How Antalis Leads Its Industry on Social with Employee Ambassadors
The paper, packaging and visual communication distributor uses a social-first strategy to unify communications, streamline recruiting, and drive growth.
With 4,700 employees in 39 countries and global sales of €2.1 billion, Antalis is Europe’s leading distributor of paper, packaging solutions, and visual communication products for professionals. When Franck Chenet joined Antalis as Digital Transformation and Marketing Services Director, he saw an immediate opportunity for the organization to become a social leader in an industry that has been slow to adapt to the new digital landscape.
Envisioning a social strategy that would unify internal and external communications, build Antalis’s employer brand, and use social-first campaigns to drive rapid growth, Chenet and the marketing team set about looking for a technology and strategy partner to make the plan a reality—and quickly turned to Hootsuite.
increase in share of web traffic to campaign site from social media
adoption rate for employee ambassador programme
shares of Amplify content last year
- 3 weeks
job recruitment cut by an average of 3 weeks
At the outset, Antalis did not have a specific digital marketing strategy and was using social media in a decentralized way with little coordination between regions. Chenet knew that the marketing team needed a partner that could provide the platform, training, and support needed for a global overhaul of the company’s social media strategy and programmes.
Working with Hootsuite, Antalis set out to achieve the following objectives:
- Make social media an integral part of Antalis’s internal and external communications strategy
- Consolidate social accounts and unify content across regions with a distinctive brand voice
- Support recruiting and increase lead generation with social-first campaigns amplified through an employee ambassador programme
- Establish Antalis as a social-first and digital-first leader in the B2B paper and packaging industry
When we were activating the ambassador programme, Hootsuite set us up with two of their current customers. We spent half a day with them and their marketing communications teams, who gave us fantastic unbiased feedback—really powerful stuff that was worth as much as any consultant you would normally hire. And Hootsuite facilitated all of that for us. They really went above and beyond.
How they did it
Centralised social strategy to strengthen and unify their digital brand
To establish a foundation for the organization’s digital transformation, the team began with an audit of Antalis’s social media accounts and activity across the business. Content was being created in silos, with no centralized messaging or brand design across accounts and regions. At one point, the team uncovered 52 separate LinkedIn accounts attributed to Antalis across 39 different regions.
After reviewing and consolidating social accounts, the team used Hootsuite’s shared content library to build a central collection of high-quality, brand-approved social content that could then be easily distributed to all regions. Equipped with this resource, teams across all regions can quickly find and publish preapproved content across platforms, channels, and countries.
This centralised model enables more structured governance for social content, creating a single overview of social media activities across regions that helps teams collaborate and localise content while ensuring that messaging and design stay on brand. Armed with insights from this overview, the team gained a clear view of where they should be building brand equity, creating additional content, and focusing their efforts to drive employee advocacy.
Partnered with social experts to rapidly build expertise and capabilities
The next phase of Antalis’s digital transformation entailed designing and rolling out an employee ambassador programme using Hootsuite Amplify. Goals and scope for the programme were broad and ambitious, including improvements to internal communications, support for recruiting and employer branding efforts, as well as social-first campaigns to drive lead generation and growth.
To guide strategic planning and ensure an effective programme rollout, the team leaned on Hootsuite for expertise. As part of training and development, Hootsuite invited two of its other B2B customers who were already using Amplify to share guidance, best practices, and third-party feedback on their experiences rolling out their own ambassador programmes with Hootsuite.
Using Hootsuite Amplify, Antalis can now share approved content beyond its social teams, enabling employees across the business to find and share relevant and engaging posts to their social networks. This capability is key in boosting the company’s employer brand to support more effective recruiting, and also in driving social-first campaigns to support increased lead generation for the business.
Having Hootsuite is like having access to a toolbox on how to do social right. Hootsuite helped us with benchmarking, training, and implementation, and they take on our feedback too. That’s the definition of a good partner: one that optimises the partnership.
Rolled out a world-class ambassador programme that’s built to last
To ensure that the ambassador programme would achieve high adoption among employees and provide relevant and engaging content, the team rolled it out in a phased and highly consultative approach.
For the first phase, the team recruited employees with existing LinkedIn accounts, brought in a professional photographer to update their profile pictures, and then began a collaborative process to ensure that content available for ambassadors struck the right balance of corporate and personal content. Throughout the initial rollout, the team supported ambassadors through touch-base sessions, Q&As, and even gamification to drive adoption and ensure ambassadors would want to share updates on social media.
To prepare for broader programme rollout, the team created more contextualized content to suit different ambassadors and their audiences. By paying close attention to participant feedback, trends, and audience personas, they succeeded in creating an appealing suite of content that sounded less like old-fashioned B2B product marketing and more like natural, relevant conversations.
With an impressively low drop-off rate of less than 10% over the four years since initial launch, the advocacy programme has become a vital pillar for Antalis’s employer brand initiatives and broader marketing campaigns.
Strengthened employer brand and streamlined recruitment with social
With a strong commitment to social responsibility across the areas of corporate governance, natural resources, human resources, and its product offerings, Antalis is well positioned to appeal to prospective employees as a progressive and responsible employer.
By creating engaging content that highlights its commitment to sourcing sustainable products, supporting community causes, and celebrating creative professionals, the company can then leverage the reach of its employees’ social networks to connect with a broader pool of quality candidates for open positions.
Antalis’s systematic use of social media in the hiring process has streamlined hiring workflows and cut hiring times by an average of three weeks, in some cases allowing job roles to be filled in as few as 15 days with candidates sourced from ambassadors’ LinkedIn Pages.
Generated new leads via social-first campaigns
With a strong ambassador programme established, Antalis was ready to begin ramping up its customer marketing with social-first campaigns to drive new leads and growth.
As a way to highlight the extensive and often highly innovative use of its products by architectural firms, printers, and interior design professionals and agencies, the marketing team decided to launch the Antalis Interior Design Award—a competition showcasing creative design in home interiors, offices, retail and hospitality spaces, public premises, and 3D projects.
The first edition of the award saw 341 projects submitted, generated significant engagement on social, and showcased innovative uses of Antalis’s products to a global audience. When the team ran a subsequent edition two years later, project submissions grew to 535 projects—and the share of traffic generated by social media grew from 5% for the first edition to over 20% for the second edition.
Hootsuite have consistently demonstrated their capacity to listen to us, and also shown the foresight to collaborate with us on what could be the platform of tomorrow. We are always discussing how we can do things differently, and this is what makes our relationship with Hootsuite such a good one.
After four years of using Hootsuite, the partnership continues to pay dividends, with Chenet and team looking forward to continuing to work with Hootsuite. And with an 87% adoption rate and more than 2,400 shares of Amplify content last year, the ambassador programme continues to be a strong foundation for the company’s social and digital initiatives.
As Antalis continues to drive the programme forward, the next focus will be on training its ambassadors on social selling via Amplify and LinkedIn, working with them to refine selling techniques and provide relevant and effective sales enablement content. The company also aims to continue bridging its social and web performance data to measure and optimize its return on investment in social.
From the results to date, it’s clear that Antalis has taken a huge leap forward in its digital transformation journey—paving the way for even greater reach for this global distributor.