How a hashtag helped our summer

Summer fun

What summer?

Up here in Northumberland (and like most of the UK this year) our summer was restricted to about two weeks, giving us just enough time to construct an arc or drain away the flood water (see here for photographic evidence).

But in between all that we did want to do something to online to help publicise the best events, attractions and locations for fun days out in the summer holidays.

Traditionally, this would be a mix of leaflets, direct comms and a few disparate press releases but this year we wanted to try something completely different.

A big thanks needs to go to both @AnnaMariaCooney and @hanifleylabi who devised and delivered something that would maximise exposure to our country parks, libraries and museums, while at the same time building relationships with local businesses, venues, attractions and community groups.

Northumberland is as fun as it is diverse. From historic castles, to stunning coastline, the county has a wealth of attractions for residents to enjoy.  As a leader in local online communications and as a place builder we launched the social media based ‘Northumberland Fun’ campaign, designed to publicise different attractions throughout the summer holidays.

We wanted to drive residents to our key local sites (both council and partners), promote local businesses and build our reputation as an excellent place to live, work and play.

Essentially we created a free, open online space for businesses and individuals to publicise fun days out in the county. This was done initially on our website and on twitter by creating the ‘#NLandFUN’ hashtag where everyone and anyone was welcome to take part.

The ‘What to do in Northumberland’ Facebook pages were also used to promote different events using branded graphics that helped to reinforce the ‘fun days out’ summer theme.

We also set up a blog page on the council website where businesses and individuals could write guest entries, allowing them to tell the story of their fun days out in their own words.

There was also a competition, offering six family tickets to popular Northumberland attractions, allowing entrants the opportunity to sign up for further event updates and or electronic copies of Northumberland News.

So, was it worth the effort? I’ll leave that to others to decide but if nothing else it came at this challenge from a completely different angle and helped us all sharpen our skills for doing more of this in the future.

  • Around 200 people posted more than 1,200 tweets.
  • We received  750 competition entries (all of them accessed our local information as a result of entering.)
  • An extra 500 people signed up for our events updates on Facebook
  • An extra 450 people signed up for the digital version of Northumberland News or residents magazine.
  • Several attractions offered free tickets for subsequent campaigns and we built hugely positive relationships with local businesses and suppliers.
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