Tourism Talk: Visit Savannah’s Amy Brock

Amy Brock is the Social Media Manager at Visit Savannah. What makes Amy unique is not her Bacon Twitter list. Ok, maybe that does give her a certain je ne sais quoi. But what I’m most fascinated with are her CVB niche social media accounts. Not only does Amy maintain a fantastic social media presence for Savannah’s leisure tourism, she also maintains accounts for other CVB departments such as meetings, sports and weddings.

Here’s some insight on Amy, Visit Savannah and bacon.

 

How long have you worked at the Savannah CVB?

I have worked for Visit Savannah (formerly known as Savannah Convention & Visitors Bureau) since November 2005, after working in the tourism industry in Charleston, SC for several years.  I’ve held positions with Visit Savannah in the Convention Sales Department as well as in the Marketing and Communications Department as Media Buyer and later on as Internet Marketing Manager.  After having my daughter in 2008, I decided not to return to work so I could focus on motherhood; that lasted about a month.  It was at that time that I found myself right in the middle of a big Twitter conversation and realized there was a huge opportunity for destination marketing organizations that Savannah was missing out on!  After a conversation with Visit Savannah’s Vice President of Marketing and Communications, I was contracted to begin a small social media campaign.  Almost 2 years later I am managing 5 Twitter Accounts, 4 Flickr Groups and 5 (soon to be 6) Facebook Pages.

How many niche accounts does Visit Savannah have?

 

Our niche accounts are ever growing as we maintain a presence for destination weddings (Savannah I Do) as well as our Meetings and Conventions Market.  Sports has really come into play for Savannah with the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and ½ Marathon in November 2011 recent announcement.  We also have a social media presence for two of our Visit Savannah produced events:  Savannah Holly Days and the popular Savannah Craft Brew Fest.

“Like” Savannah on Facebook:

Follow Savannah on Twitter:

Find Savannah on other networks.

Visit Savannah maintains Flickr groups for Visit Savannah, Savannah I Do and Savannah Craft Brew Fest. We’re also on YouTube, Foursquare and Gowalla.

How does your main social media strategy differ for your niche accounts?

Our strategy is pretty much the same for all of our accounts, engage engage engage! Share information, talk to people, tell a story.  The primary focus is on our main account for @VisitSavannah on Twitter and “Savannah” on Facebook, but our niche accounts play an integral part in supporting our destination.

What have you learned since launching the niche accounts?

You have to wear a lot of different hats!  It’s easy to come up with content, but having different “personalities” with each account can sometimes be taxing.  For example, in less than 10 minutes, I can go from discussing swag bags at a conference to talking about the difference between an IPA and stout beer to explaining that while we don’t know exactly which day the azaleas will bloom in Savannah, but your best bet is to come in March to see them!

It’s a learning curve.  You must be up-to-date on relevant information to be able to interact.

What are some of your social media successes?

I feel like anytime I am able to connect with someone on Twitter and help them is a great success.  People are typically friendly, open to new ideas and genuinely appreciative of your help.

At this year’s Savannah Craft Brew Fest, we managed to secure a Swarm Badge – the first one achieved in Savannah (keep in mind, we’re on the small side!)  I created the Venue and began encouraging Foursquare users to check in at the Festival about a month before the event with consistent reminders on Facebook and Twitter.  I was truly shocked that we achieved this!

And of course anytime I get a response from a celebrity, I get a little excited. 🙂

How do you see social media further changing the tourism industry?

Lead, follow or get out of the way.  It’s here to stay and more and more people are connecting every day.  The growth is astounding and the opportunities are endless.

How do you use social media for travel?

I use Twitter constantly when traveling for getting restaurant recommendations, events, ideas for entertaining a toddler and must-sees.  I also check in to Foursquare frequently to look for tips.

What are some of your favorite places to travel?

My husband and I have traveled quite a bit around Latin America, we love the rainforests, beaches, simplicity and the food.  Other favorites: Charleston, SC; Asheville, NC and New York, NY.

What do you do when you’re not online?

Chasing a feisty 2 year old around keeps me pretty busy!  I enjoy reading, shopping, hanging out on Savannah’s beach, Tybee Island.  I love to cook and experiment in the kitchen.

Are you a…

  • Mac or PC: Mac
  • Foursquare or Gowalla: Both, but mainly Foursquare
  • iPhone or Droid: iPhone

What is the geekiest thing you’ve done?

Many moons ago when Myspace was ‘King of the Hill’, I started a Myspace page for the “Savannah Gnome” (he was really that funny little Travelocity Gnome that my ad rep had gifted me…little did he know that I would try to rebrand their mascot!)  Co-workers and I would take the Gnome wherever we went, take pictures, upload them to Myspace, post silly updates.  By the time Myspace was starting to get old, the “Savannah Gnome” had more than 25,000 friends. Peace, Myspace.

And my Bacon list on Twitter.  Silly, geeky and delicious.

What are your guilty pleasures?

Pretty much any show on Bravo, red wine and the occasional ice cream cone from Leopold’s.

I’d like to thank Amy for allowing me to interview her. If you’re not already following her on twitter, you’re missing out on her smart, witty and fun tweets!

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