Evgenia Egorova, Marketing Manager at Northern Norway Tourist Board will be joining us on stage at Content | Campus on the 30th and 31st of March in Copenhagen. Evgenia will be talking about how she has been successful in building an impressive following through Instagram, learning from experience. If you haven't done it yet, make sure you secure your place to the leading event all about Content!
Quick introduction to yourself and the work you do at Northern Norway.
I was born in USSR, studied in Russia, Finland, France and Norway. My work experience includes working in a Snow Hotel, internship in Paris, guiding at the Rock Carving Museum and a cross-border contemporary art festival.
In 2010 I joined Northern Norway Tourist Board. I worked with marketing campaigns, press and trade in Sweden, France, Asia. For the last 3 years I work more and more with digital. I would say that I work 70 % with SMM and the rest with travel trade and knowledge management.
How many people are part of the Northern Norway team and what is the main focus of your organisation?
Northern Norway represents one-third of Norway (a country that is a long one to start with). So, this is why we have 3 offices and 15 employees. We are a Tourist Board and we work mainly with marketing activities (travel trade, press, campaigns, theme projects). Our goal is to inspire people to visit Northern Norway. In recent years we work more and more with experience-based tourism, towards a new experience collection for Northern Norway. In addition to this we have several big projects: Visit Arctic Europe, Charter Fund incentive and Sami Tourism project.
How have you managed to build a following on Instagram?
Possibly not a big surprise, but it is all about a genuine interest in this channel and the time you invest to start with. My guiding line was: it is visual, we are very visual, so we had to invest time in building the visual presence on Insta. Invest time, meaning up to 5 hours per day – commenting, liking, finding the right profiles to follow, building relations with good local ambassadors. And last but not least, the time invested was to a large extent very “off the office hours”. We were there when our potential followers had a time-out time: evenings, week-ends, holidays.
How are you creating strong and engaging content suitable for Instagram?
At the beginning our experience with FB helped us a lot: we knew that panorama pictures of gorgeous Northern Norwegian landscapes, the classical spots that are beautiful in all seasons, the Northern Lights and fluffy reindeer noses will attract attention. So the trick was to find pictures in those categories that could engage, as well as learn from the others - Norwegian/Scandinavian/Nordic Insta-communities. You learn a lot just by checking what pictures they post and what response they get. And I think that variety plays a huge role: we repost pictures that are taken by National Geographic photographers, as well as by proud mums or cool track drivers. For us the most important thing is to show the real Northern Norway that inspires travel. And variety is what helps us to stay both engaging and credible.
What role does building relationships with influencers play for you? How are you building these relationships?
We are only as good as our followers. We share 99% of our content from the ohers (there are only some pictures and videos that we take ourselves). So for us, building good and personal relations is crucial. And to us, all the people who create content on Insta are influencers. Some are big and famous, others are truly inspiring, but small and some are just what Northern Norway is.
And of course, we shouldn’t forget that we are lucky to have many many and many Insta-ambassadors out there. Proud northern Norwegians, as well as happy tourists who are eager to share their pictures with us.
What techniques and Instagram approaches have worked well for you?
Variety in geography and photo motives, as well as the up-to-date focus from the day 1 played a certain role. We were not posting “from the archives” but more “right this instant” pictures. “Northern Norway right this instant” - principle worked well, before Instagram changed its algorithm. Now we are working more towards “Northern Norway right this season”. We are surfing the waves like “the returning of the sun to the North”, we are asking questions to our followers, we teaching them some Norwegian words (ski = ski / koselig = ….you have to attend my talk to find this one out ☺ Of course, we get to share videos, but I have to admit, we do not work a lot with stories..yet. as a part of our press work we get a good number of great Instagrammers visiting us – they help us with shout-outs and we get fantastic pictures to share. An ambassador project with take-overs is on its way.
What was your experience working on building up Instagram as a channel that works without having any budget to invest in the development?
We do not sell anything - we inspire people to come to Northern Norway, we tell them our stories, we share moments. So for us, the quality of followers is more important than the quantity. We feel like we hit a jackpot when we get comments like: “thanks to this account my perception of the Polar night in Northern Norway changed completely”, or when people say thank you to us, when they finally see the Northern Lights, because we inspired them to come.
What are some of the top learnings so far?
- Time, patience, passion and a pinch of creative craziness can make wonders.
- Good experiences from SoMe work can be transferred from one SoMe to another (though some are more unique to Instagram).
- “Every destination has its panda”, i.e. the pictures that has an extra wow/ likeness factor
- Humour, surprise and other positive vibes are great for engagement
- Time-out time is the time to grow following
(there are some more to mention, but hey, I have to leave something for my talk, right?)
Why should DMOs not miss your talk at the Content | Campus?
First of all, I will tell you the meaning of the word “koselig” - that is in itself a useful knowledge.
For the newbies: you will learn what to expect when you start (and where to start), practical advice and tips and tricks for engaging Instagram. I would definitely go and listen to myself when I started my Insta-journey two and half years ago☺
For advanced and mature Instagrammers: I think that no matter how much you work with this or that SoMe, there is always a room for improvement. There is always something that is so simple and obvious, but still not discovered by many. I hope I have at least a couple of those in my Insta-experience collection.
What are you looking forward to the most at the Content | Campus?
Inspiration: Presentations from other colleagues are always so inspiring! Knowledge: of course, Workshops - all of them (I should probably multiply myself).
If you want to learn more about how to succeed in social be sure to join the Social Strategy and Distribution workshop at Content | Campus. We're working closely with the Falcon team to put together a workshop which touches on key aspects of social media and helps you think about your strategy and how to succeed in social.
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