Health CareCroda Enhances Customer Experiences with Hootsuite
Driven by its purpose to use “Smart science to improve lives™”, Croda combines its knowledge, passion and entrepreneurial spirit to create, make and sell specialty ingredients that are relied on by industries and consumers around the world.
- 23 millionconnections reached on LinkedIn with Amplify content since 2019
- 5,000+web conversions achieved through employee advocacy using Hootsuite Amplify
- 50%increase in website conversions driven by social media from Q2 2022 to Q2 2023
The Life Sciences and Consumer Care company leans on internal brand ambassadors to help establish a significant market presence, build relationships, and spread its message of sustainability
You want your shampoo to do its job, right? Do you also care what’s in it? While it’s easy to find organic foods and eco-friendly clothing brands, we’re now also becoming increasingly concerned about what’s in our cosmetics and beauty products: Are the substances we put on our faces or in our hair harmful to the environment? Are they produced in a way that’s sustainable and responsible?
With a dedication to results, life sciences and consumer care brand Croda is on its way to being the most sustainable supplier of chemical ingredients that are included in a variety of products—varying from life-saving pharmaceuticals to sun protection—and solutions to improve crop yields and seed resilience.
The company even made the 2023 Sunday Times Best Place to Work shortlist and was voted Britain’s most admired chemical company for its 6th year running in recognition of environmental, societal, and governance (ESG) leadership. The organization operates on the principle Smart Science to Improve Lives™ and directly contributes to many UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) targets that include responsible consumption and production and protection of clean water.
Sounds amazing, right? Indeed - sustainability, innovation, and the creation of new technologies are integral to Croda’s strategy, and to the messaging intended for its target audiences - chiefly scientists and chemists. Until a few years ago, the company had areas of best practice, but wanted to embed a global digital strategy to increase its visibility and gain higher engagement from all parts of the business.
The company was missing a vital resource for reaching a wider audience; a platform that could centralize all social media activity, promote its sustainability message, and involve employees in its advocacy efforts.
What they did
When Louise Millard-Paton, Head of Digital Marketing, and Ashley Sidi, Global Digital Marketing Lead, joined the company, Croda was embarking on a digital transformation journey and social media had to be a critical part of this transformation. The company needed the right platform for growing its LinkedIn following, expanding its Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube channels, gaining new audiences, and an easy, centralized way of communicating with these audiences.
Integrating efforts was key to the new strategy and Hootsuite was the answer, explains Millard-Paton. “Part of the new approach was to create centralized functions that could help upskill teams within the business, and at pace,” she says. “We formed the Digital Marketing Centre of Excellence team to help upskill and make our marketers more effective in their roles. Whilst we saw pockets of best practice within our marketing teams, there was also a lot of duplicated effort and limited sharing or collaboration. Having everything centred under one Hootsuite platform where teams can publish, manage, and analyse their campaigns was a huge benefit to us.”
Hootsuite Enterprise helped consolidate and provide a comprehensive overview of all 36 Consumer Care, Life Sciences and Industrial Specialties social channels. Each brand had its own audience, its own focus, and its own marketing team with people inputting ideas for social content. They are regularly fed ideas by the rest of the group to help come up with the most relevant stories.
With so many separate units using Hootsuite, the centralized function of the Digital Marketing Centre of Excellence at Croda is to provide leadership, best practice, research, support, and training in all aspects of digital marketing. “Ultimately, we’re here to drive or increase the quality and quantity of leads that we generate online,” says Millard-Paton.
The new platform created a strong digital presence and a space where everyone can easily interact with customers and build an online community to educate and inform the audience. A big part of this was made possible by Hootsuite Amplify, a tool that allows employees to easily find and share curated content across their personal social media networks. Through this centralized platform, Croda was able to amplify its brand messaging, increase visibility, and drive engagement. In fact, with support from Amplify, Croda has reached over 23 million connections on LinkedIn and has seen over 5,000 web conversions using Hootsuite Amplify.
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Products used in this study
What they did
The main word in Croda’s marketing dictionary is “customer.” This is who matters most and whose behaviours affect the company the most. “We have a huge focus on enhancing our customer experiences through digital channels,” says Ashley Sidi, Global Digital Marketing Lead. “So, whenever Hootsuite and I are doing a SMA [social maturity assessment] or looking at what we need to do for the year, it's always about the customer being at the heart of everything we do and giving them the best experience.”
Putting the customer in the middle of Croda’s digital transformation meant empowering employees to become more proficient in using various social media channels to build relationships and create engagement. Before Hootsuite Enterprise and Amplify, Millard-Paton and Sidi tried to encourage employees to get comfortable with social media, especially with LinkedIn where most of the company’s audience is. But employees remained unsure about what to say online while others said that they didn’t use social media or didn’t like it.
“But Amplify really made everybody an active participant in social media, and the feedback has always been that it’s very easy to use, which has been great at getting people to actually get on the platform,” says Sidi. “I had a colleague tell me: ‘I've never made a social media post in my life. Now I'm on Amplify all the time, my customers are liking my content, and they’re happy that they can interact with me there.’ So, it's been a huge win.”
Galvanizing internal support
Amplify has been the biggest source of internal success in terms of changing the mindset of many people about social media, including key stakeholders that are now actively promoting stories about the company. “We had execs involved, and Sandra Breene, our President of Regional Delivery, was a huge advocate for the program, which got everyone excited to use it,” says Sidi.
