This is a guest blog post from Kevin Lippy who has successfully ran a branded Facebook Page (Backpacking Mate) aimed at backpackers travelling through Australia. He has used the great analogy of The Big Lebowski to describe the lessons learnt.
“Smokey, this is not 'Nam…. There are rules” – Walter Sobchak
With a budget of "as close to zero as possible" and with the experience in running a Facebook campaign to match, it was pretty obvious that I was never going to create “The Dude” of Pages. I needed to shoot from the hip… like a ‘gun-toting Jewish-convert with post traumatic Stress Disorder’ such as Walter Sobchak (John Goodman) in ‘The Big Lebowski.’ But before I could roll… I needed to learn the rules.
1. “Donny you’re out of your element” – Walter Sobchak
I was naive, impressionable and amped to do a campaign exclusively on Twitter because I thought it would be a great way of reaching my core market, 18-34 yr old international backpackers. In my defence this was at a time where I was attending Tweet breakfasts, helping Ashton to his1,000,000 followers and refusing to speak to people unless it involved less than 140 characters! It was the future after all and pretty much a no brainer ! Then one day whilst asking myself “What are you doing now?” I had an epiphany: “@KevLippy Do some #Analysis 4 the campaign!”
Incredibly, what I found was that only 50% of my target market even knew what Twitter was at the time… and only 14% were on it, let alone the ones that were actually ‘active’ users. My own intuition told me that 99% were more likely to have a box of goon in their hand than a mobile device, which is pretty much required to handle the immediacy of Tweets. Conversely, 83% are on Facebook, and not just passively. For example 70% of backpackers use Facebook to upload their photos. I also quickly learned that Facebook ‘Pages’ were the way forward, and that Facebook groups were dead. while I created a Facebook page campaign, I did end up incorporating Twitter, primarily to facilitate messages to others in the travel industry.
2: “The Dude abides” – The Dude
In building my page I scoped out my favourite pages and tried to model my page on theirs. This proved difficult as ‘The Dude(s)’ of Pages, such as Discovery Channel and Red Bull often had purpose built apps. This was out of the question for my budget. So I specialised in finding the coolest free apps (there were plenty!). My favourite is “FBML” which is essentially a box that you can have HTML on your side-wall.
3. “I’m not Mr Lebowski. You’re Mr Lebowski. I’m The Dude” – The Dude
The average backpacker probably perceives us as just ‘a bed.’ It’s not like many people would actively look to become a fan of our brand ‘just because.’ So I decided to create the campaign based around a character called “Backpacking Mate” which;
a. Humanised us – this opened the door to us joining the conversation. It allows us to talk with (not to) our fans. We try not to push-market but are still able to get key messages across subtly.
b. Allowed us to be everywhere - We can send Backpacking Mate from Broome - Byron - Belgrade in a matter of minutes, being that he is an animated fictional character, and that his preferred mode of transport is Photoshop. This also keeps him interesting.
4. “Nobody F***s with The Jesus” – Jesus Quintana
In this regard I consider “The Jesus” to be our “Fans”. Whenever I post anything I ask myself “If I was a backpacker would I want to see this?” I try my best to only speak when I have a significant deal, discount, or a valuable piece of information that I believe will benefit them. Company agendas, inevitably get in the way… but I do try.
Part 2 will be delivered on Wednesday