The Scottish referendum was an emotional time for many passionate Scots, no matter which side of the debate they were on. By the time Digital Willow was called in to help, the situation had reached a crisis point for the Better Together campaigners.  It was clear to us that a less political, more personalised message was needed to reflect the opinions of Scots living close to the borders and those sharing family, friends and fond memories with their peers in the UK.

We created a campaign on social media that spoke of the real stories of how leaving the UK would affect Scots.  It was shared on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and coloured with poetry, stories, and realities of how people felt about the potential divorce.

Our mission was to reflect the people's thoughts and to make sure that others understood what separation would feel like.

We managed paid ads and were heavily involved in community management as the conversations our campaign ignited were tremendous.

Digital Willow approach

As an example of the rigour we put behind the community management, below we showcase some of the steps we put in place to manage vocal and emotive voters.

  1. Always respond quickly – a day later was too long and angry comments grew quickly
  2. Takedown and block anyone using poor or abusive language immediately
  3. Have dedicated staff ready at set times – particularly around posting times when volumes were high
  4. Pre-plan a Frequently Asked Questions sheet
  5. We empathised or acknowledged disgruntled comments
  6. Where possible we turned the situation into a positive and encouraged further reading links
  7. If we were at fault we tried to find a solution quickly and publicised that solution
  8. We documented & practised fire drill procedure – this involved a senior spokesperson coming onto social media when live news spiralled out of control.

It has to be said that was tenacious about drafting the content we posted for this campaign.  It was a very hot topic and the community was extremely divided, thus our angle of showcasing personal views.


Results speak for themselves - Scotland remained in the UK for the time being in a very close and exciting finale.  We also gained invaluable experience in delivering political messages in a personalised way.  Not to mention how to handle negative comments on social media!  Who knows what would have happened to the outcome of the Brexit referendum if the DW approach was used?