here’s a head-scratcher for you.
how does a b2b company with a one-woman marketing team achieve exponential qoq growth (during a pandemic) while relying almost exclusively on … wait for it … organic social media marketing?
we’ll tell you.
total safety is a global business that helps companies minimize workplace hazards and mitigate emergencies. they handle everything from two-way radio communications to fit-for-duty tests, to gas detection to medical management and much, much more. there is nothing hyperbolic about the “total” in total safety.
the company’s growth spiked in q2 and was, as marketing and communication manager barbara clifton put it, “substantial.”
she chalks it up to a subtle — but crucial — shift in messaging at the start of a pandemic, and a very tenacious brafton social media strategist by the name of jess carroll.
the mission: use social media to distribute new company messaging
when covid-19 cases first spiked in the u.s., the connection between total safety and responding to a pandemic wasn’t clear in the company’s messaging. this immediately became marketing priority no. 1 for barbara.
“we began to resource masks and anti-fog safety glasses,” barbara said. “we started offering temperature-taking services, and our medical management team immediately created a new covid-19 screener program. next we started offering covid-19 testing services including antibody, antigen and pcr swab testing. we invested in thermal temperature screening technology so many people could be temperature tested at once while social distancing. these were new messages that we had to get out.”
at the time, brafton was posting just 3 social media posts per week. she handled all other content creation and was primarily targeting safety managers with content like this:
this changed halfway through q1. barbara called one of brafton’s social media strategists, jess carroll, to talk about their covid-19 positioning.
“i told her we want to be a shining light in all the darkness,” barbara explained. “if our clients are having trouble figuring out how to manage their covid-19 strategy, we want to be that medical management team for them. if they have questions about how to safely clean breathing-air products, for example, we can be that service for them.”
the process: ramp up posting and reach new audiences
to distribute this message of positivity and helpfulness during a difficult and fast-changing time, jess began posting on facebook and linkedin 2 times per day, up from just 3 times per week.
and instead of primarily creating posts like this:
she started posting more content like this:
she would even pass articles along to barbara, who could then create blog content around that news, which jess could later promote through social media.
“we provided basic direction to brafton and jess just ran with it,” barbara said. “the social media team has been extremely supportive — they took the few words we used to describe what we want and turned that into a whole campaign that makes sense for us.”
at “go,” barbara could see the change in the company’s messaging.
“we stopped being exclusively b2b and started to be approachable on a b2c level,” she said. “we really started appealing not just to businesses, but to employees of those businesses.”
many posts, like the one below, were viewed and shared by managers and even by spouses of total safety employees:
“we also started reaching people like hr managers interested in buying tablets that can determine whether you’re wearing a mask, and keep up with who’s coming into your building,” barbara said. “it really helped total safety to reach new industries and job titles.”
the outcome: unprecedented social engagement
good things happen when you successfully expand the relevance of your content to new audiences. just look at the boost total safety’s saw on social media from q1 2020 (when we started their campaign) to the end of q2:
qoq facebook gains:
- 351% increase in impressions.
- 644% increase in engagement.
- 109% increase in new followers.
qoq linkedin gains:
- 63.3% increase in impressions.
- 154% increase in engagement.
- 138% increase in new followers.
notice anything odd? how about the 644% increase in facebook engagements?
you would expect to see some gains on linkedin, but the tremendous boost on a predominantly consumer-centric social channel speaks volumes about what barbara called “the approachability” of jess’s work.
and even barbara was a bit baffled by what she was seeing:
“facebook was actually the channel that turned the most sales, which is very unusual,” she said. “but ok! i’ll take it.”
total safety was able to track new clientele directly back to facebook engagements.
the point: jess really made an impression
“i love jess,” barbara said. “she works diligently to meet our expectations, and the expectation is always changing because of covid-19 and the market conditions around safety. as we develop new products, or change direction in our messaging she has to be flexible with working with us, and she is. she’s responsive and she takes responsibility to make sure i’m happy with what she’s delivering.”
this “flexibility” has been key in the past few months or so.
“i love jess. she works diligently to meet our expectations, and the expectation is always changing.”
initially, barbara was the only person from total safety who needed to approve posts. but in a time of heightened caution, the company’s legal team and ceo now also review every single social post before it goes out to make sure copy and imagery are portraying proper safety practices.
“so it’s actually been more work for jess,” barbara said. “but if something is not approved and needs to be changed, she never takes it personally, and she’s very quick to come up with something new that meets the need.”
barbara made a point to commend the rest of the brafton team for helping on other projects recently— like creating impeccable design work when total safety was featured in bic magazine last year.
in total, brafton has worked with total safety for over 8 years with website analytics and metadata optimization on the backend, designing graphics and animated shorts, and providing writing services for the company blog.
but it’s really the social media work that has barbara the most excited, especially as the company prepares for an eventual e-commerce venture.
“seeing the big response we’ve gotten with our social media campaigns and offering new services to meet covid-19 challenges, when it’s time to talk about our launches for e-commerce, we’ll already know it’s going to be a smashing success,” she said. “we’ll figure it out and we’ll yell it from the rooftops on social media, and we are just that confident that it’s going to increase our followers, engagement and our customer base.”