Situation: The Texas General Land Office, the City of San Antonio and the private Alamo Endowment signed a Cooperative Agreement in October 2015 to develop and implement a new master plan for the Alamo and surrounding area. The Alamo Endowment hired The DeBerry Group to manage public relations and communications for the Alamo master plan. The agencies hired Preservation Design Partnership (PDP) in March 2016 to serve as master planner and, in late June, we formally introduced PDP to the community with the launch of the public campaign, Reimagine the Alamo. It was designed to engage the public, solicit feedback and share information about the master planning process as it progressed. That campaign included a logo, website and social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to maximize exposure and reach Alamo enthusiasts around the globe.
Strategy: To introduce Reimagine the Alamo to the world and to increase online engagement, The DeBerry Group developed a strategic social media communications plan that would capitalize on master plan activities including an archaeological dig in Alamo Plaza and a series of public meetings. To build a base of awareness of the various social media assets, we started with a Facebook fan acquisition campaign that targeted people who liked other Alamo organizations or followed The Alamo or Texas General Land Office. This effort extended well beyond San Antonio into other major markets in Texas, and developed a national and international halo effect.
Next, we used Facebook Live to broadcast 19 archaeology public media briefings that attracted an enormous, completely organic, following in Texas, across the United States, and even around the world. We repurposed the live sessions for the campaign’s YouTube page and directed users to the website to register for an email newsletter. We built on the momentum of the archaeology briefings to promote our first public meeting, which we also broadcasted via Facebook Live.
In each of the 19 Facebook Live daily briefings, we invited a member of the Alamo archaeology team to talk about their work. During each briefing, we invited the public and media to ask questions of the archaeologists and we also asked real-time questions as we received them through the live broadcast to help create an interactive, engaging and transparent experience. We teased and promoted unique discoveries in advance to build the Facebook Live audience and overall interest in special announcements. After the briefings concluded, we continued to share developments of the Alamo master plan.
Impact: We measured our success not only by the growth and reach of our social media channels, and the engagement of our audience. Aside from the initial fan acquisition and four promoted posts, all of our social media activity was organic and that is what made this social media program unique. In just two months, we attracted 3,500 Facebook fans, 267 followers on Twitter, 29 YouTube subscribers and 1,000 organic email subscribers. We managed all content creation and community engagement for the campaign channels and leveraged key stakeholders to grow our digital following.
The results exceeded expectations. The public meeting announcement generated more than 4,000 reactions, comments and shares. When archaeologists discussed their discovery of a Mexican sword tip, our audience responded with 2,500 reactions, comments and shares. Our very first archaeology briefing received more than 1,300 organic reactions, comments and shares. In addition to the enthusiasm, we realized from our social media audiences, we also caught the attention of regional and national media, and were featured on FoxNews.com, which tweeted updates to their 10+ million followers on multiple occasions.