When the UK voted last June in favour of leaving the European Union, the trajectory of an entire nation, perhaps of an entire continent, shifted on its axis. News out of Britain was now a global story, not a local curiosity. The country's political leaders fell on their swords, and the pound fell on its haunches. Vital, era-defining events started to unfold in real-time.
At Bloomberg we identified Brexit as our story. Global markets crashed along with political careers. After a campaign defined by partisan media and alternative "facts" – warnings of economic disaster and promises of national rebirth – it became clear there was a need for clear-eyed reporting and live, expert analysis of the unfolding story. Bloomberg's focus on well-sourced and data-driven reporting, as well as a deep understanding of the way financial markets and institutions think and act, gave us a natural authority.
We resolved to act quickly, with a clear aim: establishing dedicated online channels to focus resolutely on the Brexit story. We wanted to help audiences find and share the incisive coverage they craved after a "post-truth" campaign.
A month after the vote we became the first publisher to launch a Brexit-focused daily newsletter. By the time Prime Minister Theresa May made her first keynote speech in early October we were ready to unveil @Brexit, a unique Twitter account that fitted seamlessly into the Bloomberg social family.
With our daily Brexit Bulletin newsletter operational and quickly gaining subscribers, we knew there was an engaged audience for Brexit coverage. To complement this we wanted to pair it with Twitter's real-time experience.
Finding the right handle was as important as using the right platform. Discovering @Brexit was occupied but dormant, we made our case to Twitter. We framed @Brexit as a natural extension of our existing news brand, arguing that it would fit perfectly alongside our succinct, memorable accounts: @business, @markets, @technology, @luxury. Twitter agreed.
Owning @Brexit immediately puts Bloomberg at the heart of the story, extending beyond the identity of a single news brand. It has much more power than an ordinary @BloombergBrexit account.
To maximise the impact of the new Twitter handle, we timed our launch to coincide with the prime minister's keynote speech at her party's annual conference, the moment when Britain expected her to flesh out "Brexit means Brexit," her catchy but essentially meaningless post-referendum slogan.
We appropriated the slogan and launched as May took to the stage on Oct. 2, with our animated take on the phrase widely retweeted by a surprised "Brexit Twitter" throughout the day.
Post-launch we have stuck to a clear plan: Make @Brexit a full-service news destination for all things Brexit.
We've used clear, accessible language and graphics to tell complex stories; we have designed bespoke animations and used data from the Bloomberg Terminal to show the impact of key events. We've created engaging video and interviewed the prime minister. We've taken advantage of new features, such as Moments, and developing techniques, such as tweetstorms – often at the same time. We cross-promoted the new account on the much bigger @business handle, and used @Brexit to drive subscriptions to our daily newsletter. In 2017 we are expanding the account's range with a greater focus on live video as well as working to explore commercial opportunities.
Securing @Brexit gave us a great opportunity, and it is now a channel where Bloomberg's traditional reporting is creatively repackaged and distributed to new and influential audiences. Through a combination of social creativity and strong editorial judgement Bloomberg has become synonymous with coverage of a huge global story.
Our hunch was always that @Brexit would deliver a Twitter version of the engaged, interested audience we saw subscribing to our newsletter. We're delighted to observe that that's the case.
Launching on Oct. 2, We set a goal of 10,000 followers by the end of 2016, but easily passed that figure within the first month or so. By year-end we were at 20,000, and in early February 2017 we are now past 25,000. With each key news event we see a spike in traffic and new followers, averaging out at about 195 per day.
While 25,000 is still clearly a niche account in the grand scheme of things, we see that one in 43 of @Brexit followers is verified, compared to one in 238 on our @business account, which boasts 3.27 million followers.
Engagement and Referrals
Our subject-specific focus has paid off: while Twitter is rarely seen as a traffic-driver these days, @Brexit has generated some 378,000 clicks to Bloomberg URLs since October. That equates to 15 per user, calculated against today's follower count. Again, that outperforms the much larger accounts, where clicks per follower are in the single digits.
@Brexit generates an average of 28 retweets and 45 mentions per tweet.
Overall, we're delighted with @Brexit. The account tells important, informative stories in creative, engaging ways, amplifying our message and helping us reach new audiences.
Fill out the form below and we'll work on connecting you to the entry creator!