Siobhan Murray shares how she and her team at United Technologies Corporation launched their award-winning Aviation Day campaign

Social Media Specialist Siobhan Murray and her team at United Technologies Corporation recently won the Shorty Awards’ “Shoe-String Media Buying Strategy” award for their employee-spotlight Aviation Day campaign last summer.

“Aviation Day is one of those holidays where we can capitalize on the theme of the day with a hashtag and share content that’s related to our company’s story,” Siobhan said.

Her team works with an external agency on a couple key campaigns throughout the year. But last year’s Aviation Day campaign was executed by Siobhan’s team and completely managed in house.

While UTC’s Shorty-winning Aviation Day campaign was launched last summer, the idea came about nearly two years before.

We wanted to be confident that we were able to share them externally without any issues. Siobhan Murray
“We went to the local museum where we have a lot of equipment on display, took some photos, and put them on Instagram and Facebook,” Siobhan said. “It did well, but it was a bit impersonal. So, this time, we wanted to add a human element.”

To do that, Siobhan and her team looked to their UTC colleagues — many of whom are aviation enthusiasts.

The team’s primary goal for this year’s Aviation Day campaign was to help engage UTC’s employee population.

They also wanted to tell the company’s story in an authentic way and increase followers and engagement across their channels. “We intended to use it as an opportunity to build out the channels and reach new people who might not typically engage with some of the content we create,” Siobhan said.

To get the campaign off the ground, the team created a request for employees to send in their aviation stories.

It was a careful balance of getting to the essential message, but not having it be too long. Siobhan Murray
They posted it on their intranet page, then had their companies amplify it on their respective pages, and announced it on Yammer.

“From there, we fielded the responses, created a spreadsheet, and went through one by one to see who had the most engaging photos and interesting stories,” Siobhan said.

They received so much content from employees that the original one-day campaign became a week-long campaign.

Siobhan collaborated with HR to ensure the employees who submitted content were in good standing at the company.

“We wanted to be confident that we were able to share them externally without any issues,” she said.

Then, Siobhan followed up with every employee in person to answer any questions they had and make sure they knew where and when their content would be published. “We wanted to make sure we had a very collaborative environment,” she said. “We didn’t want employees to send their photos and images to a void.”

The team focused on choosing content that was diverse across age groups, races, and types of employees.

We intended to use it as an opportunity to build out the channels and reach new people who might not typically engage with some of the content we create. Siobhan Murray
“I broke it out by business as well because we wanted to make sure that we had a good spread of employees from our different businesses,” Siobhan said.

From there, they worked their way backwards by looking at who had the best photos and organizing the content cohesively across their channels.

To draft the copy for the posts, Siobhan leveraged casual email conversations she had with employees to capture their voice and tone. “It was a careful balance of getting to the essential message, but not having it be too long,” she said.

Siobhan said the in-person conversations she had with employees helped them become more comfortable with the process.

Talking to the employees one-on-one helped them put a face to who’s behind UTC’s social media channels, which allowed them to be more engaged and authentic.

“We can be seen as a bit conservative as a company, so people can be hesitant to tie their personal lives with their work lives,” she said. “But our colleagues are totally willing to share when you give them an avenue and a channel where they’re confident in what they’re speaking about and that it’s relevant to UTC.”

With a lean operating budget of just $2,000, the team focused on the channels where they tend to see the most engagement.

Aviation Day is one of those holidays where we can capitalize on the theme of the day with a hashtag and share content that’s related to our company’s story. Siobhan Murray
Due to the campaign’s visually-compelling nature, Siobhan’s team knew if they put a small amount of money behind it and targeted the right people, it would be an opportunity to grow their Instagram audience.

“We looked at the amount of money we had and where it could make the most impact and created a custom audience that we knew our Aviation Day content would resonate with,” she said.

When the campaign ended, it had reached over 2 million people — with 17k paid engagements and 3,300 organic engagements.

For this summer’s Aviation Day campaign, Siobhan hopes to utilize some of the content they couldn’t use last year.

They intend to go into their archives from last year and choose a few key people to follow up with and create a campaign focused just on them.

“We’ll possibly do a feature story with one or two from last year and see where we can go from there,” she said.

For other brands considering a similar employee-spotlighting campaign, Siobhan emphasized the importance of being bold.

“If you have an idea that you think could work, run with it,” she said. “Sometimes we run into red tape and it can make us hesitant to try new things.”

Siobhan said to make sure you collaborate with the right people, get the buy-in you need, and don’t be afraid to try. “Be bold,” she said. “You’ll be surprised by what you can come up with.”

Siobhan Murray has been a member of SocialMedia.org since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.