Flow was the Gauteng Tourism Authority’s (GTA) digital agency, a position we held from 2010 to 2012, before being appointed again from 2015 to 2018.
Our work for the GTA included designing and developing its new website, www.gauteng.net in 2016 (we also launched its previous site in 2010); content marketing and development; e-marketing; SEO strategy; social media (we set up GTA’s YouTube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter accounts, developed strategies for them, and help maintain them); and event coverage.
We assisted in driving increased traffic to the website through regular blogs, event listings, photo essays, content development and a clever social media strategy.
Case study: social media campaign
The GTA’s strategic focus is to encourage people living in Gauteng to promote their Gauteng lifestyles – the places they like visiting, things they like doing and so on – and in so doing, to showcase all the great Gauteng-based tourism opportunities to the South African domestic market and the world.
Gauteng’s offerings include world-class infrastructure, and the availability of leading shopping brands, hotels and leisure attractions. This makes the province a preferred destination for both business and leisure travellers from all over the world.
To sell Gauteng as a tourism destination for international travellers, as well as locals.
- To excite travellers to #VisitGauteng
- To encourage business travellers to #stayanotherday and explore Gauteng once their business is completed
- To encourage international visitors who fly into Africa through Johannesburg to stay and explore before moving on to another destination in South Africa or Africa
- To encourage locals to stay home and make it appealing for them to go on a vacation in their own province, especially in tough economic times
- To create conversations about attractions and offerings in Gauteng as a broader South African tourism marketing strategy
- To position Gauteng Tourism as being patriotic about South Africa, and Gauteng and its people
- To be supportive of Gauteng’s achievements
- To be a champion of tourism
And lastly, by doing all this, to create positive sentiment about Gauteng and improve tourism to the province.
How we did it
The GTA promotes Gauteng on three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
First we concentrated on the language and tone – friendly, helpful, informative, positive. We started using monikers, such as “golden province” for Gauteng and “City of Gold” for Johannesburg, wherever possible. This, we felt, is more appealing and creates a better emotional attachment than the word “Gauteng”.
We created monthly content plans that included content around national or provincial days, or occasions – for example #Mandela100, #YouthMonth, public and school holidays, seasons (e.g. outdoors, swimming pools in summer months; indoor events and experiences in the colder seasons) – and lots of static content from the Gauteng Tourism blog and website.
The majority of our time, however, was spent monitoring social media and news sites for content that could be used tactically, e.g. tourism news, international artists coming to Gauteng, news events that impact positively on Gauteng, positive international stories that showcase Gauteng, and lots of user-generated content – images, videos, blogs and reviews from ordinary citizens, recognised tourism influencers and brands.
We provided coverage of live events such as shows, festivals and tourism conferences.
We were online and doing community management 365 days a year, especially through those periods where the potential for increased tourism figures is especially high, such as the December/January festive season period.
The GTA and Flow Communications organised #DigiSym2018 to:
- Cement Gauteng Tourism as a leader in digital tourism
- Position Gauteng as the leading province in terms of digital destination marketing
- Allow local influencers and the travel trade to network in an environment of learning
- Motivate and educate the industry to market Gauteng better
Among the speakers at #DigiSym2018 were social media and digital marketing experts, as well as travel and tourism brands.
The symposium was held a day before the #AttractionsAfrica conference, for tourist attractions managers, and at the same venue. We targeted #Digisym2018 messaging to the #AttractionsAfrica audience.
The GTA and Flow Communications also created a video campaign targeted at locals and focusing on popular “comfort food”. The #TasteofGauteng campaign is a series of videos for social media, the first of which went live on 10 July 2018.
The series includes:
- AK-47 in Mayfair
- Potjiekos in Pretoria
- Shisa nyama in Soweto
- Mogodu in Midrand
- Bunny chow in Randburg
- Kota in Soweto
Besides a spend on boosted Facebook and Instagram posts, the growth on the social media platforms from 1 May 2017 to 31 May 2018 was purely organic:
- Twitter: 240 000 followers
- Facebook: 103 000 followers
- Instagram: 6 000 followers
During the same period, the #VisitGauteng hashtag generated:
- 3 971 mentions
- 1 228 unique authors
- 1 228 unique profiles reshared the hashtag
- Reach of 34 754 011