Social Media Best Practices on #tourismchat

Our February 23 #tourismchat focused on Social Media Best Practices and covered many platforms. Here are some highlights:

Twitter: What tools do you use? Any time-saving tips?

  • ELearningU TweetDeck, Hootsuite. Twellow is a great tool to find locals (LOVE Twellowhood)
  • Joe_ExpCols Google Reader for content, Sprout Social for monitoring. Google Analytics all day every day.
  • emilyforsha I’m a Tweetdeck girl, but use Hootsuite app for mobile. Love Google Reader to find content.

Facebook: What posts get the best interactions? How frequently do you post?

  • HeidiTown best interaction when you ask people their opinion. People love to share about themselves!
  • TourismCurrents Facebook posting. Photos, especially of food, do well. Love to send ’em from phone. Post 1-2/day, incl. weekends.
  • pagetx Any time I post food photos, my engagement goes through the roof. Fill in the blank works well too.

Flickr: Photostream and/or group? How much time do you spend per month here?…

Twitter Tools: TweetsBetween and TweepsMap

I’ve recently discovered two Twitter tools that are great for twitter reporting and analysis. The first site, TweetsBetween, displays the tweets posted between two Twitter users. It’s super easy to use and is great if you need a screen shot of a Twitter conversation for a report. The only downfall is that it can only…

CVBs on Pinterest

Pinterest has quickly become one of the fastest growing social networks to date. With over 10 million users, this network should be considered as part of an organization’s social strategy. Want more stats? Check out this Pinterest infographic from Mashable or these demographics.

If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, it’s a virtual pinboard for organizing and collecting photos and videos. I’m not going to go in-depth about how to use Pinterest as Mashable put together a nice Beginner’s Guide and there’s also this massive post with instructions, tips and more demographics.

The facts behind CVBs and destinations on Pinterest

Through my research, I found 34 US destinations and 3 International destinations (Croatia, Cuba [does not appear to be the official DMO] and Jordan) with Pinterest accounts. The following comments and stats will only reflect US destinations and are current as of February 21.

There are a total of 5,013 pins and 390 boards from these 34 US destinations. These accounts have “liked” 764 pins and have a combined following of 14,970 followers.


Savannah has the highest number of pins (751), followed by Columbus (426), Arkansas (354), Monterey (334) and Lake County, IL (306). There are 16 DMOs that have over 100 pins on their account and 18 DMOs with less than 100 pins. My personal opinion is that an account should have at least 300 pins to be taken as a serious Pinterest user.


For number of boards, Arkansas takes the lead with 33 boards. Behind them are Monterey and Kissimmee, each with 19 boards, and Phoenix and Fargo-Moorhead, each with 18 boards. There are 14 DMOs with 10-17 boards each and 15 DMOs with less than 10 boards each.

As I was researching, I saw many half-filled boards but did not explore the average number of pins each DMO had on their boards. I think each board should have at least 30 pins in order to be useful to Pinterest users.


Not all DMOs are “liking” pins on Pinterest. This action is not as strong as a repin but is still an easy way to engage with other Pinterest users. There are three DMOs with over 100 likes: Ohio (198), Monterey (178) and Savannah (140). Mesa is the next closest with 86 likes but the majority of the remaining DMOs have less than 10 likes each. In fact, 13 DMOs have 0 likes.


Visit Savannah has an astounding 12,114 followers alone, leaving a combined total of 2,856 followers among the other 33 destinations. Don’t think that this means there’s an average of 86 followers per destination. There are 5 DMOs with more than 200 followers: Savannah, Wyoming, Corvallis, Indiana and Columbus.

There are 17 DMOs with less than 50 followers each. Most of these accounts are newer to Pinterest. 5 of these 17 DMOs have more than 100 pins each so even though they’re new, they’re very active.

The mother of all Pinterest boards (for the tourism industry)

If you’re as addicted to Pinterest as I am, take a moment and follow some of these DMOs. I’ve created this CVBs on Pinterest board to help. Each pin links to the CVB’s Pinterest account so following your favorite destinations is easy.…

Design Seeds

I am by no means a designer but I know what I like when I see it and I’ve found a new resource in Design Seeds. This site has the perfect combination of colors and photography. I’ve seen color schemes here that I never would have thought about using before but when a photo is…

#tourismchat Highlights: Social Media Contests

Our latest #tourismchat (December 1, 2011) focused on social media contests. A lot of the chat participants have managed contests in Facebook but not too many had experience with Twitter or Flickr contests. Below are my highlights from the chat. Check out the entire chat transcript for all the details.

