Gail Lyon (so you know what I look like)
My history with the Co-op goes back a long time, a really long time – in fact if it wasn’t for the Co-op I wouldn’t have been born. My Mum and Dad met across a crowded dance floor in the now sadly demolished Helena House in St Helens at a Co-op dance. My Dad’s first job was at the Co-op – he went from wrapping meat in brown paper to having his own store and so it felt like fate when 3 years ago I was approached to join the group.
I am results junkie – I love seeing an instant reaction, that’s why I guess I love social media so much, and why I ultimately ended up making a career out of it. I started my working life at BT, after a couple of years I went to Siemens to set up their telemarketing operation and then moved into marketing, where I did every job under the sun from product management to proposition development – chasing a job where I could see the results of my work immediately. I became impatient with direct mail, advocated the use of email and the wondrous world wide web. Finally I ended up with responsibility globally for their digital and social presence.
And so back to today – I’m the Group Social Media and Digital Engagement Lead for the Co-op – and I can honestly say I LOVE my job – why? Well, I work with the most amazing group of individuals – smart, passionate, kind, caring, co-operative with boundless energy – wanting to make a difference and get stuff done.
I’ve had the opportunity to build a strategy and an approach to social media from the ground up with the aim to turn the Co-op into a social organisation, with social integrated seamlessly throughout. We’ve gone from a team of 3 to a team of 10, covering both internal and external campaigns (paid and organic), content creation and community management. We developed the first UK retail Snapchat campaign which was named by Campaign Magazine as one of the top 10 digital innovations, was short-listed at Cannes Lions plus we were awarded best use of social media at the e-commerce awards for a Twitter campaign for our electrical business.
I love being able to have an idea and do something about it – a perfect example of this is how to connect our store managers quickly, simply with no cost – what was our solution – WhatsApp. Something easy to use, roll out and perfect for our disparate employees. On launch day we saw over 3,000 messages, images and videos, in the trial area we saw double digit sales growth – all because colleagues could connect, talk, bond and share. I’ll save the details for a later blog – but need to credit Jordan our Senior Community Manager for making the idea a reality.
And now it gets even better, what more could a digital professional ask for – we have a leader in Mike Bracken with an exciting vision of how the Co-op can be a pioneer again in a digital age, I feel beyond excited and privileged to be a part of it.
If you want to say hello you can find me on Twitter @gailtwist (Twist’s my married name in case you were wondering)