The last AEO Awards saw Olympia London lifting the Best Use of Social Media accolade. Surprising for a venue, some might say. Here, the team shares how it raised its social media strategy which resulted in a 28% growth rate, compared to a 5.76% venues industry average.
With 133 years history, the venue is one of the most popular in the UK and a London landmark, welcoming over 1.6 million visitors each year.
"As one of the UK's most historic and iconic event venues, we found ourselves in the unique position of having to create entirely new social media channels in 2014", explains Jazmin Beale, Head of Marketing & Communications.
Seeking to meet its audience's expectations and growth the relatively new brand, in 2018, Olympia London turned its attention to digital content strategy and partnered with some world-leading experts. A combined know-how and understanding of its visitors resulted in an incredible achievement not just for growing the brand, but increasing the value of the complimentary marketing support offered to all its organisers.
Know your audience
In-depth knowledge of audience is crucial and the venue understood that visitor insight would be key to their success.
With recent research indicating that, for the very first time, UK consumers were spending more time on digital platforms than their traditional counterparts, social media seemed an obvious channel for reaching a new audience and showcasing the benefits of attending events.
Using a combination of in-house knowledge and a world-leading research agency, the team were able to paint a picture of the typical Olympia London visitor; who they were, what they wanted to see, and the types of content they would most likely engage with: after all, they hold the "power of the thumb".
Create thumb-stopping content
Armed with this insight, the venue partnered with experts who could take this understanding and help transform it into thumb-stopping content.
At the core of this strategy sat video - the type of content that attracted 8 billion users on Facebook each and every day in 2018.
The venue's deep understanding of not just its typical visitor, but also organisers, their shows and exhibitors, combined with knowledge of what people want to engage with resulted in an award-winning strategy.
Future proofing: stand out from the crowd...
"What made this strategy special was a genuine collaboration between our in-house team, expert agencies and organisers; resulting in targeted forward-thinking content, whilst staying true to our heritage brand", explains Jazmin.
A social media campaign with a high level of versatility and speed added value not just to organisers, but exhibitors too; reaffirming to both key stakeholder groups the venue's commitment to their shows. In addition, as the traditional exhibition-goer ages, this is part of an ongoing approach to constantly develop strategies for attracting the next generation of visitors.
"Finally, growing our social media following has also given us greater opportunity to promote our shows and have a genuine impact on ticket sales and registrations; increasing the value we can provide to our organisers, which is our ultimate goal as a world-class venue", concludes Jazmin.