Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance
Social Community Management
Facing short-term resource challenges, the Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance (KITA) engaged Tourism eSchool to manage the region’s organic social media channels from May to September, 2021, in addition to mentoring and training new staff to take on project completion.
With an audience of over 90,000 on Facebook and 45,000 on Instagram these accounts are among the largest of South Australia’s regions, and a key component of the Island’s marketing and communications strategy.
Stage 1 - Social Audience Analysis & Visitor Journey Mapping
A good amount of dialogue was undertaken with the Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance to understand their requirements and how social media was currently being utilised in line with their strategic marketing plan. From these discussions it was clear their Facebook and Instagram channels were being used as key tool to drive destination awareness and traffic to the regional website, with user-generated content at their core.
Naturally, it was also essential to understand who the region is trying to attract and convert, and ultimately gain deeper understanding of their high yielding Visitor Personas - those people who stay the longest, disperse around the region, spend the most, love the experience of the destination (including the towns, natural attractions and tourism businesses) and become strong word of mouth advocates or repeat visitors.
From here, we also analysed the region’s current social media audience – their age and location, when they’re generally online and the types of content they engage with the most. This provided a good picture of who we were targeting, and the triggers needed to catch their attention in a busy and cluttered social media environment.
Stage 2 - Metrics & Measurement
Our second step was to establish some baseline metrics and a measurement framework, using Iconosquare as a key source for insights and forward planning. The platform would also later be employed for scheduling of posts and tracking of results.
Analysing the channels’ performance over the previous months was critical to benchmarking future performance, so baseline metrics were taken retrospectively around community growth, engagement and reach, in addition to the all-important website traffic data on Google Analytics.
By setting the bar from the beginning, this provided a solid platform to track the effectiveness of social media efforts for not only the short term, but also to provide to KITA with a robust reporting tool into the future. As such, a comprehensive reporting template was designed to cumulatively capture and input key data moving forward.
Stage 3 - Content Audit & Curation
Following our research and input from KITA around key content themes, we took a deep-dive to source fresh, high-quality, seasonally relevant visuals for use across the channels. This was critical to ensure we had an established library of amazing material to draw and build upon from the very beginning.
To do this, we ‘mined’ for user-generated content on Instagram, searching through a labyrinth hash tags, geo-tags and account tags functions to ensure our content left no stone un-turned.
First, we targeted any content shared with KITA’s official hashtag, plus material their account had been physically tagged in. We then utilised geo-tags to find additional content users had shared at key locations around the Island.
Research was also put into other non-official (but highly relevant) hashtags that people otherwise used when posting, enabling us to fill more gaps, as required.
Approaches were then made to well-known local influencers and professional content creators, helping us build productive relationships with a talented group of artists that we could activate and encourage to contribute from time to time.
Throughout the process, sharing permission was sought from all creators before images were optimised for social (right size, right medium, with/without enhancements) and banked away in the library, kicking things off with a base library of around 300+ photos and videos to ensure the channels received some great early traction.
Stage 4 - Social Channel Management & Reporting
Having harvested an arsenal of ‘share-worthy’ material, we were ready to take the reins.
A final briefing and kick-off meeting was set up with KITA to ensure we were across the very latest intel on operators, upcoming events and promotions, along with any hyper-specific messaging needing to be communicated in the first week or two. This close, regular dialogue was maintained throughout the period to ensure communications stayed responsive to KITA’s ever-changing needs.
From commencement, the key elements of channel management included a minimum of five organic newsfeed posts per week on both Facebook and Instagram, with daily Instagram Stories (including operator resharing and dedicated features) and full daily community management.
Each and every post was carefully captioned and optimised to ensure it was fully tailored for sharing on the relevant channel. In doing so, posts achieved maximum reach, engagement and web traffic, with community interactions and messages being addressed as they arose.
The content schedule was kept in line with seasonal change, ensuring the audience saw Kangaroo Island online as they would at that moment in time. Daily weather fluctuations even saw content adapted to better capture and harness community sentiment ‘in the moment’.
What our Storytelling Looked Like...
Over the course of the next few months, storytelling reflected every aspect of the destination, combining powerful visuals with creative captions that inspired users to dream, plan, book and stay longer.
- Vines turned to gold as the whales arrived from Antarctica.
- Rugged winter days turned to crisp clear evenings.
- Local food filled the hungry hordes as red wine was sipped by the fireplace.
- Sea lion pups explored beyond the beach and echidna trains moved across the scrub.
