Summit client Union Station is bringing the Emerald City back to the land of Oz.
We’ve heard the term “viral gold” when it comes to web content that spreads like crazy.
But viral emerald?
That phrase could very easily describe the attention our client Union Station has been getting the past two weeks.
For those not familiar, Union Station is a 100-year-old train station that has, in recent years, reinvented itself under visionary new leadership into a destination for tourists and local families drawn to attractions like the KC Rail Experience, the Science of Rock ‘n Roll exhibit, Science City, and big events like Maker Faire. Civic initiatives like the Digital Sandbox and Launch KC have also brought in new, previously untapped crowds: local tech entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Keeping up with this atmosphere of innovation, in recent months Summit has helped Union Station revisit and revamp its digital and social efforts to drive engagement around its cycle of unique and inventive attractions and offerings.
The latest event we’ve helped to successfully promote lands not too far from our shared Kansas heritage.
Our most recent social-digital work has been geared toward a bigger push to drive awareness and attendance at Union Station’s newly renovated Regnier Extreme Screen Theatre.
An IMAX-like 80′x53′-screen with high-tech digital 3D projection, the Extreme Screen is opening this week with showings of Disney’s new 3D movie Oz The Great and Powerful.
A 3D movie in a train station, you say? It’s all a part of the new Union Station. And audiences are catching on — just like they did 64 years ago, when the original Oz changed cinematic history.
But this time, the methods are different.
Over the past week in particular, we’ve worked to leverage Union Station’s social and digital tools to harness the energy online, connect it to local events, and ultimately drive ticket sales — all on a quick-turnaround timeframe.
Glinda was a hit with Facebook fans.
1. Facebook Ticket Giveaway
First, a week out from the opening, Summit helped Union Station conduct a ticket giveaway on Facebook that did more than generate likes.
Because of Facebook’s strict promotional guidelines, we had to be careful about asking fans to enter directly via Facebook. Instead, we created excitement by posting an image from Oz tied to an enticing message about a giveaway the next day.
This image of Glinda the Good Witch (Michelle Williams) got nearly 800 likes, more than 60 shares, and was viewed by an audience of 13,812 — just over Union Station’s 13,000+ fanbase. Then, with awareness at a high, we posted another image the next day with instructions to enter via a third-party platform.
The result: In addition to reaching more than 22,000 users, Union Station collected 440 entries, with 287 people (65%) opting to receive future emails.
After all, getting likes is great, but the real value of a Facebook promotion must transcend intra-network virality — in this case, by growing Union Statin’s email subscription list.
All of this buzz was driven organically, by the way, without paying a cent toward ads or paid post promotion. (It’s also worth noting that it took place while a record snowstorm effectively shut down the city, forcing everyone involved to work from home.)
2. Emerald City
As we got closer to the movie premiere, Union Station reached even more people in a faster period of time.
On the day before a sneak preview, we posted a breathtaking Facebook album featuring professionally shot photos of the building lit up green in celebration of Oz.
Union Station's green turn was fit to be shared on Facebook.
Not only did the album itself rack up shares and likes by the hundreds over the ensuing evening hours, individual photos within the album also drew buzz.
Without spouting too many stats here, this single content maneuver engaged 3,116 users, or about 23% of Union Station’s fanbase. In a time when Facebook allows business pages to reach only 1-2% of their fans with any given post, this is a triumph. And thanks to some paid ad support, this number will only grow.
Additionally, every photo includes a trackable bit.ly link to buy tickets at the box office — because, as any good marketer knows, that’s where the real action takes place.
Not including the time spent setting up the lights and taking the photos, this entire mini-campaign required only a few hours’ work and yielded great ROI.
Click to check out Union Station's new homepage
3. A New Look
Last but definitely not least in the grand scheme, Summit launched a brand new look for Union Station’s homepage at unionstation.org.
Not unlike the social media surges that came before it, this entire reskin was also completed in a matter of days, from final design tweaks to go-live.
The new homepage skin also prominently features Oz and the Extreme Screen, so that when Facebook fans land on the website, their excitement is greeted and amplified by Union Station’s fresh and dynamic branding.
Though box office data will ultimately determine the impact of these campaigns, it’s been rewarding to work with such an imaginative and bold partner in Union Station, giving followers some fun and engaging viral gems to share with their friends.
Authored by Jason Harper – Manager, Interactive Strategy at Summit Marketing. Connect with us @SummitSocial.