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Published September 23rd 2019

Interview: Direct Line Group’s Alison Traboulsi on Breaking Down Silos

We chat to Alison Traboulsi, Head of Social Media at Direct Line Group, about how her team helps spread social insights across the organization.

As Head of Social Media at Direct Line Group, Alison Traboulsi has a lot on her plate.

“I love the variety, the fast pace of work, and the diverse range of stakeholders that I manage daily,” she says. “I’m responsible for the social strategies across our portfolio of brands, copywriting, content creation, social listening using Brandwatch, influencer relationships, paid social across Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram, as well as the measurement behind these channels. So there is never a dull moment.”

Alison’s team works across household names Direct Line, Green Flag, Privilege and Churchill.

“The objective of our work is to drive brand performance metrics, protect our brand reputation, and increase our brand awareness amongst our target audiences.”

I was keen to hear more about how Direct Line Group’s social media team works, how they work with the rest of the organization, and what kinds of insights they’re able to generate using Brandwatch.

The social media team at Direct Line Group

Life for those on Alison’s team isn’t always predictable.

“Things can escalate quickly on social media and we need to be on hand to advise and react,” Alison says.

“Your to-do list usually gets derailed whilst you deal with reactive issues and opportunities, so it’s necessary to be able to manage an ever-changing workload. Everyone who works in the social media team needs to be adept at juggling multiple priorities, whilst being flexible in their approach to work.”

Alison’s team of four each take responsibility for the content and strategic social media planning and execution for Direct Line Group’s consumer-facing brands.

Despite the multiple priorities and heavy workload, it all comes back to one thing.

“My team’s role is all about connecting with people, especially as insurance is something our customers rely on to deliver when something unexpected has happened in life.”

Breaking down silos

As well as all the work that traditionally comes under the social team’s remit, there’s a lot of collaboration with other departments across Direct Line Group.

“Social media is not a department that should operate in a silo and needs to be fully integrated into any business to be truly successful.”

Insights generated using Brandwatch are used across a whole variety of teams:

  • The social media team use them for campaign research, monthly reporting, and brand tracking
  • The marketing propositions team use them for new propositions research and audience research
  • The market insights team use them for finding out what social campaigns competitors are running, share of voice tracking, and sentiment and NPS tracking
  • The risk and business resilience team use them for tracking vulnerable keywords and phrases associated with their brands
  • The PR team use the Brandwatch API to provide visibility on social mentions of coverage

“Risk, internal affairs, procurement, legal, internal comms, and marketing effectiveness are other teams to name a few that we work with. The very nature of social media blends and bleeds across many business areas.”

Wins with social insights

I asked Alison about some of the team’s biggest wins using social insights.

She tells me about the Green Flag network, which uses a network of technicians and garages to help with breakdowns.

“We track all mentions of our network partners and report these public messages back to the business,” she says. “One of Green Flag’s broad objectives is to grow the business. Being able to see a shift in share of voice has been brilliant as we haven’t had a clear view of online share of voice before.”

Examples like this have helped the broader company get behind social media as more than a platform for firing out owned messaging.

“The added layer of insight we get from Brandwatch in terms of listening to what people are saying about the industry, allowing us to align our campaigns and content. Seeing the impact beyond our own channel, will continue to help us prove how valuable social media is as both a brand awareness and acquisition channel.”

One of the most valuable things for Alison is how these insights help the business stay close to consumers.

“Our audiences are broad, and being able to understand what they’re talking about will continue to help us engage with customers and prospective customers about things that matter to them. It improves brand positioning and trust, plus ensures the brand remains front-of-mind.”

Special thanks to Alison for making time to chat with the Brandwatch blog. You can read more interviews with digital professionals here.

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