Spar Nord was established in 1824 as the first financial institution founded in Jutland, Denmark. Today, the organization is the fifth largest bank in Denmark and has 49 branches across the country, around 390,000 customers, 1,500 employees, and 103,000 shareholders.
Thanks to its proven business model, a solid capitalization, and a management team with a total of more than 120 years of experience in the banking industry, Spar Nord is listed on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. At Spar Nord, local banks have extensive autonomy: decisions are made at a local level, so the organization is able to deliver tailored services to meet clients’ specific needs.
Studies show that Spar Nord’s customers – both private and corporate ones – are among the most satisfied in Denmark when it comes to financial and banking services. Encouraged by these results, the organization’s ambition is to become “the #1 personal bank in a digital world” in Denmark.
It all started in the summer of 2017 when the communication team was looking for a solution that would help them better engage with Spar Nord’s communities on social media. The team used to post company news and branded content but they realized that the driven engagement was not as high as expected.
The communication team knew that posts from people are more trusted and engaging than branded content, and started to look into employee advocacy. They were convinced that by posting Spar Nord-related content in their own words, employees would drive more engagement around the organization’s content.
The communication team didn’t want employees to feel forced to share company news just for the sake of sharing the content produced by the communication team. Instead, they wanted employees to spontaneously share with their personal networks content they found informative and useful, personalize their own posts, and have a personal goal, either this goal was to better connect with their clients, catch up with the company news, or build their own personal brand.
In other words, the communication team wanted their employee advocacy program to be authentic, optional (employees are not required to share Spar Nord content, they share it if they want to), and beneficial to both the organization and the employees.
Launching Smarp at Spar Nord
During the launch of Smarp at Spar Nord, employees were invited to attend demos and training sessions so they could get familiar with this new communication channel and ask all the questions they may have. During these training sessions, the communication team explained to the participants how to get the most out of Smarp and they also shared tips and best practices for building a personal brand on social media. Participants were eager to learn how to use Smarp to grow their personal brand and position themselves as trusted advisors and industry experts on social media.
Curating relevant content for the employees
Providing employees with relevant content is the communication team’s top priority. Employees receive in their Smarp newsfeed different kind of content such as newsletters, educational materials, industry news and trends, third-party content mentioning Spar Nord, and job ads to help them keep up with Spar Nord news and content. However, not all employees are provided with the same content: information is filtered based on employees’ mission at Spar Nord and the city they’re operating in. Tailored content is spread across channels that are specific to each region where Spar Nord is implemented. For example, employees located in the capital city receive in their newsfeed job ads for open positions in Copenhagen, office updates specific to the Copenhagen office and mentions of Spar Nord in local newspapers. That way, Spar Nord improves employees’ experience and prevents them from having to deal with irrelevant content and information overload.
Rewarding employees’ personal branding efforts
To acknowledge employees’ personal branding efforts and also encourage top Smarp users to share their social media best practices with their colleagues, Spar Nord has launched a campaign called “brand ambassador of the month”.
In a nutshell, employees that generate the most engagement through their posts on social media are featured in a short video where they explain how they managed to drive high engagement on social media. They are also invited to share their personal branding tips that their colleagues can learn from. The campaign takes place on a monthly basis so everyone gets a chance to share their best practices!
For example, Kim Groth, Head of Business Department, became the brand ambassador of the month in May 2018, and explained how Smarp has helped him build his footprint on social media:
“What I like the most about Smarp is the fact that I can find useful content about Spar Nord in one place and I can easily share it on social media. I don’t have to edit links or resize images, I just need to write my own post and that’s it! Smarp is user-friendly, it has never been so easy to share informative content on social media, that’s what I like about it!”.
In addition to the “brand ambassador of the month” campaign, Spar Nord offers personalised perks to employees who put the most effort into building their online personal brand. These perks include concert tickets, movie tickets, or any event tickets based on employees’ hobbies.
Smarp has helped employees and more particularly sales managers to build their footprint and position themselves as trusted partners and industry experts on social media. Sales representatives and managers already had a LinkedIn account before starting using Smarp but most of them used to keep them inactive: they didn’t share posts on Spar Nord or related to their expertise on a regular basis because finding relevant and informative content was time consuming and they felt insecure about Spar Nord-related content they could share with their networks.
Since the launch of Smarp, sales representatives have developed social selling skills: they now share educational materials designed by the communication team and informative articles with their prospects. They can find all the informative and educational content produced by Spar Nord such as case studies, references, infographics, or articles in one place which makes it easier for them to start conversations with potential clients on social media.
From mid-April 2018 to mid-March 2019, 6.5K posts have been shared through Smarp. Employees have reached 3M people through their posts and shares on social media and they have driven engagement around Spar Nord content: they have generated 38K unique clicks and 15K reactions. They have generated the most engagement on LinkedIn (5 clicks/share on average) and Facebook (9 clicks/share on average).
Not only did Smarp support employees’ personal branding efforts, it has also helped the communication team rethink their content distribution strategy. Before launching Smarp, the team used to create content and post it through Spar Nord’s social media accounts. However, this content didn’t drive high engagement. They noticed right after launching Smarp that employees’ shares generated high amounts of views, clicks and reactions. In parallel, employees considerably increased website traffic through their shares on social media.
The team understood that to strengthen the brand, they had to make their communications more authentic and personalised. That’s how the team made the decision to drastically change their content distribution and communication strategy overall by uploading Spar Nord content directly to Smarp and let employees share it through their personal social media accounts rather than posting the content designed by the communication team through the organization’s social media channels. That way they can build and grow the organization’s communities in an effective way.
“The success we are experiencing with Smarp is so great that today, we’re prioritizing Smarp over Spar Nord’s Facebook and LinkedIn accounts to distribute our content”.
Adam Lehn, Social Media Manager at Spar Nord