After working with ChooseATL for over a year, helping them to execute an award-winning campaign at South by Southwest (SXSW) 2016, the client challenged us to go bigger and bolder for SXSW 2017. This time, ARPR had just two months to prepare for a three-day activation to showcase the hustle and hospitality of Atlanta’s industries and people. In order to amplify ChooseATL’s mission and presence at SXSW, the premier annual event for music, film & interactive media, ARPR was specifically enlisted to execute a comprehensive organic and paid social media campaign before, during and after the festival. The client’s objectives were three-fold: 1) to elevate Atlanta’s brand reputation among millennial audiences, 2) to create buzz among influencers, thought leaders and media 3) to drive attendance to Atlanta’s booths at the SXSW Job Market and the ChooseATL House.
With 90k people attending SXSW annually, ARPR recommended an engaging and creative social strategy, including:
ARPR created a social ad theme that played off of social media itself, specifically the “trending sections” that appear on social channels and help to notify users of the hot, most talked about topics of the day. The ad’s look and feel mimicked these sections to make it appear as if ChooseATL’s events at SXSW were trending topics. With an ad budget to support ads on five channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat), ARPR had the flexibility to tailor content based on audience. For example, on LinkedIn the team promoted the Job Market booth and ChooseATL events related to career opportunities, while Twitter boasted website click and awareness campaigns for events related to film and music. Instagram had highly-visual ads promoting the ChooseATL House in general. On Snapchat, the team implemented a custom geofilter that ran during the day of programming. ARPR monitored all ads daily and adjusted budget and targeting as needed to ensure optimized performance throughout the campaigns.
Organic Social Media:
Utilizing appropriate hashtags for SXSW events and conference sessions, ARPR created organic, preplanned content for all of ChooseATL’s social platforms, updated all cover photos to match the activation branding and changed profile bio links to ChooseATL’s SXSW landing page. Social content ran before, during and after SXSW and focused on promoting Atlanta’s industries and economic impact, as well as ChooseATL’s SXSW activation and its Job Market booth. In addition to preplanned content, ARPR created and distributed real-time content on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, including photos, videos, livestreams and real-time conversations.
Overall, the social ad campaigns proved extremely successful in helping raise brand awareness, drive quality leads and increase attendance at ChooseATL’s SXSW events. The Snapchat geofilter was used 289 times and received 25.7k views in just 15 hours, proving to be an inexpensive and effective tactic for generating brand awareness. In total, there were more than 4k landing page referrals from social ads. Combined, the ads received nearly 1.4M impressions and over 12.8k engagements, with a majority performing above the industry average in terms of CTR and CPC.
While all of ChooseATL’s social accounts met initial goals, each also saw triple-digit percent increases in impressions and engagements when compared to the previous month. Additionally, #ChooseATL was used over 1.5k times during the campaign, reaching more than 5.2M users and totaling over 11.6M impressions. The Facebook Lives, which were ChooseATL’s first ever, reached an audience 38 percent larger than its page following and were viewed nearly 1.5k times. ChooseATL also garnered shout-outs from celebrities like Ludacris and Jermaine Dupri, influencers and top-tier media on Twitter and Instagram. Amazingly, #ChooseATL was not only a trending Twitter topic in Atlanta and Austin, but was the #5 trending topic in the entire U.S. (every marketer’s dream). Amazingly, snapchats from the ChooseATL House also made the official SXSW Snapchat Story – twice – reaching tens of millions each time. By the end of the show, social networks had become the highest drivers of traffic to ChooseATL.com during the whole month of March, with Facebook as the #1 referral source, Twitter at #2, Instagram at #6, and LinkedIn at #11. Overall web traffic increased by 50 percent compared to the previous month and the team surpassed its objective to drive triple-digit webpage views.
ChooseATL’s 2nd SXSW takeover was even bigger and more buzzworthy than 2016’s – resulting in Atlanta business deals, new talented workers to call ATL home, national praise; connections for the city’s film, music and interactive media representatives and a deepening of their influence and fan bases.