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How SPIE Engineered a Better Social Media Strategy

The company used smart social listening and employee advocacy to boost its reach to 7.3 million in just 18 months

Founded in Paris in 1900, SPIE is the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the areas of energy and communications. Its 45,500 employees are committed to achieving the energy transition and digital transformation alongside its customers.

SPIE Media Card Image

At the 1900 Paris Exposition, attendees from around the world watched in amazement as an emerging technological marvel—electric lighting—lit up the fairgrounds, the banks of the Seine, and the facade of the Palace of Electricity, keeping the fair open long into the night.

In the same year, a new company was founded to harness the power of this emerging technology and build the electrical infrastructure for the Paris Metro. And more than 120 years later, SPIE lives on as an independent European leader in multi-technical services in the area of energy and communications, with 45,500 employees worldwide helping cities and regions successfully manage their transition to sustainable energy and digital services.

The company was an early adopter of social media, staking out a social media presence in 2012. But by the end of the decade, growth and a series of acquisitions had left SPIE with numerous business units, multiple operating companies, and a diversity of approaches to social media.

  • 2,600
    social media posts from SPIE ambassadors in the first 18 months
  • 5,700
    shares of ambassador posts
  • 23,000
    click-throughs from ambassadors posts
  • 7.3M
    audience reach

What they did

After appointing a full-time community manager within the communications department to oversee its social media operations, SPIE engaged Hootsuite and French digital marketing agency Waisso to develop and implement a new company-wide social media strategy.

SPIE revisited the way it listens (and responds) to social media conversations, refined its content strategy, and recruited a team of employees to act as corporate ambassadors.

“Our business continues to grow,” says Anne Loiseleux, head of digital communication at SPIE. “We are entering new markets and new geographies. Our social media activity is now more targeted and more consistent. It serves our corporate objectives.”

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How they did it

Today, SPIE uses Hootsuite Enterprise, Hootsuite Amplify, and Talkwalker to support a strategy built around social listening, engagement, and advocacy. This has brought consistency and measurement to the company’s social media activity across the multinational business.

Rolling out a global social media strategy

Working with Hootsuite, Talkwalker, and Waisso, SPIE established formal processes around social media activity. With clear editorial guidance for users, a content creation team to generate fresh content, and alignment with the corporate communications team, the new processes help employees feel more confident using social media.SPIE is now consistent in the way it engages with its different stakeholder communities, from investors to clients to job seekers. It is quicker to broadcast and share news content through social channels including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and employees feel a greater sense of ownership.

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Building reach and reputation with advocacy

The SPIE Ambassador Program called #WeAreSPIE launched with 100 advocates—all experienced social media users, according to Anne Loiseleux, but by no means experts. The focus was on representatives from all business units, across all levels of the business, in all countries.

“We currently have 172 ambassadors and plan to get to 200 by the end of the year,” she explains. “We have representation from across the business; this brings credibility to our social media activity.”

In the program’s first 18 months, Hootsuite and Waisso helped the ambassadors publish 2,600 social media posts in five languages, across Twitter and LinkedIn. These generated 5,700 shares, 23,000 click-throughs, and an audience reach of 7.3 million. The most successful ambassadors are rewarded with charitable donations from SPIE, in their name, to associations.

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Collecting data and insights to inform strategy

  • SPIE relies on Talkwalker to keep the Group communications department informed of industry issues, upcoming trends, and reputational risks. Talkwalker’s AI-powered analysis provides real-time insight into what’s happening online and on social channels, across multiple languages.

    “We know social media loves a crisis,” says Loiseleux. “Talkwalker is a great platform for keeping us up to date with what’s happening in our world. We can set alerts for key phrases and those alerts go to the right people.”

  • Talkwalker monitors how often SPIE is mentioned in online conversations compared to its competitors, tracking net sentiment and share of voice for each company in relation to specific industry topics. It then calculates how SPIE and its competitors perform in terms of reach and engagement.

    Talkwalker’s easy-to-use dashboards help SPIE keep track of KPIs at a glance. Waisso uses the data to generate monthly reports, which it delivers to SPIE along with analysis and recommendations to support the company’s ambassadorship and social media strategy.

Looking Ahead

With the framework and processes in place to monitor trends, manage its corporate reputation, and attract and manage social media ambassadors, SPIE is now in a position to constantly evolve its social media capability.

In addition to the continuing engagement with Hootsuite and Waisso, SPIE also plans to relaunch its corporate website in the next year, with an increased focus on blogs and more individual and social content.

“In the future, we anticipate our social media activity being more personal, more local, and using new channels,” says Loiseleux.

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