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Helping to keep road users safe with an effective social media strategy

Highways England is a government-owned company charged with overseeing England’s motorways and major A roads. Its road network, which totals around 4,300 miles, carries a third of all traffic by mileage and two-thirds of all heavy goods traffic.


The organisation aims to provide all customers with safe and reliable journeys through the way it operates, maintains, and enhances one of the most advanced road networks in the world. Highways England worked with Hootsuite to help deliver customer service effectively on its social media channels, improve rapport with customers, and ensure relevant updates were seen by road users.

Due to the scale of its network, Highways England needed to improve the effectiveness of its communications channels with customers, to ensure locally relevant information was delivered to them.

The organisation wanted to:

  • Train operational colleagues to use social media channels and tools effectively

  • Better communicate information about congestion and accidents to the public

  • Create and maintain consistency across all customer service operations

  • 27%
    increase in Twitter followers
  • 285
    employees trained through Hootsuite Academy
  • 900K
    campaign video views

How they did it

Using a centralised platform to organise teams effectively

Alongside email, telephone, direct mail and others Highways England needed to also communicate with customers on social. While traditional channels were important for customers, adding social media to the mix gave the organisation an additional channel to communicate directly with customers and answer queries immediately.
With 4,300 miles of road to manage, sharing information with customers on social media needed to be a seamless process. Highways England selected Hootsuite Enterprise to manage social media on a large scale.

With Hootsuite, the organisation now has a unified view of all social interactions and accounts, as well as customer queries that come through social. And by setting up custom permissions and approval workflows, it has ensured that individual employees can manage social media quickly and effectively, while retaining organisational oversight of social media activity and keeping messaging aligned and correct.

Using social media to keep drivers in England informed and roads safe

For an organisation tasked with managing roads, responding to customer queries around the clock is important—and responding in a timely manner is vital.

As a result, Highways England has seen a 27 percent increase in Twitter followers since working with Hootsuite—and is able to offer near real-time updates to audiences to keep them up to date with the latest traffic information.

Supported by Hootsuite customer service in a high-pressure environment

As part of its service offering, Hootsuite provides customers with custom webinar-led training sessions and a learning and engagement plan for employees. To support governance and ensure employees are consistent in delivering social content, Highways England has given 300 of its employees access to the platform only after they have completed relevant training with Hootsuite Academy.

Hootsuite also offers customers around-the-clock support, which Highways England values highly as an organisation that is expected to be online and responsive regardless of the time of day. Highways England now has the assurance that any platform issues or queries can be resolved or managed immediately.

Highways England call center employee looking at her work computer
Being able to communicate with road users about relevant traffic information on certain areas is critical to our operation. With Hootsuite, we’re not simply posting announcements and reminders, but we’re responding to customer queries effectively and in a timely manner.
Sharon Creary
Head of Digital Content and Engagement
Highways England

Using social to increase campaign reach and improve results

To educate road users on the dangers of tailgating, Highways England launched a Don’t be a Space Invader campaign that included a creative video illustrating the effects of tailgating. Part of the campaign took place on social, and encouraged drivers to sign up for bumper stickers that carried the campaign message.

In its first phase, the campaign received more than 900,000 video views on Facebook alone, and the campaign landing page saw an impressive 13 percent conversion rate for bumper stickers ordered—more than 80,000 in total.

Highways England control center female operator looking at her screen

The results

With an efficient platform for managing social media and numerous successful safety awareness campaigns rolled out, Highways England is well on the way to achieving its goals on social.

As an organisation focused on customer satisfaction, Highways England will continue to improve its service for road users, providing them with the best information to help them on their journey. Beyond empowering its operational colleagues, the organisation is also rolling out training for employees with local knowledge of its road network, enabling them to manage regional Twitter channels and deliver even more specific and relevant content.

Having taken steps to improve the customer experience, Highways England is committed to its journey of improving its communication with road users in England. As an organisation vital to managing the safety of people on its roads, Highways England can stay ahead of providing critical information where it matters, in an always-on digital world.

overhead view of a forest

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