Have you managed any social media contests for your DMO? What were the results?

  • @pagetx Yes. We’ve done Flickr photo contests for 2 yrs. Increased social fans, engagement, & # of photos in group. Success!
  • @MontanaTia We did our first giveaway this summer via facebook and increased the # of fans on our page.
  • @SarahElam Yes, we’ve done 2 very successful ones on FB. One geared towards outdoor fun, one on shopping. Increased fans & exposure!
  • @stefanieksays Yes, had amazing results w/ Facebook contest especially if supported with ads. See fans sticking around even after it ends.
  • @emilyforsha Flickr photo contests and some ticket giveaways on Twitter. Great engagement on both. Flickr gets us great content.
  • @ParadiseMeeting Our social media contests have been free nights at hotels. The response was phenomenal! Everyone wants to visit Florida.
  • @catherineheeg Facebook contest to gain fans and photos. Now working on a web-based contest to gain exposure to Trvl. agents

What were the goals for your social media contests?

  • @stefanieksays email address acquisition/phone number acquisition is always a big goal for clients I have worked with.
  • @catherineheeg goal was to gain more photos to be used in future marketing campaigns. Fans increased as well.
  • @CygnetUpdates consider results/goals that go beyond raw numbers. Are people continuing to engage AFTER the contest ends?
  • @SarahElam Increased fan base and general vb exposure…and fan interaction!
  • @pagetx Our goals were increased awareness of region & getting more photos in our Flickr group. Wanted active shots, not scenery.
  • @jeremy_harvey Definitely increase fans (& keep them), but also get some good interactions and conversations going!
  • @ShuttersSecrets We’ve seen the best results from contests where people have to do more than “like” us. Continued engagement is key.
  • @seanmdixon Recent (and awesome) side effect of last FB campaign: 150+ written FB Recommendations.

Which platforms or networks are best for contests? With which goals?…

#tourismchat Highlights: QR Codes

The October 13 #tourismchat discussed QR Codes and their use in the tourism industry. Take a few minutes to read the entire chat transcript. For a condensed version, here are my highlights:

What’s the most creative use you’ve experienced with QR codes in tourism?

  • @maddenmedia  I’ve seen them used on visitor signs to download maps of the area, especially for hikers.
  • @JoeGiessler We’ve incorporated our ‘hi’ logo into some QR code designs & used it on banners at trade shws to link to FB/mobi site
  • @TomMartin on personalized DM: scan>>personalized microsite w/personalized video inviting MP to host meeting in city
  • @WhosYourAnnie I love the @VisitSanAntonio River Walk QR Code tours:
  • @thompsonpaul using a QR code to visitor content/apps on the door of a Visitor Info Centre for when they’re closed
  • @WhosYourAnnie here are a few other QR Code/tourism examples via @travel2dot0:
  • @JoeGiessler An Ohio wine fstvl used them at lines so ppl could get info on the winery they were ab to try while waiting

What’s the most creative use of QR codes in non-tourism campaigns?

Have you used QR Codes before? Where?…

How to lose respect on twitter

There are several ways to lose respect on twitter but the fastest two ways are scheduling tweets without checking mentions and spamming hashtags. Someone has been spamming a few hashtags I follow. He’s using scheduled tweets and actually sent the exact same tweet at 2pm two days in a row. I tried reaching out to…

Sept 15 #tourismchat: Influencers

The September 15 #tourismchat focused on influencers. For more information, check out the entire chat transcript on Chirpstory. Here are my highlights:

How do you define an influencer?

