When I met with this regional tourism brand to talk about taking over their social media management, there was one goal both parties agreed on:
Increasing *real*, active, genuine engagement from their community.
We weren't interested in chasing vanity metrics (aka metrics that mean nothing) such as more 'likes' or excessive and un-targeted account growth.
In fact, I went through and deleted about 100 spam followers in the first month because all dead followers do is make the algorithm sad and ruin your engagement stats (which is why buying followers is literally the *worst* thing a brand can do).
The question is...
How do you actually increase genuine engagement (comments, DMs, story replies, shares, saves)?
A: You pretend the account is a human.
Focusing on creating content that feels like its come from within the audience, designed solely for the audiences entertainment (which could be for laughs, education, inspiration, nostalgia etc.).
Instead of trying to talk at the audience with promotions, formal/impersonal language, a lack of personality and an absence of human-presence (i.e. never showing your face or talking in first-person).
A more conversational style of content which centres around genuine points of interest with the audience and feels like an open invitation to interact.
Content that is less concerned with grid aesthetics and conforming to industry social media norms and trends (something I would never recommend)
And more concerned with real-time feedback from the audience, using the platform insights to figure out what people are resonating with and looking to internet personalities, high-performing media accounts and trendsetters inside and outside the industry for inspiration.
Instagram results from the first 4 months of our social media management compared to the 4 months previous.
Over the next 4 months, this is exactly what we did.
Some of the changes we made to the social media strategy included:
Adding a 'relatable humour' content pillar to make the accounts feel more personable
Video-first content that leverages current trends on social media for a more 'native' feel and to use entertainment as a vehicle for promotion.
Ensuring that human faces featured regularly on all parts of the platforms from feed photos to Instagram reels and Facebook videos to stories
Speaking in first person semi-regularly and including my personal opinion as a member of the tourism board team (opinions act as social proof which is a lot more powerful than brand promotion tactics and copy).
Focusing on story-based content and using narratives and listicle style copy over promo-heavy, old school copy. The use of narratives increase retention and informative listicles prompt people to imagine themselves carrying out those steps.
⚡️The Results ⚡️
Facebook results compared to the previous 4 months (before we managed the socials)
As people became more familiar with our new style of content and we re-engaged some followers who had fallen off (this tends to happen when your content sucks. The algorithm just stops showing it to people) we noticed a really significant increase in some of our key engagement metrics:
Average Instagram comments increased by 100% 😱
Facebook average engagement increased by 42%
Facebook total comments increased by 568% 🔥
Our Instagram reach (unique individuals) increased by 73%
Instagram Impressions (times content was viewed) increased by 113%
Instagram story reach increased by 122%
Total story replies went up by 97% 💯
Our Instagram audience started growing steadily and were primarily individuals who fell within our targeted personas 🙌
We also experienced an increase in the number of stories we were being tagged in featuring the destination and Facebook messages we received with photos and stories (this usually happens when people are rewarded for the effort through re-shares and showing gratitude in the DMs)
More recently, we've also seen an uptick in local vendors, media and other orgs becoming more collaborative with us; sharing their upcoming events and promotions and reaching out to partner on initiatives which gives us more current content to share, which only serves accelerates the flywheel effect of good content > higher engagement.
Organic social media can be hard to measure in dollars and cents but its such a critical element of building the kind of ultra engaged, loyal and excited brand community who love (and buy) everything you do.
This is where we shine.
We understand that it's actually that 'culture element' of your brand will safeguard you from being copied or pushed out of the market - simply because its impossible to replicate culture.