Leveraging the Power of Sports and Communities - How Rugby for Life Organically Reached 82,000 Northlanders from a Base of Only 700 Facebook Followers, in Less than 4 Months

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Project Start


Deliverables:

September 2021 - December 2021

Create

Website Branding

Social Media Branding

Social Media Strategy

Communication Strategy

Build

Social Media Accounts for Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and LinkedIn

Facebook Ad Manager

Daily Content Calendar

Interactive Website Map

Market

Organic and Paid Social Media

Analyse

Social Media Insights & Reports

In the Beginning

Rugby For Life is a Northland-based Charitable Trust who, through a partnership with Northland Rugby Union and funding by local Northlanders and businesses, exists to lead social and economic change for Northland through rugby and its rugby community.

Fastrack Digital connected with Rugby For Life to build their Communications Framework & Strategy and drive that through a new Website that would become the central hub for RFL. This was to set-up for the future growth and transformation of the organisation to a central ecosystem for community engagement.

The first stage included a Communication Strategy workshop with RFL board members and key stakeholders. The workshop allowed us to identify the different audience segments, and the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities in the current communications. Fastrack Digital was then able to create an effective framework that was stress-tested sooner than expected as it became the foundation for the social media implementation for Take 2 For The Team programme.

In September 2021, in response to the Northland region’s COVID-19 vaccination challenge, Rugby For Life created the #Take2ForTheTeam initiative through teaming up with local Māori Health Providers (MHP) and local sporting and community clubs to enable vaccination access to all corners of Northland. The local clubs received $10 for each vaccination (jab) administered through the participating club event or supported event when nominated by the receiver of the jab.

Our Communication Strategy was then put into motion. The work had begun.

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The Challenge

Rugby For Life faced some challenges to ensure effective and efficient implementation of the Take 2 For The Team Communication strategy, and optimising the use of social media to reach deep into to the community.

The goal for the Take 2 For The Team program was to provide the tools and support for clubs to communicate, engage and inspire their communities to take action.

In the Northland region, access to digital devices/internet is less than the national average of 5-6% at about 80% of the population so there was a steep mountain to climb.

So, where do we begin?

How We Helped

Social media became an integral part of Rugby For Life’s online expansion of the Take 2 For The Team Initiative.

Based on the Communication Strategy, the Fastrack team carefully selected four main social media platforms - Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin, and Tiktok. Each platform is designed to target specific audience segments with Facebook providing the biggest channel reach.

The next step was to perform a full social media technical setup including creating new Instagram, Linkedin, and Tiktok accounts, setting up FB Business Manager, Ad Manager, Billing Payment, and Facebook Pixel Installation for accurate tracking and retargeting purposes.

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A different branding

In September 2021, we upgraded the platform for the official website, Take 2 For The Team, to Silverstripe CMS as part of the first step of the program introduction. Rugby for Life needed the Take 2 For The Team initiative to have a sub-brand using the Northland Cambridge Blue colour.

Our design team designed a branding strategy and hierarchy and created the collateral assets required, including website banners, videos, and social media post templates and flyers.

With a large Māori population in Northland, we included bilingual slogans in English and Te Reo Māori in all of Take 2 For The Team posters to effectively communicate and resonate with the targeted audience.

The official brand slogan - “Get the jab and earn cash for your club!” and “Protect yourself, your whānau, and the Northland community today” - became the core message for our social media campaigns.

A four-phase social media campaign for Take 2 For The Team

With the new community-led program introduced on Rugby For Life’s page, it was essential for us to start, maintain, and wrap up the initiative through a cohesive content strategy. The program was broken into four phases:

Awareness - This first phase was to introduce the program through a series of Take 2 For The Team announcement posts and Local Heroes videos, which included Northland Rugby Union team players, to inspire and encourage people to get vaccinated and earn incentives for their sporting clubs. We incorporated the hashtag #Take2ForTheTeam to build community engagement and grow User Generated Content (UGC).

Engagement - The second phase was to get people to take action through viewing Club Vaccination Event flyers, and using the interactive map on the website to find the nearest vaccination location.

Local Heroes - In order to create a sense of urgency in the community and to further boost the vaccination rate, the third phase highlighted a more shocking and relatable series of Local Hero stories including vaccine-hesitant individuals and COVID-19 survivors.

Exit - The last phase showcased short positive stories, or inspiring quotes from MHP nurses, event volunteers, event coordinators, and more. The goal was to showcase the warm side of true community spirit, compassion, and how the money is being used in the region. This approach aimed to deliver a smooth transition to wrapping up the program and repositioning the brand of Rugby For Life back to its core purpose.

At the heart of all successful social media marketing is one thing – great storytelling - to bring people in as quickly as you can - and hold them.

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72, 098 Total Video Views

Throughout the content strategy, Fastrack has incorporated promoting a series of Local Hero videos, including community leaders and sport club members/athletes, to resonate with Northlanders and build awareness and engagement with the initiative.

As the program came towards the end, the video messaging evolved to tell more direct and impactful stories of vaccine-hesitant individuals and COVID-19 survivors. Experiences that are shocking, heartwarming, relatable, or unusual helped people not only remember to Take 2 For The Team but also prompted them to take action and share it with others.

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Transforming into a central hub of vaccination event update through daily content calendar and paid social strategy

With the vaccine rollout events happening across Northland, Fastrack created a content strategy that helped all Take 2 For The Team events to gain the most online exposure possible.

For Special #take2fortheteam Vaccination Events hosted by participating sporting clubs, Fastrack set up boosted ads spend per major events post with a - 7 days to go, 3 days to go, 1 day to go, and a wrap-up content. The boosted ad strategy also focuses on the geolocation targeting for each event.

With the daily content rollout, the program requires a bulk scheduling strategy up to 2 weeks in advance. We introduced the social media aggregator Loomly to assist our team with releasing content on multiple

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What We've Achieved

With 145,000 digitally-enabled Northlanders over the age of 12 that use either a computer or mobile device, we achieved a total reach of 578,946 users across the campaign, which indicates that our content appeared on average 3.5 times in front of all user’s within their newsfeed.

But the real achievement was the 81,895 users we reached organically as our engagement grew and Northlanders joined Rugby For Life on the journey. This achievement shows the effectiveness of our overall communications strategy, with our key messaging and storytelling resonating heavily with our target audience. The evolution of the messaging also helped to keep the topics light, fresh, and on point for our audience, we evolved as the need of the audience evolved.

Overall Take 2 For The Team was a huge success for Rugby For Life, delivering over 10,000 jabs to the Northland community and providing over $100,000 of additional funding to 60 sports clubs and community groups that were involved in the program.

Due to the success of the communication strategy and of the program, Rugby For Life has quickly cemented a place in the Northland community eco structure and enhanced its reputation for program delivery and outcomes.

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What Rugby For Life Say

“We have developed an excellent partnership with Fastrack Digital as our full-service digital agency and are constantly impressed by their deep understanding and interpretation of RFL's complicated community ecosystem. With Take 2 For the Team, Fastrack Digital has helped us leverage the power of social media to engage with hard-to-reach communities, deliver the message, and drive the program to the regions through strong creative, a clear communication strategy that is constantly evolving and targeted social media engagement with the community, while keeping 60 clubs and 8 Māori Health Providers engaged in the program.”
Riki Kinnaird, Rugby For Life

About Rugby For Life

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