Social Media Interview: Jenny Burns, Group Communications, Brand and Social Media Director - RSA

Who are you and what does your company do?

I’ve worked at RSA for almost 4 years and I’m currently the Group Communications, Brand and Social Media Director. My aim is to help people connect and collaborate for the benefit of our customers and the business.  My vision is to help RSA become the world’s first truly social insurer inside and out.  RSA has been named by Gallup as one of ten most engaged companies in the world, and has been featured in the Sunday Times Top 25 Big Companies to work for list for 3 years running (the top financial services company).  I started as a store manager for WHSmith.  Loved the pace, the customers and the thrill of running a business. After that, I was lucky enough to move to the WHSmith head office as an Internal Comms Manager… it all started there! Since then, I’ve had loads of fun in comms roles at: Barclays, Centrica British Gas, HBOS and Telefonica O2. For the past 18 years, I’ve absolutely loved doing what I do across lots of different industries.

RSA Insurance Group plc is a multinational general insurance company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. RSA operates in 30 countries and provides insurance products and services in more than 140 through a network of local partners. It has 17 million customers. RSA was formed by the merger of Sun Alliance and Royal Insurance in 1996.


How and why did you get started in social media?

I've got a corporate communications background and introduced Yammer at O2 and RSA, and was inspired by the pace and openness of the conversations.  It wasn't long before I started to see the power of social media externally in helping customers, driving business value and saving costs.


What do you believe the benefits of using social media for business?

Social media removes barriers; helping brands have a human 121 voice with their customers. It enables conversations and provides data to help improve products and services.  Social dramatically improves the customer experience by helping customers in a far more speedy and responsive way.


What do you think are common mistakes business owners make when building brand awareness on social media?

The mistake most commonly made is to focus purely on followers / fans and likes.  You have to start somewhere, but success comes from measuring not counting - measuring how insight and conversations have led to improvements to your business whether that's service or growth.


What qualities do you think social media managers should have?

Tenacity and resilience would be at the top of the list given we're still working hard to convince senior leaders that social needs investment.  Then I'd say the understanding that Social isn't just another outward marketing channels.  The subtly of earning the right to communicate and that social is a multi-way communications channel on the terms of the consumer not the brand!


How do Business owners know if their social media campaign is working?

By measuring the right things!


How do you see social media evolving over the next 5 years …what do you hope to see?

I think the use of data will get more sophisticated as brands and companies use this data to glean further insight into the behaviours of their customers.  I would like to see more education in schools about social media.  I think children and teenagers under estimate the impact what they say now on social will have on their lives, their ability to get a job and their ability to grow up.


What are your favourite platforms for social media marketing?

Twitter, Twitter, Twitter!

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya

Vishal Pindoriya is a social media enthusiast, strategist and writer. He lives in London, England and is particularly interested in the proliferation of social media around the world.


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