For over 40 years, the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) has connected the San Francisco Peninsula with the East Bay, providing fast, reliable transportation for residents and visitors to downtown offices, shopping centers, tourist attractions, and more.
As the main metro system for the Bay Area, they carry over 400,000 riders every weekday. Since ridership is strong and consistent during the work week, the main objective for BART’s marketing team is to increase ridership during off-peak hours. “We want to encourage people to think of BART as their mode of transit on the weekends, not just during the weekdays,” says Andrea Frainier, Senior Marketing Representative at BART.
To do so, they started a marketing initiative called BARTable. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ve likely adopted this word as part of your vernacular. As Andrea explains, “‘BARTable’ is built into the lexicon of the Bay Area. When you describe a local event, people ask, ‘Is it BARTable?’ – meaning, ’Can you take BART there?’”
On the BARTable website, they feature an events calendar, contests for riders to win tickets to local shows and articles that share everything from top vegetarian restaurants near BART to the best parks for Bay Area residents. “We’re really trying to use content marketing to encourage people to think of BART on Saturdays and Sundays,” says Andrea.
Although social media already played a key role in their marketing strategy – helping them engage with audiences while driving traffic to the BARTable website – they knew they could be doing more to tap into the social content their riders were creating.
“We’re on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram but we wanted to interact more with users, so user-generated content was a component we wanted to fully incorporate into our marketing campaigns.”
The Best UGC Platform for BART
The marketing team at BART were in search of a platform that could not only curate content from all the top social sites but also enable them to geo-tag content, create bad word filters and obtain user contact information as well as content rights.
After getting a thorough walk-through of Stackla’s platform, “everyone thought it was a powerful tool to reach users with eye-catching content displays.”
“We decided on Stackla because it was intuitive, easy to use and had all the features we were looking for.”
Once they chose Stackla, they got up and running quickly. “Stackla has one of the more comprehensive and user-friendly onboarding processes I’ve experienced. They were accommodating of our schedules and it wasn’t very overwhelming.”
“I also find it very comforting to have ongoing follow-up from our customer success manager,” Andrea added. “Whether by phone or email, they consistently check in with me every few weeks to make sure everything is running smoothly.”
Decking the #BARTableHoliday Halls with UGC
In November, BART launched their annual #BARTableHolidays campaign, encouraging people to ride BART to their holiday shopping destinations for a chance to win a $500 or $250 gift card to a mall off one of their metro lines.
To be entered into the sweepstakes, riders had to share a photo of their shopping adventure on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter using the hashtag #BARTableholidays and identify where they had taken the BART.
As riders shared everything from BART selfies and shopping bags to store window displays and local holiday events, BART’s marketing team used Stackla to dynamically display all the best images on their campaign landing page.
In addition to showcasing #BARTableHoliday content on their website, they also featured riders’ holiday photos in their email newsletters.
BART had already started using Stackla to successfully enhance their regular email newsletters with UGC, so they knew adding this element of visual inspiration would serve as a great way to grow campaign awareness and engagement.
“It’s exciting to see lots of people clicking on the social content we’ve been able to incorporate into our email newsletters using Stackla,” Andrea said. “It reinforces for us just how important user-generated content has become.”
BARTable UGC Delivers Results Across Core Channels
By the end of their month-long #BARTableHoliday campaign, riders had shared 366 pieces of visual content using the campaign hashtag. But beyond getting people to share their holiday transit experiences, BART’s UGC-powered campaign significantly improved their email click-through rates, social media followings and website pageviews.
”During our holiday campaign, we saw a big increase in click-through rates, social media followers and pageviews on our website.”
“Last year we did a similar campaign offering similar prizes, but it wasn’t built out with the UGC landing page.” Andrea said, “From last year to this year’s campaign we saw a 41 percent increase in web sessions and a 61 percent increase in users. We drove a whole bunch of new people to our website, which was really exciting to see.”
In fact, all of BART’s key web campaign metrics improved by double digits year-over-year:
- 41% increase in web sessions
- 61% lift in users
- 60% boost in pageviews
- 13% growth in pages per session
Not to mention the 5.5 percent growth in Instagram followers and 3.5 percent increase in Facebook followers month-over-month, as well as a 7 percent increase in email click-through rates.Using UGC throughout their #BARTableHolidays campaign @SFBART lifted pageviews by 60% & email CTRs by 7%Click To Tweet
“I like using Stackla because it’s an easy way to promote social content on our website and newsletters without spending a ton of hours creating or curating it,” Andrea said. “Stackla absolutely helps me save time and get an accurate pulse of what’s going on in our trains, stations and surrounding metro area. The content is there and it’s always fresh, new and eye-catching for our users.”
Going forward, BART is looking to replicate the success of their #BARTableHolidays campaign by developing similar initiatives for the spring and summer of 2018.
In the meantime, you can explore all #sfbartable activity in real-time by visiting their bartable.bart.gov site. If you’re a Bay Area resident, you might even discover something new about the city by the bay.
To learn more about how Stackla can help your brand attract, engage and convert audiences, fill out the request demo form below.