Creating preference is one of the biggest challenges in marketing, and social media is currently the most effective channel to engage with consumers in emerging economies, such as Brazil and China.

Social media is the most accessible channel for reach, connection, and engagement, globally. Social media builds sustainable relationships, with long-term value. When influencers or key opinion leaders (KOLs) are added to the mix then reach can be expanded, building awareness across multiple networks and channels.

Conversa identified social networking as an ideal way to build awareness and preference for New Zealand as a study abroad destination by utilising the networks, channels and social marketing skills of admired and well-connected social media personalities.

In 2014 Conversa brought Brazilian bloggers Caio Komatsu, editor of Fail Wars, and his partner Luana Mazotti, editor of Puro Veneno, to New Zealand for a study tour. This tour followed in the successful steps of celebrity blogger Cid Não Salvo’s visit in 2012, and the 2013 tour by entertainment media doyens Jovem Nerd.

Whilst ‘discovering’ New Zealand was the requisite for the tours the intention was also to build brand champions for New Zealand; advocates with whom we could have long-term engagement. Far from being one-off actions Conversa saw the opportunity to build sustainable relationships beneficial to the New Zealand international education and tourism sectors.

Social networking is about building relationships in the social space, but like any relationship it takes time for a ‘friendship’ to bloom. Brazil is culturally primed for such online impact because, generally speaking, Brazilians are an extraordinarily social people.

Brazilians are arguably the most hyper-social people on the internet. They spend twice as much time using social media as the global average, spend more time online than watching television, and more time on social media than email, web browsers or video sharing. Half of Brazil’s internet population is under 30, and almost all use social media. Brazil is second only to the US in its use of Facebook and Twitter.

The influence of the Brazilian blogosphere is significant, and the Conversa KOL tours have been significantly rewarding for New Zealand in terms of building awareness.

Cid Não Salvo, our first guest, has 27 million fans, and is regarded as one of the most influential people in Brazil. He regularly tweets on his New Zealand experience, and the products from his tour continue to resonate – his blog page views are in excess of 2 million and there have been 33,000 views of the tour videos.

Jovem Nerd, averages 11 million page views a month from 3 million unique visitors across their channels. The Nerd Office videos average 300,000 views per episode (37 million views to date), and the Nerdcast (podcast) averages 300,000 downloads per episode. The products of the 2013 Nerd Tour are tracking upwards by the week. Sixteen months after the tour video views are now at 1.4 million and the tour podcast has been downloaded over 700,000 times.

The Fail Wars and Puro Veneno channels have over 6 million page views per month. The metrics from the 2014 Study Tour with the Fail Wars and Puro Veneno bloggers are currently being collated.

KOLs are powerful advocates in the social networking era and experiential tours are a robust medium to activate decision-makers. Building preference requires a positive experience of place. An experience that is freely transmitted thereby encouraging others to want to share and visit.

Discovering a country is the first step in building awareness. Awareness grows preference. It is when preference tips-over that conversion happens, and flow begins.

Conversa is a division of Rare HQ Ltd.

Jan Bierman

Author Jan Bierman

Jan is our business strategist, with over 20 years consulting in the commercial and public sectors. She specialises in guiding individuals and organisations on the critical success factors that drive innovation adoption, from ideation through to implementation.

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