Ekkablog: Michelle Levings

by Michelle Levings
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Brisbane social media superstar and FoxedGlove proprietor MICHELLE LEVINGS shares the results of the social media campaign she conducted for Ekka 2012.

A quick snapshot of the Ekka 2012 Social Media campaign

For the third time in four years, I was fortunate to be contracted by RNA to create and implement the social media strategy for the Royal Queensland Show. This year, I worked within a fantastic and innovative team who weren’t afraid of trying new things.

A bit of background about the Royal Queensland Show

The Ekka, as it is fondly known, holds a special place in Queensland’s cultural heritage and in the hearts of all Queenslanders. The Ekka continues to be Queensland’s biggest and most anticipated yearly event and still achieves its aim of connecting Queenslanders of all ages, from the country to the city and from all walks of life. With over 400,000 people attending the event over 10 days to see thousands of exhibits, 10,000 animals, world-class entertainment and taste award-winning food and wine.

Overview

The overall marketing and communication strategy for 2012 was activated earlier than previous years to capture consumer attention and sell tickets online before the London Olympics started in July.

Reinforcing marketing and communication objectives of value, traditions and coming together, the social media strategy was focused on building positive interactivity based around community spirit and ownership. A key part of the strategy was encouraging user-generated content to share with the wider community. Using mainly Facebook and Twitter to create eight strategic competitions, we encouraged people to voice their opinions and experiences to generate discussion and create vocal event advocates. Content was created and shared across multiple digital platforms including YouTube, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram.

What people may not realise is a huge part of managing the Ekka social media assets is fielding customer and exhibitor enquiries. Up to 30 questions a day were being asked across multiple assets and two to four hours a day was spent replying and investigating different enquiries during the event.

Facebook Page Key Statistics

  • As of the last day of Ekka (18 August 2012), Ekka Facebook fans had grown by 114% to more than 41,000 from the previous year
  • Most likes in one day: 2,375, 16 August, 2012
  • Highest reach in one day: 1,036,030 unique users, 15 August, 2012

Twitter Key Statistics

  • The Ekka Twitter account had 3404 followers on the last day of show 2012, which is a follower growth of 72% from 2,052 on the previous year

Instagram Key Statistics

  • The Ekka Instagram account was set up on May 10 2012. By August 18, in just over three months, the account had 2,065 followers and followed 6,465 people, 167 posted photos and over 9,904 likes had been received

#ekkagram collage

Now for my Ekka 2012 highlights:

When posts go viral!

We encouraged all of our fans and followers share their Ekka experiences with us – however a highlight for the 2012 social media campaign was when a Facebook post on August 15 went viral. Within 18 hours, the heart-warming post by a member of the public had almost 30,000 likes and a 1,000 comments. By the end of show it had 76,000 likes and 2,600 comments. As of September 4, 2012 it had 106,829 likes and 3,799 comments.

2012 Ekka Showdown: Strawberry Sundaes vs Dagwood Dogs

This thirteen-day pre-Ekka competition was designed to generate debate amongst multiple age demographics, build anticipation, highlight culinary traditions and demonstrate what makes Ekka unique. It was our most successful campaign, with the most popular post receiving 603 likes, 614 comments and reaching 35,473 unique users with 80 shares, making it the page’s most popular post of all time. We also retained 691 unique emails addressed via the application to add to our VIP database.

#ekkagram billboard

The #Ekkagram photo contest was designed to encourage and promote instant user generated visual content to advertise the show while it was happening. Photos taken in first person via mobile phone is a quick and powerful way to communicate an experience that crosses age and cultural boundaries. It also encourages viral communication to the photographer’s followers and friends, spreading “word of mouth” advertising even further across multiple platforms. Instagram has more than 30 million followers and more people join the network every day; however to spread reach across each social media platform we strategically opened the competition across Twitter and Facebook.

#ekkagram ad

For 11 days during the show, fans and followers were encouraged to submit a photo to the Ekka Facebook application or Tweet or Instagram a photo of their Ekka experience in order to win a daily $70 Ekkagram showbag containing movie tickets and Ekka merchandise. If submitted on Twitter or Instagram, the photo had to include a hashtag #Ekkagram and one of three hashtags: #Fun, #Food and #Animals to reinforce key drivers for attendance. Each day, winning and selected photos were also were featured on e-billboards around the city during the show, extending our user-generated advertising reach offline.

For each day of the competition, we shortlisted and uploaded various photos to highlight all the different aspects of the show to the “Ekkagram Photo Favourites” album on our Facebook page. The winning photo also was edited and posted on the Facebook wall and on Instagram (which fed through to our Twitter account) to draw attention to the campaign.

Ekkagram Campaign Results:

In 11 days, we received the following results:

  • Instagram entries: 1741 across 335 individual accounts
  • Facebook entries: 366 across 163 individual accounts
  • Twitter entries: 183 across 102 individual accounts

Total: 2290 photo submissions across 600-plus individual accounts.

The most popular Instagram #Ekkagram photo (below) ended up with 13,511 likes. The person who took it, @laurenepbath_ih, is a Gold Coast-based photographer who has 113,476 followers. She entered 16 photos.This photo was even featured on the Tourism Australia Instagram feed @SeeAustralia – which has 17,624 followers.

Winning #ekkagram photo

The #Ekkagram Facebook app received:

  • 1,035 unique visitors to the campaign
  • 1,926 clicked on shared links

The “#Ekkagram Photo Favourites” Facebook album ended up with 221 photos and received over 530 likes and was shared 74 times. The most popular photo ended up with 239 likes.

With tickets sales up on the previous year, we can say that our 2012 marketing and communication campaign was a successful one. I am looking forward to 2013 as I have so many great ideas – feel free to share some with me if you have any!

by Michelle Levings
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