Chris Reed
Nov 21, 2013

Australia’s Margaret River Gourmet Escape leaves social media famished

Margaret River in Western Australia is holding its annual Gourmet Escape event this weekend. The organisation is using UK celebrity chefs to engage the public, but its social-media strategy lacks any real impact or engaging content.

Australia’s Margaret River Gourmet Escape leaves social media famished

Having just returned from Margaret River I can certainly recommend it to you for amazing wines, great food and scenery. I can’t recommend the people who did the marketing for their big annual event, Gourmet Escapes, though. They seem to have been born BSM—before social media.

The Gourmet Village (as it is also called Escape, Village, what’s in a name?) is a massive festival celebrating the best of Margaret River’s food and wine. They have lined up dozens of celebrity chefs from around Asia and the UK. Leading the charge is mega celebrity chef Heston Blumenthal and TV chef Rock Stein along with Sat Bains all from the UK.

There are also plenty of well know chefs from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and South Africa. There are even a few wine experts and writers from Singapore which I can only assume is ironic. (Wine in Singapore is 10x the price of wine anywhere else on the planet because of the massive duties imposed. Generally only expats drink it.)

Given this great content where all these celebrities will be hosting various events you would expect the social media marketing to be full of great interviews, snippets, video, creative angles, how to get involved ideas and general customer engagement plus promotions and competitions. You would be wrong.

The event does have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest accounts, but none of these are marketed on any of the marketing literature that I picked up in the vineyards or saw on posters in Margaret River with only a week to go to the event.  Did someone not check or was it acceptable to just create social media platforms but expect them to be magically marketed by themselves?

So how are you supposed to know about these social platforms unless you visit the website and search the buttons and click on them? Certainly not by Google as any number of words that describe the event produce none of the social media platforms that they are on, only the official site. Seems like whoever is managing their social media platforms needs to get their SEO sorted out.

Not that there is any great content when you reach these platforms. There is little engagement because there is nothing to share. Very few links and calls to action, boring photos and no videos/Vines—nothing to really get excited about. The last video content uploaded on the official YouTube channel is actually a shocking three months ago. Have they not heard that social media needs daily updates of content for the best engagement? What’s to share if there is no compelling content?

All these great celebrity chefs have some fantastic content but none of it is coming through on their event’s social media platforms. This combined with the poor marketing could explain the very poor levels of engagement on any of the platforms, basically it is a ghost town of social engagement.

With only days to go and bearing in mind this is an annual event and has been marketed hard for months these are their current engagement figures:

Facebook: 2,372 followers

Twitter: 857 followers

YouTube: 8 subscribers

Instagram: 365 followers

Pinterest: 138 followers

Pretty shocking results from an event this size which is expected to attract tens of thousands on top of the usual tens of thousands who come to Margaret River anyway each weekend. The above looks like the marketing people and organisers are following and that’s about it.

The event organisers clearly can’t handle this many social media platforms so why bother trying? They are merely using the same content for all platforms so nothing is original and they have no video content so speak of that is recent (i.e. last 3 months) which for such a visual event is appalling content engagement and a real missed opportunity.

The sponsors haven’t really helped on the social engagement side of things. Singapore Airlines for example have mentioned it once on their facbook back on 7 November and that was it. No call to action special fares, no promotions, no competitions, no chef content not event the Singapore wine celebs are mentioned or used in prizes for example.

Why be a sponsor if you’re not going to use the content to drive sales and create awareness for your routes to Perth from Singapore for example? Where’s their customer engagement?

Title sponsor Siemens is even worse, it has nothing on its Australian social media platforms. 

Breville, who are not only a sponsor of the event but of Heston Blumenthal too is even worse by comparison as it too has absolutely nothing on its Australia facebook page about the event or include any content. They have no excuse as they have access to the main man of the event itself.

It’s a wonder anyone knows about this event given the virtually zero levels of social media awareness and content engagement. Some people just don’t know when they have great content and what they could do with it. Such a series of missed opportunities from every brand involved.

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