The July Tourism Currents post talks about integrating social media into the rest of your communications work. In addition to this, it seems like many businesses and CVBs need help combining their social media efforts with other marketing efforts.
Since the weather around Chicago has been in the low 90s lately, now is the perfect time to start thinking about winter campaigns. What do you usually do and how can you enhance that with social media?
As an example, my previous job, a regional DMO, used to have a “Winter Warm-ups” campaign a few years ago that offered special hotel deals from January – March. The campaign elements consisted of a printed newsletter, monthly e-newsletters, a special landing page, online ads, radio ads and a few print ads. So how do you make something like this social? Here are a few ideas:
- Create a custom Facebook tab for the campaign, especially if you have a booking engine on your page.
- Offer additional discounts or special value-added items just for your Facebook fans or twitter followers. Free wifi, if it’s not free already, is a great start! Give them a special code to use when they book the package.
- Set up searches on twitter to find people who need a winter getaway. Yes, you have to do a bit more digging than normal but you could look for parents who might want a family getaway at a hotel with an indoor pool. Whatever you do, don’t just link to a generic page. Connect them with what you believe is the best package for them. Do the work so they don’t have to.
- Upload photos to flickr (and link to them on your social networks) of the special amenities the participating hotels offer. A relaxing spa looks even better when you’re buried in snow with sub-zero temperatures.
- Run a social media contest to help build awareness for the campaign.
- If your campaign is tied to an event, consider creating a hashtag and encouraging people to share their twitpics or photos on your Facebook page.
And remember, this is only a tiny part of your complete social media strategy. Yes, a strategy is needed for social media. And not just a “we provide customer service” strategy, although that’s a great place to start. An ever-changing, always-evaluating-and-adjusting, enhancing-other-efforts SOCIAL strategy is needed. How are you making your campaigns social?