South Carolina’s Lockdown Influencer Campaign
Travel influencers and content creators had a tough time in 2020. But there were still opportunities for destinations to work closely — from afar — with travel influencers via smart digital strategies.
Early on during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, TURNER and Discover South Carolina developed a virtual influencer campaign that highlighted recipes for one of the state’s signature dishes: pimento cheese.
What We Did
It was important to get rolling as soon as possible. On March 16, 2020, just five days after the lockdown began, Discover South Carolina and TURNER had a plan in motion. We secured four locally based influencers to make a South Carolina recipe at home and promote it on their channels, shining a light on the state’s iconic cuisine and recipe offering.
We chose Pimento Cheese, a beloved South Carolina staple, as the recipe for this campaign for its deliciousness and simplicity. It only requires three ingredients (at the time, there was a massive grocery store run/shortage on supplies), it’s easy to make, and it can be enjoyed in so many ways – on crackers, sandwiches, burgers, you name it. By highlighting an easy (but still extremely satisfying) recipe, the campaign would earn higher engagement and view-through rates.
We selected four local influencers, keeping in mind that the first phases of travel would require closer-to-home road trips. Importantly, influencers were from different parts of the state to capture a wider reach of the target audience.
Discover South Carolina sent a package to each influencer containing Duke’s Mayonnaise (because it’s made in South Carolina, of course), a jar of pimentos and a recipe card. Influencers were only responsible for purchasing cheddar cheese.
We encouraged influencers to get creative with their pimento cheese. This offered followers authenticity and personality. Some added their favorite ingredients to the mix, such as jalapenos. Others used Pimento cheese as a sandwich filling, or as a spread on a BLT.
Despite the challenging circumstances, the campaign was a success. It boosted awareness for SC as a culinary destination and inspiring future travel. In just two short weeks – ending March 31, 2020 – Discover South Carolina completed the Pimento Cheese campaign with stellar results.
Content produced included 21 Instagram stories and four static posts: two static, one carousel and one video. Each was filled with Pimento cheesy-goodness, promoting South Carolina’s cuisine.
The numbers exceeded expectations. The campaign reached 66.9k followers, received 24.7k impressions and 2,346 engagements which resulted in an engagement rate of 3.51 percent (2 percent being the industry average).