How #tramspotting revived Edinburgh Trams campaign

Posted on in Events News

Edinburgh Trams started operating between the city and the airport on 31st May 2014. After long years of construction and many frustrated citizens, Edinburgh Trams managed to turn around the customer sentiment to anticipation and excitement through their well thought and playful social media campaign.

Today we are asking Tom Norris, Director and General Manager at Edinburgh Trams how exactly they achieved it.

- What was the biggest challenge in preparing for the Edinburgh Trams operations?

- Our biggest challenge was lining everything up to hit our go-live date; this involved mobilising the business, recruiting the staff, writing, assessing and testing all our operational and safety processes on top of training our staff to be ready on day one.


- What is the story behind the #tramspotting hashtag?

- Irvine Welsh, the author of Trainspotting is reported to be a fan of our trams and prior to launch, during construction phase, he was a positive voice at a challenging time. He engaged with us on social media and with this in mind we thought the hashtag would be a great opportunity to spread the message about trams. The #tramspotting campaign launched when the first on-street testing began. This raised awareness (from a safety perspective) that trams were going on street for the first time by encouraging people to tweet their picture of the new vehicles.


- How much customer engagement did you receive via social media before the opening, and on the opening day of the Trams?

- 18 months prior to launch trams’ twitter account was dead in the water – inactive and with very few followers. Over the months a huge range of rich content and news was developed and deployed resulting in steadily increasing follower numbers. By operational launch followers were nearing 10,000 and level of interaction was huge with a reach of around 4 million over the four days surrounding launch.


- How big is your social media team and what are their main tasks?

- Around the launch phase we had six team members accessing the account and tweeting from various locations.  Now that we’re into operations, we have one full time social media officer for the group, who deals with customer service element as well as news and the campaigning side.


- What is your next challenge for the future?

- Our key challenge is to continue to deliver a safe, punctual, integrated and customer focused service as we continue through our first year of service.


Tom Norris is speaking at the UK AirRail 2014, taking place on 27 November at London Hilton Paddington Hotel. Register today and join the conversation >>>