  • @MaddenMedia An online influencer is a resource. They offer up their expertise on a regular basis.
  • @scullyano Someone that shares knowledge and ideas. Blazes a trail for the industry.
  • @JoyLinDMAI Person/org that provides information or opinions that help others come to a decision, from understanding, change behavior.
  • @TourismCurrents An influencer is someone who might be a catalyst to convince others to visit your destination, attraction or lodging.
  • @WhosYourAnnie someone who helps to promote your brand, mostly because they genuinely love it.
  • @emilyforsha Someone whose message motivates or convinces others to action.
  • @TOPTravelOnline a trusted source amongst your ideal customers
  • @travel2dot0 An influencer has a specific focus, always helpful, active both online + offline and provides inspiration for others.
  • @Joe_ExpCols An influencer is a person with access to and credibility with your target audience.

Are you going after those that are generally influencers or ones that are influencing a certain niche? What niches?

  • @JoyLinDMAI Really depends on what message you’re trying to get out, what goal you have — strategic or transactional.
  • @CygnetUpdates Influencers with well-defined niches usually are more effective as resources

What is your primary goal when you are engaging an influencer?

September 1 #tourismchat Highights: Multimedia

Photos, videos, podcasts — they’re all assets DMOs can use to further promote their destination. The September 1 #tourismchat focused on creating and using these types of assets. Feel free to read the entire chat transcript (from the amazing Chirpstory site) or for a quick summary, here are my highlights:

How do you obtain photo/video assets? (create in-house, hire photog/videographer, etc)

  • @jeremy_harvey We do both. Hire prod co for big projects; in-house for vodcast-type vids.
  • @TomMartin combination… create, cajole, hire out and sometimes reward (as in consumer gen content)
  • @jennrush03 We have our in-house video production manager and interns. Photos it’s either staff or freelance work from local photographers
  • @theresaoverby I buy a lot of stock photos from local photographer. Video is some agency, some in-house, but not enough assets..
  • @katiecook A combo of everything you stated. Also ask photographers to use their images for free (gives them exposure)
  • @pagetx We curate a group on Flickr. Works like a charm for photos. We also hold an annual photo contest.
  • @wilkinsh We are using all ways to acquire video and photo. Even recruiting college students.
  • @DanielleRauch photographer & our staff. We ask partners too

What is the ratio of professional vs. amateur content that your CVB owns/creates?

  • @katiecook 70/30 professional vs amateur.
  • @TunicaMS We are working on a plan but it looks like 35% pro and 65% am
  • @MaddenMedia Not a CVB, but I think a good 50% pro to inspire the other 50% to participate
  • @pagetx Prolly 90-95% amateur on Flickr. We sometimes use our company’s videos, as well as from other professional entities.
  • @Beaumartian right now it’s about 60 Prof /40 Amateur at the moment.
  • @wilkinsh 85% amateur, 15% prof. but that scale will soon change.
  • @jeremy_harvey We’re about 90% pro vs. 10% in house. We do a lot of video.
  • @jennrush03 Photos about 85% in house (that’d be the amateur side!) Use professionals mainly for annual visitor map, special needs…
  • @theresaoverby 80% pro, 20% amateur

Are you using audio in any way? (podcasts, itunes, etc)…

Twitter Platforms

Long gone are the days of going to to tweet but with all the twitter platform options available, it’s hard to find the perfect one. Especially if you have multiple twitter accounts or watch several twitter searches.

Here are my two favorites:

TweetDeck: I like TweetDeck because it provides real-time tweets. This is great for things like participating in #tourismchat as you don’t have to refresh the column. You can customize the visual and audio notifications for each column and there doesn’t seem to be a limit on columns. I currently have 25 columns, 80% of which are for hashtags, searches or lists of followers. TweetDeck is free but you have to download the platform, which might not be ideal if you’re using an office computer.

HootSuite: One of the best features of HootSuite is the ability to set up separate tabs with multiple columns in each tab. So I can have a tab for each twitter account and then a separate tab for searches or hashtags. Or I can mix search or hashtag columns in my main tab. However there is a limit of 10 columns (streams) per tab. Another great feature is to set up team users, if you have multiple people managing the same twitter account, so that you can see who replies to which tweet. With additional team members, plans can get a little pricey. Free plans are available. Pro plans ($5.99/month) are needed for teams ($15/member per month). HootSuite is web-based so there’s nothing to download.

These are a two platforms I’m exploring but I don’t currently use for tweeting:…