The use of social media in promotion
A National Trust case study

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Page 5: Below-the-line promotion

Below-the-line promotion uses methods over which organisations have greater control. It covers many activities, which are more easily tailored and targeted to selected and relevant audiences. These might typically include news articles and press releases, direct mail, sales promotions, exhibitions, sponsorship or events.

Wallace and Gromit

National Trust 17 Image 8In order to achieve its new strategy, the National Trust is focusing on delivering an integrated promotion campaign to send its messages to clearly defined target audiences.  For example, as 2012 is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the National Trust devised a promotion around the Wallace and Gromit characters.

An exclusive film – A Jubilee Bunt-a-thon – was created in partnership with Aardman Films and premiered at Trust events during the year. It led to Wallace and Gromit parties at Trust properties, has inspired Gromit workshops for children at its sites and helped to develop special merchandise such as Wallace and Gromit jigsaws for sale in Trust shops. This type of exclusive activity has generated considerable press coverage for the National Trust, which in itself is a key below-the-line form of promotion.

Social media

National Trust 17 Image 4The National Trust has embraced social media and new technologically-inspired below-the-line activities to increase the ‘shareability’ of its messages. This broadens the Trust’s reach beyond existing members or fans. Different parts of the National Trust use social media for marketing and promotion in different ways. For example:

  • use of Twitter helps the National Trust to engage more flexibly and informally with the public and members and both receive and capture their ideas
  • guest articles about its activities and properties on blogs show younger people what the Trust can offer them
  • Facebook updates and employee profiles help to demonstrate the Trust’s job opportunities and widen the pool of possible applicants for jobs.

Drawing on Smartphone technology, the National Trust has launched an iPhone app so that users can always have its handbook in their pocket. This provides not only listings and descriptions of all Trust gardens and properties in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, but also the ability to browse events and set favourites. Similarly, the current Facebook app showcases the range of special places it owns – from pubs to Paul McCartney’s childhood home, encouraging users to create their dream day out.

50 Things to do before you're 11and 3/4

National Trust 17 Image 9The National Trust is running a number of important campaigns which involve social media activities. ‘50 Things to do before you’re 11 and 3/4’ on the Trust’s website aims to promote the excitement of being outdoors to young people.

This campaign encourages the target audience of children aged 8-12 to take part in activities as wide-ranging as canoeing and abseiling or just climbing trees. They can collect stickers and digital badges for activities completed. The 50 Things micro-website uses avatars, games and videos to stimulate the children’s interest. To generate a longer-term response to this campaign, the Trust is asking its communities to make suggestions about other activities that should be included in the list. This effectively ‘crowd sources’ ideas for next year’s campaign so that activities will reflect members’ needs.

White Cliffs of Dover

One particularly exciting campaign is centred on the National Trust’s appeal to raise the £1.2 million it needs to buy a very special place - the last part of the White Cliffs of Dover that it does not already look after.

The Trust has created a virtual White Cliffs on its website where users can carve their names and faces on the cliffs in exchange for a donation. Supporting the website application, the Trust carried out a major direct mail and email campaign to encourage donations. This was targeted at existing Trust members and supporters as well as the general public.

Top image ©Aardman Animations Ltd 2012

Middle image ©National Trust Images/James Dobson

National Trust | The use of social media in promotion