willing to overtly interact with social posts. It couldn’t be achieved through strategic and thought leadership content alone.

This was addressed with regular content designed to appeal to our audience’s problem-solving nature, such as teasing users to spot engineering, procurement or safety-related red herrings via ‘two truths and a lie’ challenges.

We also offered topical, light-hearted analysis such as calculating the rate of presents launched out of Santa’s sleigh, and the resulting thrust generated (15,000 presents per second at around 19 Giganewtons of thrust in case you were wondering).

And we capitalised on relevant social media trends via reactive content to ensure regular engagement with key messages that didn’t rely on big-ticket campaigns. One of the best-performing bits of content was a post created for National Limerick Day.

Similarly, video content created especially for National Fun At Work Day allowed us to show the passion and joy behind the RS brand and enabled audiences to connect on a human level.

A fast-growing, highly engaged senior audience

This three-pronged approach has generated outstanding growth of the RS UK & IE platform, going from 0 to 7,000 followers within 12 months, of which 71% were managers or senior leaders.

This equates to a 35% month-on-month average growth, with an average engagement rate on organic content of 14.95% – nearly 200% higher than the industry benchmark of 5%.

Not only does the channel attract the senior engineers and managers that RS needs as followers, but it keeps them consistently involved in responding to content, addressing niche challenges in the language and humour that is relatable only to a very specific audience.

At the same time, it has been able to highlight the incredible expertise within RS in an accessible way that nevertheless refuses to treat the audience as anything other than the experts they are.

To learn how we deliver integrated marketing with proven ROI for our clients, follow The River Group anywhere:

Website | LinkedIn | Instagram | TikTok

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