Hoppegarten is a racecourse near Berlin, which has been putting on horse races since 1868. One might not necessarily expect it from an establishment of a almost 150 years, but in 2016 a day at the races definitely includes social media.
Recently, Hoppegarten ran (no pun intended) their hashtag marketing campaign #glueckdererde, alluding to a German proverb stating that nothing on earth could make someone happier than riding a horse.
We’ve had a chat with Malte Hoppe of Publiplikator, the agency behind Hoppegarten’s PR and social media activities.
Could you tell us a bit more about the idea behind the #glueckdererde campaign?
Our campaign was the first of its kind in the German horse racing community. The hashtag #glueckdererde is based on the well-known German saying “Das Glück der Erde liegt auf dem Rücken der Pferde” (lit. “The greatest happiness on earth can be found on the back of a horse”).
Spending time at the track offers an abundance of picturesque moments — horses, jockeys, outfits, picnics, selfies with a betting slip, etc. And, since almost everyone uses a smartphone these days, we wanted to create a space for horse racing fans to share their experiences with others.
And not just the visitors at Hoppegarten either; Racing fans from other race tracks all over Germany shared their impressions using the hashtag. Basically, our campaign targeted anyone who enjoys horse racing and social media.
What did you do to establish and promote the hashtag?
We used our existing fan base on Twitter and Facebook as a starting point and kept promoting the hashtag and our social wall there. We also did some PR and marketing so we could reach people beyond our existing network. There were ads, a press release, and we mentioned the hashtag campaign at our press conference and in our race day programme booklet. Our moderator explained the social wall to the people at the track.
It was also important to us to show our appreciation, by reacting to as many postings as possible. We wanted people to know and feel that Hoppegarten cares about their contribution.
I would have loved to add a raffle competition as well, but in the end we decided against it. It would have been too complicated because the social networks we used all have different terms and conditions.
Did you display the social wall on a screen as well?
We showed the wall at the racecourse during our season finale on October 3, 2015. We installed a 12 square metre big LED wall at the podium where we held the victory ceremony.
How did the campaign go?
The campaign was a total success. We were able to really get to know the Hoppegarten fans, and they got a chance to actively participate, create content, and connect with others.
We had 3,075 submissions using #glueckdererde. Considering the engagement rates on each social network in turn, those posts have reached 240,609 people. Walls.io worked well as a platform for our campaign. We were especially happy with the technical support we received from the Walls.io team.
We also learned a lot about our own methods. Fans readily use our established hashtags without prompting. Meanwhile, #glueckdererde was more of an experiment. Because we used a completely unknown hashtag, we had the opportunity to analyse our promotion methods more closely.
Our new seasons starts on Easter Sunday, and we’ll definitely keep including our fans, since they seem to genuinely enjoy taking an active part in co-creating content with us.