WELCOME TO PIEROGI FEST, WE’RE REALLY GLAD YOU CAME.
If there is one thing I always, always talk about when meeting new people, it’s Pierogi Fest®. Taking place in my hometown of Whiting, Indiana, Pierogi Fest® draws around a quarter of a million people at the end of each July as it celebrates Eastern European food and culture with a wacky, familial twist. Pierogi Fest® is organized by the Whiting-Robertsdale Chamber of Commerce, a non-profit organization in Whiting that helps promote and engage local businesses.
When I began working on the festival in 2016, its presence in the digital landscape was almost non existent. It had a website and Facebook page that was updated sparingly, but it was not built to evolve in the new online world and neither housed necessary informational content. There was no presence on Instagram or Twitter, two mediums that the fest desperately needed to break into. I proposed the formation of the Pierogi Fest® Digital Experience Team, which encompasses both web and social media efforts.
FAST FORWARD TO 2019, AS PIEROGI FEST CELEBRATES ITS 25TH ANNIVERSARY.
Going into #PierogiFest25, its digital presence is drastically different than it was when I started the Digital Experience team in 2016. Since its start, we’ve had some hiccups and learned a lot. We started with an app and and had proven success with our methods. That first year, Pierogi Fest had just over 13,000 followers on Facebook and now, it’s grown to a community of over 20,000 as we head into the 25th. Our mobile-first website received 157K unique visitors last year, with the top two traffic sources coming from search and social.
THE EVOLUTION OF A WACKY, WONDERFUL BRAND
The original native app and coinciding social media marketing materials had a cohesive style, but it was just that: a style. It lacked a solid brand. The overarching Pierogi Fest® dancing pierogi logo was there, but digitally, there didn’t seem to be cross platform connection. The style created was a nod to the festival signage that’s been used for over 20 years, but that was the only real connection this style had to the fest. Eventually, I started tying in this signage to the site in subtle ways, so its roots in the old, painted signage still came through.
BUSCIA SAYS MAKE IT MORE SOCIAL
Pierogi Fest® initially only had a Facebook page when I started this project, so the first step to creating a more robust social media presence was to get the fest on both Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. After that, I created a content calendar to write and schedule posts and organize visual elements such as photos, videos, gifs, marketing materials and geofilters. Additionally, I put together and managed a team of six people who worked the three days of the fest round the clock gathering and editing content, covering entertainment events on Snapchat and Instagram and managing the online social community.
In 2016, Pierogi Fest had 12.3K likes on Facebook. Now in 2019, our community has grown exponentially:
20,422 Facebook Likes
1,460 Instagram Followers
1,056 Twitter Followers
216,500 Snapchat Filter Views
Even more so, page and post platform insights show proven growth, during the month of the festival and also high, steady numbers throughout the year*:
JULY 2018 INSIGHTS
72 Total Posts
35,984 Total Organic Engagements
555,200 Total Organic Impressions
360,569 Total Organic Reach
13.64% Avg Engagement Rate
40 Total Posts
3,379 Total Organic Engagements
45,294 Total Organic Impressions
32,185 Total Organic Reach
7.5% Engagement Rate on Posts
MARCH 2019 INSIGHTS
21 Total Posts
3,491 Total Organic Engagements
136,800 Total Organic Impressions
72,100 Total Organic Reach
4.8% Engagement Rate on Posts
17 Total Posts
891 Total Organic Engagements
15,731 Total Organic Impressions
11,326 Total Organic Reach
5.7% Engagement Rate on Posts
*Please note: During the year, Pierogi Fest doesn’t post as often, therefore rates are lower than during the month leading up to the festival.
*Please note that during the 25th Anniversary Festival in 2019, both cellular and WiFi connections were extremely slow, and at one point we did not have a connection for almost five hours. I believe that the 50/50 KPI results for Instagram for 2018 vs. 2019 are a direct result of having an inconsistent internet connection.
Follow @PierogiFest on Instagram:
ALL THE THINGS
As part of my role for Pierogi Fest, I also create a variety of different marketing materials, from digital banners and social media graphics, to billboards and traditional print ads. Check them out below:
The Pierogi Fest digital campaign in 2018 earned over 1.1 million impressions.
SPONSORED FACEBOOK POSTS
The paid facebook campaign earned over 750,000 impressions, and gave us 804 new page likes and 16.4K clicks.
Our digital outdoor campaign received 1 million impressions.
*If you’re looking really closely, you might see my familiar face on this page’s banner image! Wondering why? I’ve been dancing in the wacky Polka Parade since 2002, first with my Girl Scout troop, then once I got older I started polkaing down 119th Street with the Dance Connection, the dance studio where my mom taught ballet and pointe for over 20 years!