“Facebook Me.” “Tweet Me.” “Did you YouTube it?” How many of us have said those words? It wasn’t too long ago that these words didn’t exist – these days, they are a part of daily dialogue and discussion.
The social media space has forever altered the way in which we connect with family, friends and businesses. Furthermore, it has forever changed the way in which we let someone in on our everyday experiences. How many times have we found ourselves sharing photos, stories and videos of our travels or the travels of our family and friends? These photos, stories and videos allow us to visualize ourselves in those locations. They create memories. They create conversations. They engage. And I think that is the key word in all of this social media stuff – ENGAGEMENT.
Engagement establishes a relationship with the future traveler that makes their decision to come visit your destination simple. Engagement allows the traveler to be that online mouthpiece that all destination brands covet. Online engagement spreads directly to offline conversations, which all leads to increased word-of-mouth marketing. And we all know that word-of-mouth recommendations weigh heavily in the decision-making process.
If you are a CVB or DMO, I think it’s quite obvious that you need to have a presence in the social media space. Given that there are hundreds of social networking sites, many ponder “What sites should I be on?” So, here is my list of the 5 social media recommendations that the tourism community should be actively participating in (alphabetical order):
Facebook: The premiere social networking site to date. It’s a no-brainer. Be sure that you have a fan page set-up and that you don’t over-share. Keep your posts interesting and engaging.
Flickr: Flickr is a great place to stock images of your destination for sharing purposes. It is a great resource to find professional images of various attractions, events and restaurants that you can use for content-sharing purposes on your various social media sites. And a little secret too…it is also a great resource to find new imagery for marketing collateral, without the fee of professional photographers.
Podcasting: Podcasting is a great way to highlight your destinations in episodic form, which can create repeat viewers. Nothing can sell a destination like a video, so make it entertaining and informal. Here’s a tip…use a service like Tube Mogul, in which you upload your video once and push it out to over 20+ video-sharing sites.
Twitter: Twitter is a great place to see what people are saying about your destination. You have the ability to search tweets directly and respond to the conversations that are taking place. Use the search Twitter function or the hashtags to find those conversations. Here’s a tip…act as a concierge on Twitter. You don’t have to sell, just be there as a resource of information.
YouTube: YouTube is a great place to store your video library, to include commercials and promotional videos. It is also a great place for user-generated content by the people who love your destination. Be sure to set-up a specific channel for your destination.
Remember, there is no such thing as a social media guru…my thoughts are simply that, MY THOUGHTS! What works for some, doesn’t work for others. It’s all about exercise and execution.