- Bushfire recovery was in full swing, with native bushland sprouting lush green growth.
- Storms rolled in and sunsets illuminated the Island’s icons.
- COVID locked the State down before businesses welcomed us all back.
- Road trippers took to winding country roads and wooded wonderlands, leaving dust and memories in their wake.
- Spring delivered flowers and fauna, while longer days sent us all back to the beach
- Crisp white wines were swished by the water and local dolphins invited us all for a dip.
- State tourism campaigns came and went, new events and festivals drew interest from near and far.
- And of course, let's not forget about that time a curious kangaroo went totally viral, reaching a staggering 12.3 million users and racking up 2.17 million hours of viewing time - making it easily the most successful post ever published on KITA's Facebook page
From the outset, the impact of our extensive preparation was clear and immediate, with all key social media and website metrics rising significantly month-by-month. As the channels built momentum, so did our content sourcing, with KITA’s community contributing fresh new material on a daily basis.
Large local and national influencers also frequently shared content with their audiences, extending the content/region’s reach to valuable new audiences of millions.
A comprehensive monthly Social Media Report was delivered to KITA throughout the period, addressing all key results areas in line with earlier planning and benchmarking.
Stage 5 - Staff Mentoring
Towards the end of our tenure on the social accounts, a series of mentoring and training sessions were held with KITA’s new social media manager before KITA officially took back took control of the accounts.
To extract the most out of the mentoring sessions and provide a base-level education around strategic social media management, the staff member first undertook key modules within our Visitor Servicing + Destination Marketing Bootcamp to bring them up to speed.
The mentoring framework consisted of four weekly sessions, covering every aspect of best practice social media community management:
- General onboard of KITA Facebook and Instagram accounts
- How to build a social media library – source content and seek user permission, download and optimise user generated content.
- Key relationship building tips to maximise potential of local business, content creators and influencers
- How to schedule and optimised posts in Facebook Creator Studio and Iconosquare
- How to write engaging captions for better storytelling
- How to optimise posts for amplification through influencer channels.
- Community management 101
- A review and feedback session to follow up on the staff member’s efforts to source, schedule and create posts in Facebook Creator Studio and Iconosquare
- Provision of additional tips for optimisation, increased engagement, reach and web traffic.
- Social media reporting
- Understanding key metrics on Facebook and Instagram and their alignment to the marketing strategy
- Where and how to measure and develop the monthly Social Media Report using Facebook Insights, Iconosquare, Google Analytics and Desktop Qualitative Metrics.
An additional amount of ‘on call’ time was allocated following the sessions to enable KITA staff to ask additional questions via phone or email.
Below are the results of for the 5-month period May to September 2021, as compared to the previous 5-months:
- Fanbase increased by nearly 2%
- Post Reach increased by over 696%
- Post Engagements increased by almost 495%
- Video Views increased by over 1,575%
- Average Engagement Rate on Reach was maintained at 7.33%
In other results, 8 of the top 10 most engaging, and 8 of the top 10 highest reaching Facebook posts of the entire 2021 calendar year were posted within the May-September period.
- Followers increased by almost 5%
- Post Reach increased by over 31%
- Post Likes increased by almost 35%
- Post Comments increased by 54%
- Post Saves increased by almost 53%
- Video Views increased by over 33%
- Average Engagement Rate on Reach increased by over 20% (to 7.11%)
Again, 9 of the top 10 most engaging and 8 of the top 10 highest reaching Instagram posts of the entire 2021 calendar year were posted within the May-September period.
On the Website
- Social Media referrals almost tripled
- Share of Social Media as a proportion of all inbound web traffic almost quadrupled
- Facebook referral traffic tripled
Additional Social Media Amplification
During the 5-months, KITA's posts were picked up and shared by dozens of major social media amplifiers, including Tourism Australia, South Australian Tourism Commission, ABC Australia, ABC Adelaide, Glam Adelaide and Adelady, generating a collective reach of almost 52 million, based on collective community sizes and post frequency.
Lachie, Rebecca and Paige are extremely professional to work with, and truly understand destinations.
Lachie, Rebecca and Paige are extremely professional to work with, and truly understand destinations. Tourism eSchool have aided the Kangaroo Island Tourism Alliance with Social Media management, which has been highly successful. From the commencement, they listened and were adaptable to our ever-changing needs, have provided a high level of community management and excellent mentoring to new staff through their Destination Marketing Bootcamp. I would highly recommend Tourism eSchool.