A year of digital tiger lines
It’s been slightly more than a year since we got involved with Lesotho Sky‘s digital marketing. What started as a chance encounter on the slopes of Table Mountain grew into a relationship that’s more friendship than work relationship. We’ve come a long way since we first started scheduling social media content, just days before the start of the 2015 race.
We’ve learned some lessons that might help your next project:
Speak to real people. Instead of looking for viral growth, speak to the hearts of the people you actually know. Through the year, we addressed most of our online content to a handful of people who have done the race in the past and will gladly spread the word. Our most successful campaign to generate qualified leads was through a competition where people could nominate their friends to win an entry. It did very well. We ended up with 300 qualified email leads, all of them sourced organically. Why? Because people love seeing their friends win.
Don’t come with a sales pitch. Your business goal might be to sell entries and make a profit, but don’t let that drive your communications. Instead, make people fall in love. Not with you or with your brand, make them fall in love with the story. If wallets, handbags and belts are your business, make them fall in love with leather. If it’s wine you’re selling, make them love the vineyards. If it’s a mountain-bike event, give your audience the thrill of rushing downhill on two wheels. Talk less about yourself and more about the trails.
Mention your sponsors just enough to keep them happy, but do not sound like them.
Mountain bikers know when the tweet comes from someone in an air-conditioned office who never rides a bike. Rather not tweet anything than come up with content that sounds more like a spinning instructor than a mountain biker.
Each social media platform is different. Drop the hashtags on Facebook. Use Twitter during events to keep friends and family updated in real time. Tell beautiful stories on Instagram.
All roads should lead to your website. Your social media platforms should be the supporting act. Keep your website the main place where all the information lives. We posted daily route profiles and race info, fresh photo galleries, video content, live tracking, social media feeds, blog posts, press releases and results.
Use UTM tagging with all the links you use to generate traffic to your website. This will make the reporting afterwards a breeze.
Boost the buzz with a solid ad budget. Yes, you will have a lot of organic traffic and engagement, so you might be tempted just to let the race do the talking. The recent changes in Facebook’s algorithm makes it harder for pages to appear in people’s feeds. Just this fact alone should prompt you to up the noise. For Lesotho Sky we promoted only the highlights videos. We added a clever little call to action to it and captured 200 super-targeted email leads at a cost of about R15/lead. (Very important is to get the targeting right.)
Some people are still stuck in 2006, especially in printed media. We recommend that you do not spend R20 000 on a full page editorial in some glossy mountain bikers magazine. Rather take the tiger line and team up with the fresh kids on the digital block. You’ll get way more bang for your buck. Invite social media sassy people to experience your event first hand. Have a couple of media entries available and negotiate online content in return.
Don’t skimp on photo and videos. Call in the professionals to capture the magic. Our work was made a dream by having an amazing media crew on board. For this, the organisers of Lesotho Sky should get all the credit. They understand that a great picture is worth a thousand words. Do not bother with the old-school approach of having the photographer trying to sell the pics online. Pay them what they are worth and make all the photos and videos available online. Keep only the best ones as visual stories for the months to come. Play around with the way you share it on social media.
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