A social media whirlwind, but a good one

Yesterday was the busiest social media day I can remember in my 15 months heading up the team here.

Labour market statistics were announced in the morning which is always a big ticket publication. In the afternoon our Director General, Glen Watson, was interviewed on Steve Wright’s Radio 2 show to generally promote ONS and also reel off some ‘factoids’.

Radio 2’s ‘factoids’ are a daily feature on the show and facts are obviously something we have loads of. The Twitterati were quick to point out the definition of a factoid being ‘an insignificant or trivial fact’, which is a fair point and one we sought to clarify quickly, as you should in these situations.

To capitalise on the interview, we tweeted and Facebooked some of the facts – with images – throughout. This was a little more lighthearted than our usual stuff and predictably, it got shared around very quickly. It was helped along by Radio 2 and QI’s social media editors too.
ONS factoids shared by Radio 2 and QI

On Twitter, all images were 220×440 pixels to ensure the whole content could be viewed in preview. That ratio doesn’t work for Facebook because the way images are presented in a user’s newsfeed varies by device and platform. So we adjusted a handful of the images into squares, a common format across social, namely Instagram, which Facebook owns. (If it’s of interest, here’s a handy guide to dimensions on several platforms.)

Overall the campaign went down well, although I think it’s fair to say the content didn’t resonate as well for our core audience. But it did reach new folk. Our Twitter channel got a jump of 862 new followers (12x the daily average) and Facebook got 214 new likers (26x the daily average – admittedly Facebook isn’t a channel that works brilliantly for us, though it is improving). More importantly, engagement on Twitter was 7x the average and Facebook was 6x the average.

We Storified our posts and some user responses so that the content can live on.

(My blog republished from ONS Digital Publishing’s blog.)

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