APO case study: logo

How a pitch-perfect social media approach grew an orchestra’s social following by 82%

The APO is New Zealand’s full-time professional Metropolitan orchestra, serving the country’s largest and most vibrant city with a comprehensive programme of concerts, education, and outreach activities

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra’s small social team turns up the volume with Hootsuite

As a non-profit organization, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) has an important mission: to bring beautiful music to millions of people. More than 300,000 people experience and engage with the orchestra live in the concert hall as well as throughout New Zealand and across the globe through livestreams, radio broadcasts and recordings.

With over 60 live APO events and countless community events to promote, the APO turned to Hootsuite in June 2020 to streamline its social media management and reporting processes. 

Hootsuite helped the one-person social media team refocus its time on creating great content to grow its audience. And, despite taking on the extra work of live streaming events during pandemic-related lockdowns, the APO increased its followers by 24% and made it onto Facebook's Recommended Videos list, reaching over 500,000 viewers with each livestream. 

  • 82%
    increase in followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
  • >3.3
    hours saved per week
  • 500K+
    people joining each livestream event

What they did

While social media plays an outsized role in helping the APO grow, inform, educate, and entertain its audiences, the entire social media strategy is built and managed by just one person: the APO’s digital content coordinator Robin Lane. 

Social media is just one part of Robin’s job. He’s also responsible for planning, managing, creating, and editing all digital content produced by the APO—including website management and the post-production and editing of livestreams and artists’ homemade recordings.

By adopting Hootsuite, the APO implemented a social media approach that helped it plan content in advance, save time on reporting, and focus on clever content and advertising tactics to maximize its limited budget and resources. 

Planning ahead with scheduling

Robin schedules all APO content in Hootsuite in advance, freeing up time to focus on engaging with its audience and creating amazing content. The APO schedules one post per day on its four main platforms—Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter—to ensure a consistent presence.

For some campaigns, content is scheduled up to a year in advance. One example includes a campaign to educate the APO’s audience about Kōwhaiwhai—traditional Māori motifs that tell a story. The campaign, #KowhaiwhaiFriday, shares one motif each week, explaining the meaning of the artwork alongside the corresponding Te Reo Māori translation of the instrument’s name. Since there are many different instruments in the APO, the posting schedule for #KowhaiwhaiFriday content already extends more than two years into the future.

Saving time with reporting

Before Hootsuite, Robin spent up to 40 minutes each morning pulling social media reports and manually posting content on the APO’s social media channels. He was frustrated with how often the native reporting dashboards would change and how much time he wasted pulling his data and analyzing it manually. 

Today, Robin uses Hootsuite reports to help during brainstorming sessions with the wider APO team. Examining how different content and formats perform across each platform helps the team develop ideas to improve future content. He also uses Hootsuite reports to keep his board up to date on follower growth and successful content each quarter. He shares data alongside contextual examples to showcase the success of various campaigns and demonstrate the return on investment of his efforts.

The time saved from manual scheduling and reporting adds up to over three hours per week—that’s about a month per year. Robin puts this time to good use on more impactful activities such as livestreaming projects, community initiatives, and developing other creative content.

To be successful, we needed content to be posted consistently across all the platforms. Hootsuite allowed us to do that across all four platforms saving me a huge amount of time each week. It’s like having an extra person on my team.

Robin Lane
Digital Content Coordinator
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra

Advertising on other channels to boost ROI

The APO is very creative with its social advertising budget. It proactively examines its audience data to inform experiments and uses Hootsuite integrations with Dropbox, Canva, and Reddit to access content, designs, and perform keyword searches to streamline the creation of ad content.

Facebook and Instagram are essential for connecting with the APO’s core audience. For events targeting younger demographics (like The Princess Bride in Concert), the APO uses Reddit and Snapchat ads to help drive ticket sales. 

Research conducted for Hootsuite’s Social Trends 2022 report found that consumers may actually be more receptive to advertising on these niche channels than on other social networks. Qualitative evidence collected using post-event surveys demonstrates that the strategy worked for the APO—many respondents said they heard of the concerts through these niche channels. 

By testing ads on these different social media platforms, the APO gained a better return on investment (ROI) and proved social media’s direct impact on ticket sales. 

O que vem por aí

The APO’s main goals on social media are to raise awareness of the organization and grow its follower numbers, encourage people to buy tickets to its concerts, and promote its  concerts and events.

Since adopting Hootsuite, the APO has seen a substantial increase in its follower numbers—Facebook followers alone have doubled from 11,000 to 22,000 in the past two years. The APO has also seen a satisfying increase in ticket sales for particular events as efforts to encourage audiences to come back to live events post-lockdowns have proven successful. 

The team continues to work with Hootsuite to build its strategies for the future, using Hootsuite’s digital trends data to help inform its plans. 

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