Concept and aims
Southeast Communities Rail Partnership (SCRP) wanted to take part in Community Rail Week 2021, using its nationwide ‘Go Green by Train’ theme, but wanted to make their social media campaign unique. By promoting the sustainable transport message via authentic and relevant ‘on-brand’ posts, they wanted to ensure they ‘stood out from the crowd.’
SCRP decided to target their campaign at a youth audience, engaging young people in ways relevant to their generation. They did this by relating the CO2 savings made by travelling by train to the power used to charge mobile phones.
The project team created some bespoke graphics to illustrate the CO2 savings from train journeys on each of their community rail lines compared with a car journey on the same route.
The partnership asked some of its stakeholders and partners, such as Brighton & Hove Buses and University of Brighton, for advice on obtaining reliable figures, also using LNER’s online carbon footprint calculator and a greenhouse gas equivalence site to produce the statistics required.
The team chose mobile phones as a comparison as they were an item that their target audience could easily relate to. They produced templates for Instagram and Twitter which incorporated the ‘Go Green by Train’ branding, but could be adapted to highlight the specific savings for each line. During Community Rail Week, SCRP posted the graphics regularly, and also used them in sustainable travel workshops delivered in local schools that week.
The campaign produced excellent engagement figures, reaching well beyond the partnership’s followers and core audience. There was a very positive reaction on Twitter and Instagram, and promotion by key partners, supporters, and volunteers also helped to promote the message on Facebook and the partnership website.
SCRP now have a set of graphics they can adapt and use for future campaigns, offering a shelf life beyond the initial concentrated publicity burst. Since Community Rail Week in October 2021, they have continued to use the CO2 figures at steering group meetings and in conversations with partners and other organisations, including Shoreham Port, who have asked about carrying out a similar exercise.
SCRP described the project as a “low cost, high impact campaign with lasting effects”, and one they feel gives them a solid base to build on in the future. The partnership has also reassessed its use of social media as a result, now using more video content and channels such as TikTok to engage new audiences.