Anne McCarthy discusses the launch of Evonik’s global Instagram channel

In March, Evonik launched their new global Instagram channel focused on employee stories from around the world. Global Director of Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding Anne McCarthy was instrumental throughout the entire development and launch process.

Instagram was the obvious choice because of its reach and visual appeal.

Instagram allows us to show who we are as a company, the products that we make, and the different countries we are in through the voice of our people and through pictures. Anne McCarthy
“It addresses a lot of our target groups in one place,” Anne said. “The demographics are broader.”

According to Anne, Instagram reaches a wide range of ages and its users tend to be evenly split between male and female. “As an engineering and specialty chemicals company, we want to make sure we’re addressing a truly diverse population,” she said.

Anne explained the platform’s visual nature presents exciting opportunities for how employees tell their stories.

“The theme of our campaign is #HumanChemistry, so we want our employees to be the voice of the company,” she said. “We want to do that in a visually appealing way. Instagram allows us to show who we are as a company, the products that we make, and the different countries we are in through the voice of our people and through pictures.”

She emphasized the campaign is based around a hashtag and Instagram is a very hashtag-driven channel — even more so than some other social media platforms — which allows #HumanChemistry to have a broader reach as well.

For Anne, the biggest piece of the buy-in phase was getting Evonik’s different regions involved.

The theme of our campaign is #HumanChemistry, so we want our employees to be the voice of the company. Anne McCarthy
The first bit of buy-in they had to get was from the corporate communications group as well as corporate HR and the CHRO. “So we got all the buy-in from the top first,” Anne said.

Anne runs a bi-weekly global employer branding call and a global recruiting call with all the heads of those topics in Evonik’s major regions.

“I get feedback and input from them every other week on important topics first,” she said. “They’re included from the very beginning, which helped with the execution of things at the end.”

The next steps were to figure out the kind of personality they wanted the channel to have and begin building out the content.

“You can’t launch a social media channel without content,” Anne said. “And not just enough content for a week, we had to have enough content ready for three months.”

Because it’s a global channel, they wanted to gather content from their different regions.

“We defined how many posts we needed from each region, how many story elements, and how many people could do takeovers per region,” she said.

According to Anne, gathering that regionally specific content was one of the biggest challenges the team faced.

You can't launch a social media channel without content. And not just enough content for a week -- we had to have enough content ready for three months. Anne McCarthy
When they began communicating their content needs to teams in different regions, Anne said they realized how specific their instructions needed to be.

“The stuff we were getting was sometimes not the exact personality or theme we wanted. Or the picture itself wouldn’t match up with our expectations,” Anne said.

So, her team created a toolbox and template of the kinds of pictures and content they were looking for, complete with examples. Anne said as they grow their following across different countries where people may not know the Evonik brand, gathering content from those regions becomes even more important.

Once they had received the content they needed to launch, the process of getting the channel live was quick.

“At that point, it was just a matter of figuring out what kind of filters we wanted to use and getting the communication materials prepared,” Anne said.

There was also the discussion of what Evonik’s first post would be and how they’d activate people internally to follow and engage with the channel.

We pushed the line a bit internally -- we took some risks and we were very creative and it's paying off. Anne McCarthy
Then, they held launch events in their major regions — including hashtag cookies and @evonikofficial t-shirts — and put stickers on all the office doors in their corporate center building.

“It was a big push for communication and awareness,” she said. “The people involved were mainly the global employer branding team, global recruiting team, communications team, and we used all of global HR as an ambassador.”

Moving forward, Anne hopes the channel stays diverse and full of rich global content.

Through that diverse content, the team hopes to gain more followers from countries outside of Germany (where their headquarters is located).

“Then, we want to start having takeovers to the point where we have employees take over for a day. We just want to keep developing more in that direction to keep things authentic,” she said.

For other employer branding teams tackling their own global Instagram channel launch, Anne suggests thinking outside the borders of what you’ve done in the past.

Involve your regions and smaller countries. Those people can really make a difference from the start. Anne McCarthy
“We did this a bit differently than we had done other channels,” she said. “We pushed the line a bit internally — we took some risks and we were very creative and it’s paying off.”

Anne also advised involving your different regions in the entire process. “Involve your regions and smaller countries. Those people can really make a difference from the start,” she said.

Anne McCarthy has been a member of the Talent Marketing Board since 2019. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.