Telling the Thameslink Programme story in a digital landscape
Thameslink Programme has used a mix of digital channels extensively to reach, engage and influence audiences online.
During Thameslink Programme’s lifespan, the core website has received 1.3million visits, 10,500 tweets have been sent and more than 10,000 individuals signed up to receive regular email updates. These are the key principles which guided Thameslink Programme’s approach to digital engagement:
- The Thameslink Programme core website owned the project and led on the benefits story. The URL was included on all Thameslink Programme collateral, providing a hub for key information and advice. It also directed customers to the appropriate partner websites for more detailed information and advice.
- All partner websites provided consistent information and advice, referencing other transport operators that were also affected. This meant customers had a joined-up view of the travel disruptions arising from Thameslink Programme works.
- External websites and journey planners that received a high volume of traffic were capitalised upon, to increase awareness and drive traffic to dedicated information and advice areas.
- During periods of increased travel disruption, for example blockades, passenger awareness was supported by an online travel advice tool providing accurate, high quality and station-specific travel advice. The tool was linked to by all partner websites.
- Direct communications were issued to engaged customers by SMS and email. An audience was built through collecting data via a signup function on the core website.
- A mix of earned, owned and paid content was shared via pre-existing and specifically-created social channels to support awareness and drive traffic to dedicated information and advice areas.
- A content strategy focusing on rich media was delivered to engage customers, offering behind the scenes glimpses of changes and future benefits.
- Mentions of Thameslink Programme, and linked terminology, were monitored daily. Listening helped shape the Thameslink Programme narrative, while value was added by joining conversations where appropriate.
- Every effort was made to mix social engagement with traditional media, wider passenger communications and stakeholder engagement, delivering an integrated story across all platforms.
- Reporting took place on a wide range of engagement metrics across all digital channels at weekly, monthly and key period milestones.
- Communications teams from partners came together fortnightly to report on progress, agree future content and share best practice.
Best practice guidance for future projects
- Delivering a joined-up integrated approach, where digital tools and content are used alongside traditional forms of media, passenger and stakeholder engagement, delivers maximum impact.
- Creating a central hub or online tool, that can be promoted across all online and offline content, is an effective way to maximise resources and achieve desired behaviour change from customers
- Listen carefully to social conversations and use them as a starting point to tailor a story which resonates with audiences.
- Work closely with all partners to tell a unified story through each channel and involve the most engaged customers in the narrative as advocates.
- Do not underestimate the impact of unplanned disruption on brand value which now, through social media, is amplified more than ever before.