Organization: GeoLodges Uganda
Industry: Tourism /Hospitality – Safari lodges
Name of contact: Emily Wissanji (Director)
In 2012, GeoLodges Uganda won the received the award of being one of the top 50 branded companies in Uganda. How was it done? A well-established social media campaign and most importantly the opportunity to show the staff that their involvement could win them the award!
While GeoLodges had been running a successful campaign on Facebook and Twitter since September 2009, the pages steadily grew. A few in-house training courses on how to find the company page for the staff were implemented easily. This was mostly due to the fact that everyone who had a mobile phone had free access to Facebook, still one of the highest used websites in the country. It helped of course, that the mobile phone providers also gave the access to Facebook to their users for free.
All staff, near and far and country wide, had their own network to share amongst, and to vote was a simple text message. It allowed the staff to proudly display on their page that they were employed by GeoLodges Uganda and had an active page to refer to as well.
During the campaign, and beyond guests would send pictures, and after receiving their permission to put the photo on the social media platforms, the staff could see what the other lodges and coworkers were up to, on the convenience of their own mobile phones. This continued to grow, even after the competition, to include friends and family members that were also benefitting from the pride of GeoLodges on these new social media platforms.
There was an active campaign even during the award ceremony that allowed staff that were far away (some of them 480kms away) to feel part of the achievements of the company that evening. The award ceremony itself showed that the GeoLodges team branded itself with the national colours (red, yellow and black – with very funky sunglasses to match!) and received a higher amount of collateral marketing on television due to the cohesiveness and branding of the team. The benefits of having had the opportunity to use the competition to grow the network continued, well beyond the winning of the award.
Even staff that left the employment of the company, continued to keep the connection on their profiles to GeoLodges and to keep in touch with each other. The continued benefits are that employees are able to make enquiries for friends and contacts on their own social media platforms to arrange bookings and bring in business for the company through the social media campaigns. The success with twitter was different in nature, due to the high cost associated with data and fewer people knowing about what the platform was about.
Lessons for others:
Involving the staff in social media campaigns is a new and important key to the company’s business performance on so many levels! There needs to be a social media policy as well that can be clearly drafted and implemented, as it well involves risk factors for a negative media campaign as well.
Submitted By: Emily Wissanji
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