Written by Jen Chae, Social@Ogilvy HK
How would you pitch a public park?
I was sitting on a park bench in the heart of Hong Kong when my social-centric mind decided to practice pitching. No, not the type of “pitching” you’d normally see at a park – but envisioning the park as a potential client and thinking how I would go about putting together a proposal.
Random, I know, but pitching to a park is actually a perfect hypothetical example. It just goes to show there’s always a reason to pitch social, even if it isn’t obvious at first. If something as unexpected as a public park could benefit from social media presence, then anything and everything could too — we marketers just have to look close enough.
Below I’ve used a park as my potential client to put things into perspective, but these general tips are applicable to all industries when brainstorming for a pitch:
Is there marketable content?
Right off the bat, I saw that the park would make for stunning social media visuals. Every corner, every detail had the potential to translate to beautiful original content – so why not bring it to digital life, share with the world and gain a following while at it?
Social media is the platform to flaunt, especially beauty and good taste. As Instagram accounts like nature teach us, people find value in following aesthetically pleasing content. There’s huge potential for building fandom.
Is there news to be shared?
Social media is an outlet, for a voice to be heard. If the “park” had something to announce, where would it normally publish?
New York’s Central Park shares its events, history, stats and general feel-good posts on a Tumblr blog alongside a content-packed website. Of course, not every park will have as much going on as Central Park, which is a tourist attraction. But what we can take away here is that customized streams of content strengthen any brand and will attain relevant audiences.
Another thought here is that websites seem rather unnecessary as social media (and the “follow” button) prevails. Social media is a more convenient option for both brands and its audience to connect – it automatizes the flow of content users want to see and eliminates the need for them to open up a browser and type in a URL. In this sense, social media seems like the right medium for parks to be active on, to cater to their niche demographic of the public (i.e. Dog walkers, athletes, general lifestyle enthusiasts).
Does the park want visitor insight? Is there a gap to be bridged?
Remember those comment drop-off boxes at public places? Shopping malls in Hong Kong once had those, before communication shifted to e-mail and social media. Brands have been trying to bridge the gap between them and their audience for one simple reason: to get to know them better, to cater to them better.
Brands can now turn to social media to gain raw consumer insight. Social media is replacing the now outdated “comment box.” As park-goers engage with posts, park-keepers will learn more about what worked, what resonated and what didn’t. And the great thing about social media is, the popularity (and unpopularity) of subjects are quantifiable. It’s a great tool for the park to see what the public really wants.
Does the park want more visitors?
The end goal of a social media account should always be to add value to its audience and community. And considering what parks stand for – nature, community and recreation, – attracting followers (potential park-goers) would not be too difficult a challenge.
By building a strong online presence, a park will become more relevant. Good content will ideally lead people to spend a day at the park themselves, share their experiences there and hopefully, cause a ripple effect.