How Intuit Quickbooks Shifted Its Social Media Marketing Strategy Overnight

Days after the Prime Minister announced the first national lockdown, Intuit QuickBooks aired its first Ask the Expert session. More than 250 live shows have been live-streamed since, reaching over 8 million small-business owners. Here, QuickBooks explains how it made the decision almost overnight.


2020 was set to be a busy year. Whether it was the Euros, Summer Olympics or COP26, most marketing teams were prepped for a hectic year ahead.


At QuickBooks, we were kicking off a new campaign called ‘Backing You’, which would see our in-house content team travel the UK, meet customers, and produce video content about individual small businesses and how QuickBooks is championing them.


And then COVID-19 hit. We put all film production on pause, as we had a critical decision to make: either put the brakes on all marketing activity, or adapt our social media marketing strategy to support small businesses more than ever before.


We chose the latter. To survive, business owners needed to pivot quickly and seek novel ways to operate. Our customers told us they were looking for educational resources online – but they required reliable and timely information that responded to the everchanging situation.


There was a deluge of information being shared by traditional media sources and online, but it often provided contradictory or confusing advice.


So, what could QuickBooks do to help cut through the chatter to provide helpful and meaningful support? The answer was Ask the Expert, a daily live-streamed video series in which guest experts answer audience questions.


Less than 24 hours after the government lockdown announcement, QuickBooks produced a campaign proposal in a single, hackathon-style session. Fast forward to the 3rd of April, and Chancellor Rishi Sunak made his landmark announcement, confirming support packages for businesses across the UK.


With the concept only a few days old, we recognised the significance of that evenings’ speech and its impact on small businesses. We decided to move mountains to ensure the first episode would go live the following morning to clarify the measures announced.


Since that first episode, our team has produced 250 live shows, reaching over 8 million small-business owners and garnering 15 million organic views. Most importantly, we have been able to provide small business owners with crucial advice on how to survive the crisis by connecting them to a range of experts – from business leaders such as Joanna Jenson, Founder of Childs Farm, to health and wellbeing experts like Helen McGilvray, Michelle Flynn and Kwai Chi.


It was important that the series was not only a dependable resource, but was also engaging and could provide light relief during the malaise of the pandemic. The data suggests we achieved just that, with individual viewing times 16.5x greater than average and small businesses spending the equivalent of 4,418 days consuming content – a UK company record for any QuickBooks video series


The success of Ask the Expert in the UK has since led to the rollout in other markets, including India, the USA, Mexico, France, Australia and Canada. Excitingly, the UK series has been commissioned indefinitely, with plans to go even bigger and better.


Against the odds, we were able to innovate our digital marketing strategy in a way that not only provided meaningful support for customers but also allowed us to tap into a new and wider audience.


Kwai Chi, Head of Social Media, UK at Intuit QuickBooks