- This interview is the fifth in a monthly series, where we explore the mission of Sopra Banking Software (SBS) team members, and how their work contributes to the company.
Designing your brand’s tone of voice based on your target audience, while remaining faithful to your brand’s values and personality, is a crucial challenge for a company. This allows for evoking emotions and is an excellent way to establish a connection with customers and engage them.
At Sopra Banking Software, the guardian of our brand’s tone of voice on social media is Anton Golovchenko, Head of Social Media & Press.
He arrived in 2020 as an intern to develop social media, stayed, and has since added the press relations cap to his skills. In this conversation, he shares how he has evolved SBS’s presence on social media, how he deals with writer’s block, and also talks to us about audiobooks!
Your job involves writing all day. Do you have any advice for those who love to write or want to start but often face writer’s block?
Anton Golovchenko: Sometimes, I find myself staring at a blank page for hours without writing a word. In those moments, I think about V.E. Schwab, an American author I really admire.
Fun fact, she often hears people say, “You’re an author who writes a lot and quickly.” To that, she responds with something I find inspiring. She explains that, in fact, she writes slowly; her daily writing sessions rarely exceed 20 minutes. But she’s content because even if she only writes 100 words per session, she’ll end up with a book eventually.
Thinking like V.E. Schwab changes my perspective and helps me tackle writer’s block. In the end, I tell myself that it’s not a big deal if I’ve “only” written that much today because I’m still making progress. Well, luckily, I’m a bit more efficient when I write my posts!
I also reassure myself by remembering that a first draft is meant to be bad. It’s a foundation to be improved upon. So, I jot down everything that comes to mind and then refine my text.
What does your role as Head of Social Media & Press at Sopra Banking Software involve, exactly?
Anton Golovchenko: My work is divided into two parts: social media and press.
On social media, I write and publish between two and five posts a day on LinkedIn because it’s the preferred social platform in our industry. The topics mainly fall into four categories: our blog content, events, press releases, and updates about the company and its employees.
On the press side, I arrange interviews between our executives and the media. I also handle relationships with press agencies.
LinkedIn is the company’s primary network. How has SBS’s LinkedIn page evolved since you joined?
Anton Golovchenko: When I started my internship in 2020, our LinkedIn page had about 40,000 followers. Today, we have 130,000. In three years, our follower count has tripled.
That’s the numerical part of it! Our formats have also evolved because the platform has changed. Slideshows have become popular, and video has gained a lot of traction.
In reality, social media is constantly evolving. Instagram from ten years ago is nothing like what it is today. And I’m not even talking about TikTok, which didn’t even exist. This applies to LinkedIn too, as it’s becoming more of a full-fledged search engine. Initially, it was a social network for businesses, but now you can read articles, watch interviews, and even attend digital events.
You’re quite creative on LinkedIn. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Anton Golovchenko: I enjoy creating new concepts and imagining new trends. I like to look for inspiration on TikTok and Instagram, see what’s happening elsewhere, and adapt it.
For example, on Valentine’s Day, I remember watching a fascinating video about how love is expressed in different cultures. That gave me the idea to apply that concept to our industry. We worked on a visual that resembled an online translator’s interface. Each slide in the slideshow showed how “I love you” is said in a language, followed by a humorous translation. It went something like this:
English: I love you.
Engineer: You are my chief architect, building the foundations of our lives together.
I enjoy the challenge of adapting a B2C trend to the B2B world because the audience and goals are different.
How would you describe SBS’s tone of voice on LinkedIn?
Anton Golovchenko: I’d say it’s a quirky tone of voice, sometimes a tad provocative, while staying factual. It’s important for posts to have an informative purpose. Every time I write a post, I wonder what the readers will take away from it. If the answer isn’t satisfying, then I start over.
You played a significant role in shaping this distinctive tone of voice. How did you go about this?
Anton Golovchenko: This quirky tone of voice existed when I joined, but it took about a year and a half to refine. I experimented a lot to find the right words, structure, and writing style. Even using emojis required special attention. I continue to evolve it, but I think we have a good foundation.
I love writing, and I wanted to set us apart from our competitors by adding a touch of humor that you might not find elsewhere. I like that our tone isn’t too smooth, not always conventional, to echo Street Art, a key element of Sopra Banking Software’s identity.
What was the challenge during this creative process?
Anton Golovchenko: The challenge was to adapt the tone of voice to LinkedIn’s algorithm requirements. This platform operates as a search engine. When you type a keyword, results pop up. There are words and sentence structures to prioritize, and I’m not just talking about hashtags. Some posts perform based on sentence structure and the type of emojis used, regardless of the posting time. There are parameters to follow for a post to work. Success depends on a balance between the words used, the message, and the desired virality of the post.
Can you tell us about a campaign you’re particularly proud of?
Anton Golovchenko: The #SBSForever campaign in spring 2022. It was a series of humorous videos that highlighted the reasons to be proud of working at SBS.
The idea behind the campaign was that everyone should be able to provide concrete examples to explain what SBS changes in people’s lives. Imagine sitting at a table with friends, and they ask what you do at SBS; some of the B2B nuances might escape them. But it’s highly likely it would be more tangible for them with business-related figures. For example: “SBS’s mortgage solution helped 10 million people find new homes in the UK.”
We spent a lot of time creating those videos, but the result was worth it!
Any final words?
Anton Golovchenko: We’ve talked a lot about writing, but my second passion is reading. When I’m not working, I’m reading. And if, like me, you sometimes lack time or energy for a physical book, I recommend trying audiobooks. You’ll find it to be a enriching experience because you engage different senses than traditional reading.
When I read a book, I see images in my mind, whereas others might see words or concepts. But when you listen to an audiobook, your visual sense is free to wander as it pleases. That’s why I like to listen to audiobooks during commutes: I might spot a face or a landscape at a moment that aligns perfectly with the story, and I immediately associate that element with what I’m listening to.
The best part: Take the same book and switch between reading it on paper and listening to the audiobook. Try it; you’ll see!
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