Award winning social media presence for the Royal College of Occupational Therapists

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increase in engagement

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This winning campaign has successfully changed its social media channels from broadcasting channels to meaningful engagement with both its members and the public which resulted in a phenomenal 103% increase in engagement across all platforms.

Setting some tough goals and exceeding every one this campaign was both brave and inspirational. The judges loved how the organisation evolved the campaign, understanding their audience at every step of the way which resulted in putting the Royal College of Occupational Therapy at the heart of the Occupational Therapy community in a staggeringly short time.”

Judges comments
Memcom Excellence Awards 2023

The brief

The Royal College of Occupational Therapists (RCOT) is a professional body that supports student and professional occupational therapists in the UK. With over 35,000 members, they play a pivotal role in assisting members to learn, teach and practice while also helping people get the transformative occupational therapy (OT) they need.

When they approached Social Firefly in 2021 they were looking for an agency to breathe new life into their social media. They needed to turn their channels away from only broadcasting news and events to channels of meaningful engagement with members and the public.

The goal was two-fold; to reach new audiences including members of the public and potential new members (occupational therapists) while increasing engagement with existing ones. They also needed a team who could handle responding to comments, direct messages and mentions on social media while supporting them with reactive and crisis communications when required.

The challenge

RCOT’s channels were mostly used to broadcast, often talking to the OT community but less with them. The channels had become more reactive than proactive, often pushing statements to their audiences rather than proactively speaking out for the OT community.

With members wanting change – for RCOT to have a stronger voice for the profession, to be more connected with the community and to be more publicly proactive; they needed Social Firefly to become more than just their expert agency, but part of their team, developing new processes and strategies to not just improve their social media presence but turn it into the best in its industry!

Social Firefly began work in late 2021 but it was in 2022, with the launch of RCOT’s new brand, vision and strategy, that we really set out to harness the power of social media to help them achieve their strategic goals.

 

Our approach 

We, along with the RCOT team, focussed on building relationships and community development, with the aim of placing RCOT at the heart of the occupational therapy community and the conversation around occupational therapy.

The strategy included sharing more user-generated content so that people could see themselves represented, and others succeeding. We also decided to ask more questions, encouraging followers to share their experiences and views, supporting RCOT and the community to better understand the challenges faced by the profession.

A channel specific approach was taken, making the most of the specific tools available and testing new features when available, while also adopting an accessibility as standard approach – Alt Text for every image, designs created to be accessible and videos with captions and video descriptions.

These changes took their channels from being predominantly broadcast to being used to share inspiring information which builds relationships and supports those in the profession every day.

Alongside this we supported RCOT to change their approach to community management, which we all recognised was essential to ensure people feel heard and valued. The aim is to keep response time to under 24 hours, answering all questions and getting involved in discussions, whatever the sentiment.

The organic social media work led to 16% more impressions, 222% more comments and 103% more engagements in 2022 vs 2021. We also supported RCOT with multiple paid social media campaigns to reach more members of the public, which in 2022 reached 169% more people than in 2021 with only a 9% increase in budget.

This work was recognised in 2023 at the prestigious Memcom Excellence Awards, where we collectively won the award for the best social media presence. We were honoured to be nominated alongside two brilliant organisations, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Psychiatrists, and even more honoured to win!

Social Firefly’s Sarah Burns with the RCOT’s Amy Bigmore at the Memcom Excellence Awards 2023.

“I’ve seen an exponential increase in our social media presence over the last 18 months. It’s made a real impact to the way we engage with the occupational therapy community.”

Odeth Richardson
RCOT Chair of Council and Head of Occupational Therapy at the Newcastle Upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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