In November 2019, I visited Universal Orlando Resort for the first time. On my first trip, I visited mostly to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, but I quickly became fascinated and enamored by everything else. Universal Orlando Resort is full of so much magic! I truly believe that something there for everyone to enjoy in the parks. Whether it’s the history of Universal Studios Florida, the stories in each section at Islands of Adventure, the lovely on-site hotels, or the food throughout the parks, there’s so much to see and do!
After my first trip to Universal, I spent a lot of time researching more about the theme park and diving into communities to learn more about how to make my next trip even better. I've learned a lot since then from theme park bloggers/vloggers, Facebook groups, and travel forums/companies. Inspired by other theme park content creators, I made my own Instagram page to share my favorite snapshots from Universal Orlando.
What I didn't realize when I launched my Instagram account in January 2021 is that I would learn a lot about social media marketing. Recently, I spent some time reflecting how a theme park blog that I started purely for fun as a digital diary helped me grow professionally as a digital marketer. Since I launched @UniversallyFun, I’ve learned so much about marketing! Here are 4 major lessons:
1. Consistency Is Key
You've probably heard it a thousand times: consistency is crucial on social media. However, consistency doesn’t mean posting every single day. Find a posting schedule that works for you and stick to it. Whether it’s posting 3 times a week on set days, or posting 3 times on diffeeenr days each week, test different pairing schedules that align with your schedule.
Consistency also comes from the type of content and kinds of posts you share. Find a niche and appeal to your audience with it. I recommend creating 3-5 content pillars to help plan your content with intention. For example, three of my content pillars include roller coasters, food/drinks, and Wizarding World stuff. Content pillars will look different for every industry—and especially every brand.
2. Build A Community
Don’t just promote your services or sell products. Post behind the scenes content or share tips for your industry. This makes your brand relatable and builds an honest connection. Remember: people connect with and buy from other people not brands!!
With my theme park account, I do this by building genuine connections with other theme park bloggers. I comment on their photos/videos; I share their posts to my story to show how much I like it while also introducing their content to my followers. I create gamed on my Instagram stories where my followers can choose “this or that” to vote for their favorite rides, food/drinks, etc. I also host a photo challenge and encourage others to share their favorite photos/videos from the parks.
3. Give As Much As You Get
If you expect people to engage with your account, you have to do the same. Follow accounts in your niche and comment meaningfully on their posts. This fosters genuine relationships, which will help grow your following, customer base, and brand.
Host Instagram Lives with other creators, brands, or businesses in your niche. Personally, I think this shows that you care about your industry or community. If you can demonstrate that you're dedicated to helping your community and target audience grow, that will make a huge positive impact.
4. Test Different Content
Post different types of content (reels vs lives) each week instead of just photos. Post at different times on different days to see what your audience engages with the most. Engagement can change every day, week, or month so it’s important to adapt and test often! With @UniversallyFun, I've experimented so much and I firmly believe that you should always set aside time to review.
For example, I've learned what times to post on different days to garner greater engagement. From my research, I've determined what hashtags work will best for my brand and my niche. I strongly encourage taking time to review your metrics as well as your overall goals. This will help you evaluate how to test content moving forward. Remember: don't only focus on improving what's not doing well. Sometimes the areas that you're already succeeding at can still be improved and become even better.
Little did I know how much a theme park blog started from scratch would help me grow as a content strategist and fuel my passions as a marketing specialist. Posting my favorite snapshots from my happy place has been so much fun! To be quite honest, I think that's the biggest lesson anyone can learn. If you're afraid to take a chance and try something new, you'll never know what you're capable of or what you'll learn. When I first launched my theme park Instagram, I never would've guessed it helped me grow the way it has or that I'd have so much fun.
When I stopped worrying if my content was pretty enough, if people would follow or like my content, that's when I learned the most. That's when I was able to have the most fun. By having fun, I've been able to grow my Instagram account and build a community, which I believe is a fundamental part of social media marketing. I hope you take a chance on whatever you're dreaming of and just do it. You'll never know what you're capable of until you try!