How important were social networks in the dissemination of the CulTourIsCapital project?
CulTourIsCapital was conceived as an international, transversal, and communal project aimed to interconnect professionals from different sectors and nationalities to work towards a common goal: the promotion and innovation of the creative industries and transformative tourism within the framework of European Capitals of Culture. In this sense, social networks were key elements for the communication strategy. They were not only used as traditional dissemination platforms to tell the activities carried out by partners but also as a tool to build a community and create a space for dialogue.
In your dissemination strategy you have activated several channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). What was the reason behind this decision?
The main reason was segmentation. When you design a dissemination strategy you need to bear your target in mind, meaning to know who they are, where they are, and what they are interested in. Each channel allows you to reach diverse audiences and what can be even more useful, communicate differently. It is important to adapt your message for each channel, both in form and content, in order to connect effectively with your public. However, it was stimulating to try to break down these compartmentalized spaces by creating bridges between the different social networks and fostering people to move from one channel to another. The final purpose was to invite users to become part of a global CulTourIsCapital network. In addition, being present in several channels increased our visibility and allowed the project to spread its message further.
Compared to other social networks, Instagram is strongly based on visual attraction. What skills have you based the management of this channel on? (Graphics, photography, people dedicated to social media)
In the case of CulTourIsCapital, Instagram was supported mainly by photos choosing a specific look for inspiring content (warm colors, people, and beautiful landscapes as protagonist) and a defined graphic design to show professional content such as meetings or workshops. Nevertheless, if you have the possibility to create videos I would recommend it, they are very powerful content and increasingly performing better on social media. To design a storytelling on Instagram it is necessary to have a responsible of content (community manager) who will need to plan, produce, and post the content as well as manage the community. This person will need to focus on the audiovisual format and prioritize visual narratives, that is why it is important to have skills on edition and design. Fortunately, nowadays there are many platforms and programs available online to help with these tasks, automatizing processes and reducing the worktime.
What impact did the involvement of external influencers have on the growth of social channels (Instagram in particular) and on the success of the dissemination of the project?
It was capital to include external influencers to increase the awareness and engagement of users in CulTourIsCapital social networks. A great example is the blogger trip organized during summer of 2020. The bloggers from The Crowded Planet, Margherita and Nick, together with the videographer, Emiliano Bechi Gabrielli travelled to six different cities to live first-hand the itineraries based on transformative tourism activities designed by partners and stakeholders. The bloggers broadcasted their daily experiences in their own social media channels, and so CulTourIsCapital did too. Their close, funny, and personal stories brought new people to our channels and strengthened the relationship between the ones who already followed us. Statistics showed a relevant growth of followers and user’s engagement. In that case, Instagram played a key role, Stories offered the perfect channel to conduct the planned storytelling and this more informal content, based on photos and videos, produced by the bloggers. It is also worthy to mention that CulTourIsCapital partners worked hard to organize several online workshops during the pandemic where experts from different fields and countries were invited. Facebook was the ideal platform to live stream since it allowed to reach a wider audience who could ask or comment and received an instant answer from the speakers. The collaboration of these experts, another kind of influencer, was very welcomed and helped to keep growing the community.
What suggestions would you give to organizations who want / need to open new social channels for the dissemination of a European project?
The first recommendation would be to define properly your target audience, knowing who you are talking to is essential to build a direct and honest conversation. Secondly, interact with them. Find content that gives the audience the opportunity to dialogue with you, express themselves, you should not establish a unidirectional communication but a bidirectional conversation, options are infinite it is just a matter of being creative. For instance, CulTourIsCapital organized a contest under the hashtag #CulturisCapitalFest, it happened entirely on digital platforms (social media and the project’s website), and it had the goal to give visibility to the productions developed during the lock-down and promote the artistic and creative work of all residents in European Capitals of Culture. It performed very well, and we received a good number of participants. One last tip, find your own voice. Create a project personality by using a specific tone and visual identity that make it easier for your audience to recognize you. Social media should be appealing and entertaining both for your followers and yourself.