Destination Uppsala - Champining Social Media as a small Destination

The case study discussed the strategy of Destination Uppsala that adopted a behavioural segmentation based on consumers' decision-making process.tre

Destination Uppsala is owned by the municipality of the city and is the fourth largest city in Sweden. Being in close proximity to Stockholm and the international airport Stockholm Arlanda, Uppsala as a city has huge potential in attracting visitors to discover an authentic small Swedish city.

Destination Uppsala is owned by the municipality of the city and is the fourth largest city in Sweden. Being in close proximity to Stockholm and the international airport Stockholm Arlanda, Uppsala as a city has huge potential in attracting visitors to discover an authentic small Swedish city.

While Uppsala as a destination used to focus on targeting visitors using parameters such as age, sex and education, this has now changed as the DMO adopted a behavioural segmentation based on consumer behaviour and decision-making processes. Specifically, Destination Uppsala is now targeting the 'curious adventurer', a segment comprising those tourists that like to visit small cities and are interested in Swedish lifestyle and culture. A clear marketing shift has taken place to focus on the values of the visitor rather than other criteria.

We interviewed Stefan Pettersson, Marketing Director at Destination Uppsala to get more insights on the tourist board's use of social media and experimentation with Facebook Live.

The Role of Social Media

It is known that social media has become one of the best ways to engage with consumers, targeting domestic as well as international markets. For Destination Uppsala, social media is one of the main channels to succeed in getting the message out to Swedish consumers as well as international markets such as Germany, USA and the UK. Being active on social media has become a critical aspect of the DMO marketing activities.

Destination Uppsala is a fairly small organisation which made it necessary to keep all social media activities focused and within the means of what they consider as manageable for their team. The destination focuses its efforts mainly on two channels, Facebook and Instagram as their target consumers are relatively active on both. In terms of importance, Facebook is the main channel whereas Instagram, due to its visual focus, is of value too to engage consumers through images and story content. With the launch of Facebook Live, Destination Uppsala saw a huge potential for the destination and developed a completely new social media strategy.

The Potential of Facebook Live

Before getting started with Facebook Live, Destination Uppsala needed to decide on the format and style of any live content to ensure consistency. A decision was made to organise all content for Facebook Live in English in order to ensure everyone could easily understand and engage with it. At the start, the DMO focused its Facebook Live stories on Linnaeus, a famous Swedish botanist, getting an expert to narrate and guide the live sessions. The goal was to feature the famous Linnaeus Garden in Uppsala and its history to raise awareness and interest in a unique aspect of the city.

One of the key learnings from the initial Facebook Live was the difficulty in recording and organising the live aspects in real-time. It can be quite difficult to script the surroundings and ensure that the live stream on Facebook is engaging and attractive for the audience. Destination Uppsala understood the need to pre-record and seed out various clips on social media still focusing on the authentic, raw and unedited footage. All content needs to reflect the actual city, season and context when the video is recorded. It is also important to ensure that content is quickly turned around and published to give consumers a real-time feel of the content shared. All content needs to be based on visitor interests rather than destination messages to ensure it triggers interest about Uppsala as a city destination.

While videos drive a lot more engagement than just images or text, it was still surprising for the DMO to see what content performs best and triggers interest in consumers. An example of that is a clip featuring a farmer on a horse cutting grass which was resonating surprisingly well with people. The video achieved a far greater reach than some of the high-quality video content Destination Uppsala produced, as it appealed to consumer interests.

Content Planning Process

For Destination Uppsala to succeed with its social media content the team needs to be hyper-organised. Being a small destination means that time and resources are always short, that's why the team decided to organise weekly meetings to plan social media content up to 14 days in advance. The daily editorial schedule is planned in advance, however, if something interesting comes up the team can still be flexible. A team of four people work on the schedule and post the content. In addition to their own editorial content, Destination Uppsala is also working with user-generated content on Instagram. Every Friday, the tourist board shares the top picks from #myuppsala aggregating user-generated content. This enables them to share a completely different perspective of the city and engage with local ambassadors and Uppsala followers.

An essential part of content marketing is the need to boost content to reach larger audiences than through purely organic posts. Destination Uppsala experimented with in-channel advertising solutions from the start. Content that is performing well on social media can double its reach if promoted to a new audience. This helps to drive more consumers directly to interesting content rather than trying to reach them through separate marketing efforts.

For the destination, the main objectives were to increase their visibility on social media and monitoring the overall performance of their activities. Pictures, videos and live content work particularly well to market the destination brand, highlighting specific events throughout the year. It is, however, crucial to establish continuity in how they talk to the audience, building a common knowledge about the city and ensuring continuous dialogue with the audience.

At the same time, Destination Uppsala educated their industry through seminars on how to use Facebook, Instagram and TripAdvisor. By working closely on improving the skills and knowledge of the industry, they can also provide support to spread the message about Uppsala as an interesting destination to visit.

Key Takeaways

1. Think about the Smartphone frame - any content that you produce needs to be made to fit a small screen.

2. Keep it personal - ensure all content could be something that fits into someone's social media feed rather than being commercially focused.

3. Authentic - content should feel authentic and real, storytelling focused, and with strong visuals

4. Experience-driven - all content should feel like a real experience, reflecting activities or events that are happening in real-time

5. Visual first - work with pictures and video content that inspires consumers to travel and work with content creators to feature the best visual content that showcases different perspectives of your destination.

6. Use Content Creators - feature and credit content creators on your own social channels and actively involve citizens and visitors to create content and share it on social media to increase the reach of your content.

Published on:
November 2019
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