Six Ways the World Bank Increased Social Media Engagement

By Mario Trubiano @MarioTrubiano, Global Social Media Lead, @WorldBankworld-bank-instagram-grid-world-refugee-daySocial Media is core to the World Bank’s communication strategy. As such, it’s not only the reach of our channels that matters, but how well we use them to connect and build trust with our audiences. Last year we shifted our approach on social to focus more on strategies and tactics that deepen engagement. That metric became our most important – more than follower growth or reach.

So what happened when we stopped worrying about popularity and focused on relationships?

By our measure in the fiscal year that ended in June, we had increased our total engagement rate across our English, French, Spanish and Arabic corporate-run channels from 2.4% to 3.5%.

Here’s what we did:

  1. Reduced the number and frequency of posts
    Despite publishing a reduced volume, content continued to drive equal levels of traffic to our website, proving that the right content presented in an engaging way is more important than how much content you share.
  2. Made tough choices and curated content that resonated with our audiences
    We are fortunate to have rich stories from around the world focusing on incredibly important and serious challenges. By honing in on the best of the best, and highlighting human stories of our beneficiaries to contextualize the impacts of the World Bank’s projects, we have been able to better humanize an organization, and connect with our audiences.
  3. Tapped into the passion of our audience with advocacy campaigns
    Campaigning has been central to driving our growth in engagement as well. As we’ve offered a number of calls-to-action under the #EndPoverty umbrella, we’ve been able to bring those most passionate about ending poverty into the fold as advocates, who participate in campaigns and become torchbearers for the goal to end extreme poverty by 2030.
  4. Featured more native multimedia content, especially live video
    There’s no understating the impact purpose-built multimedia content has had on engagement on our social channels. Comparing our last two fiscal years, views of natively posted multimedia content has doubled. A large part of that was due to our development of a live engagement program, including a Facebook Live series we ran during our Spring meetings. Without a doubt, video has become imperative for increasing audience engagement, and will continue to do so.
  5. “Social-fied” our website in new ways
    Visitors who arrived at our website after clicking on a tweet generated from one of our “Tweetable sentences” were 30% more likely to repeat their visit, clock 3 times more repeat visits, and more likely to download content. So, building in more opportunities to share in our content has paid dividends.
  6. Leveraged native advertising across platforms
    Lastly, understanding the landscape we are working in, we made a strategic decision to employ paid promotion in our social media program. As our followers grew and grew, our reach and engagement fell dramatically. As any social media manager in 2017 will explain to you, there’s no more free lunch. So, we employ paid promotion to achieve a number of objectives throughout the year. Without it, we could not have the impact we seek as an organization.

world-bank-live-interviewOf course, we will always have lots of room to improve, and as our digital engagement, content, and analytics teams work more closely and strategically, and make data-driven decisions, we continue to hone and refine our approach. More changes will come this year, as we make strategic efforts to improve engagement on Instagram and Twitter.