More than 2 million people in the UK live with sight loss, according to the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). The London-based charity, founded over 150 years ago, is committed to changing the world “so there are no barriers to people with sight loss.” A key part of RNIB’s mission is giving people with sight loss the help, support and tools they need to realize their aspirations. That includes its own staff members—like Social Media Officer Holly Tuke.
Tuke, who is blind, long wanted to build a career in communications. And when she found that opportunity at RNIB, an organization she’d been involved with for years as a volunteer, she was excited to support her community in a new and impactful way. “I am proud to be a blind person, and I want to play a part in making the world more accessible for blind and partially sighted people,” she said. “That was a driving force for me to take on my role at RNIB.”
Despite her passion and commitment, Tuke said she started questioning her career choice because she found social media management—a core pillar of her job—so challenging. That’s because the technology tools she used for those tasks weren’t accessible enough for someone with sight loss. Tuke’s frustration inspired an extensive search by RNIB to find a platform that could be accessed by all users, leading to the adoption of Sprout Social, which Tuke calls “a game changer.”
Sprout Social is a social media management tool that is accessible—and it has quite literally transformed some of the key areas of my job.Holly Tuke
Social Media Officer
Positive feedback about accessibility prompts RNIB to put Sprout to the test
RNIB’s social media team, which includes Head of Social Media Becky C. Brynolf, weren’t sure if the tool that Tuke needed even existed—but they were determined to try to find it. “We want Holly to be happy in her job and to feel motivated,” said Brynolf. “She has amazing skills and absolutely should have a career in communications. We just needed to find the right tool to make her work not feel like a slog.”
Tuke underscored the impact of accessible technology on her job satisfaction—and her ability to do her work effectively. “When a tool isn’t accessible, it means that blind and partially sighted people can’t do those tasks independently, or it completely takes away our chance to do them at all,” she explained. “In short, it diminishes our experiences.”
The search for an accessible social media management platform took many months. “We met with multiple providers,” she said. “We’d say, ‘We’re interested in your tool, but how accessible is it? We’d like to put it to the test.’”
That testing process was deflating at times, according to Tuke, but it was also educational. “We found social media management tools that aren’t accessible in the slightest, some that are somewhere in the middle, and some that tick all the boxes,” she said. “The range of accessibility we found made me reflect on my own experiences of working in communications as a blind person.”
Tuke said the arduous testing process is what confirmed that Sprout was the tool that could “change the game” for her as a blind social media professional. She first learned about Sprout through social media and noticed that many people were commenting positively about Sprout’s accessibility.
Tuke and Brynolf said that Sprout’s commitment to accessibility and the conversations they had with Sprout’s dedicated accessibility team further convinced them that they had found the right partner.
“Other providers didn’t offer all that Sprout did,” said Tuke. “That really stood out to us. It told us that Sprout’s beliefs about accessibility align with our own. They genuinely care. And we appreciated that the accessibility team at Sprout was very open to our candid feedback and suggestions.”
I want people to know that even if they don’t have a person with sight loss on their social media team right now, if they have Sprout, they will be ready for when that day comes. They will be set up to make people feel like they belong.Becky C. Brynolf
Head of Social Media
Jumping on trends faster and exploring ways to expand RNIB’s reach—with help from Sprout
RNIB adopted Sprout in July 2023, it wasn’t long before their whole team started realizing benefits from using the platform—especially in terms of timesaving and productivity.
“I’m probably saving up to three hours of work per day because of Sprout,” said Tuke. “One reason is that I no longer have to navigate an inaccessible platform. But it’s also because Sprout makes things easier. In our previous platform, I couldn’t tag messages or hide or like comments. These are simple things, but being able to do them in one place saves loads of time.”
Brynolf noted that she’s a big fan of Sprout’s Reports, including profile, post and tag reporting. “So much of our work before Sprout was manual, and the tool we used for monthly reporting was nightmarish,” Brynolf explained. “Now, we can just nip into Sprout and ask things like, ‘Show me everything we’ve posted for the last two years arranged by highest engagement.’ It saves us time but also helps us spot themes and trends and be more proactive with our content.”
The competitor report that Brynolf pulls monthly from Sprout helps her team understand how their efforts on social media compare with those of other charities that focus on sight loss or eye health. She also uses that report to track organizations committed to social change that are “bold in their approach” with content. Brynolf said those insights from Sprout are helping her team to work with RNIB’s leadership on defining what “bold” means for the charity and the audiences it wants to reach.
Timesaving with Sprout allows RNIB’s social media team to focus more on work that can help support the charity’s core mission and raise its profile. That includes creating more engaging and proactive content for RNIB followers on Facebook, Instagram and other leading platforms, capturing more user-generated content and collaborating with influencers. They are also starting to experiment more with Listening in Sprout to identify opportunities to expand RNIB’s audience.
Both Brynolf and Tuke credit Sprout’s Smart Inbox and its filtering tools as a critical factor in their team’s ability to be more efficient and effective at community management. That is becoming even more important as they have seen RNIB’s inbound messaging volume grow in 2023 from about 1,000 to 2,000 messages per month to between 3,000 and 4,000. They attribute that rise partly to their team’s ability to react faster to emerging trends.
“Accessibility was obviously the top priority when we were evaluating Sprout and other platforms,” said Brynolf. “But when it comes to community management, we found that Sprout’s Smart Inbox was the best of the bunch.”
Now that we use Sprout, I can go to work every day and truly enjoy what I do because I have the accessibility, freedom and independence to perform my job in the same way as my sighted peers.Holly Tuke
Social Media Officer
To learn how Sprout Social can help your organization with its community management while creating a more accessible workplace for your social media team, request your free demo today.