Croda credits the Hootsuite team with having pushed Amplify beyond Marketing, to Sales, HR, R&D, ‘right across the board.’
“We have 150 to 200 active Amplify users on the platform and some key people with influence, particularly within their sectors, that are now actively promoting stories about what we're doing within the business,” says Millard-Paton.
And while the messaging from those users reaches Croda’s audiences and the industries it serves, everything is kept centralized.
“Hootsuite Enterprise has consolidated everything for us, so it keeps Croda in one consistent place— this is our social media factory that keeps us moving forward,” says Sidi. “And Hootsuite’s made my life easier. I don’t have to ask people to send me separate reports and what content they're posting. I can see everything in one place.”
Hootsuite Enterprise doesn’t only consolidate all the existing social channels and provide an overview. It also ensures reliable reporting and sets up the teams so that they can easily execute all social goals. The content is broken down by topics including innovation, culture, recruitment, and—obviously—sustainability, but anyone can share any messaging while brand ambassadors can provide feedback and request specific topics, tailoring the content to speak to the needs of their networks.
What would normally be handled in silos and, potentially, by marketing agencies, is now done by Croda itself, ensuring consistency and preventing additional costs. But there is also the benefit of saving time and effort.
“We started with limited and inconsistent social activity across some of the marketing sectors,” says Millard-Paton. We have now significantly expanded this and also added the Amplify program. It’s difficult to put a number on the latter, but we've gone from a baseline of almost nothing to reaching millions of connections on LinkedIn.”
The right relationship to match the right platform
Croda and Hootsuite created a meaningful partnership that is much more than a regular provider-customer relationship. “We lean on Hootsuite quite a bit for best practices, insight, trends, and to help us drive decisions and validate that what we're doing is the right way to go,” says Sidi. “We've evolved so much as a partnership. Our Hootsuite customer reps are an extension of our team. They really got to know our business and we established a closeness where any new idea can be discussed together, and it has been incredibly helpful in shaping our strategy.”
While Croda keeps learning and growing its social media presence—with departments now using social media as part of its strategy—regular SMAs help it stay on course and keep an eye on its progress. The company is gaining further insight thanks to the recent connection of Google Analytics to Hootsuite Advanced Analytics. For Croda, having its Google Analytics goals tracked through the Hootsuite platform has enhanced Advanced Analytics’ value considerably.
“Now people are using it more to really analyse their content and see what drives sample requests or website registrations,” says Sidi.
In one quarter, the company has seen a 50% increase in website conversions from social content and, as a B2B business, it’s vital for Croda to know where they come from and what content is most successful in creating leads.
Ensuring reputational security
The company is now absolutely smashing its global reach and social presence. However, such online expansion comes with risks, so Croda decided to rely on ZeroFox - a social media security company partnered with Hootsuite - to identify, manage and tackle social media threats and fraudulent activities from within the Hootsuite dashboard. The decision has proved to be a prudent one, several times.
“We started seeing our products popping up on marketplaces that they shouldn't have been on,” says Sidi. “There were more than I thought there would be, but it's so easy to flag it and a week or two later it's taken down. Sometimes we find things we would never have known were floating on eBay or Alibaba if ZeroFox wasn't enabled.”
The company was also impressed with the turnaround time from flagging to removing when the ZeroFox integration found impersonations of one of its brands. Unsurprisingly, the Croda brand in question wanted to know who to go to and how to take the impersonating accounts down.
“We said to them: ‘We've got ZeroFox, there's no need to panic, we've got this,’” comments Millard-Paton. “In a way, this was a good news story internally and it’s a big message for the whole company. We’re growing the confidence within the business to use social media, but we also have that protection there just in case something does go wrong.”
Croda’s roadmap continues to evolve - it is firmly focused on being a fully digitally enabled company and enhancing its customers’ experience through digital. Improved tracking of sales achieved through social media is on the agenda and it’s discussing how Hootsuite can help with sales enablement and finding ways to nurture clients.
The company is keen to keep its sales team involved in the platform in such a way that it can actively liaise with customers through Hootsuite Inbox - viewing, responding to, and engaging with Instagram direct messages, LinkedIn emails, and similar communications. Enabling employees to reach out and build and maintain relationships with customers is the perfect solution to truly putting customers at the ‘heart of operations.’
The company is also getting into storytelling by organizing workshops and focusing on best practices around copywriting and content development.
According to DSMN8—a social employee influencer company—since 2021, Croda has crept to the number one spot as the UK's Most Active Chemical Professionals on social media. “Our target audience is formulators and we've seen our content being shared by so many different people in the industry,” says Sidi. “A big contributor to this has been the Hootsuite partnership with our Amplify program.”
“The first phase was getting everyone on board,” says Sidi. “Now, it’s part of everyone's routine, so the next phase is to get people to be a little bit more strategic in why they're posting something and what they’re trying to get out of that post.”
It’s clear that Croda finds a lot of value in its relationship with Hootsuite and has plans to explore new opportunities and avenues provided by the platform itself and the customer support it receives.
“Hootsuite gives us a voice,” says Millard-Paton. “With them, we have experts helping us set a best-practice strategy that has been validated by other companies using the platform. And since we are a relatively small team within Croda, it helps give weight to what we're recommending to the business. It also gives us stability, because we like to grow and work with partners on a long-term basis. And I think it's a testament to how well we view Hootsuite as a partner that we've stayed with them for so long.”
Hootsuite Enterprise has consolidated everything for us, so it keeps Croda in one consistent place— this is our social media factory that keeps us moving forward.”