Social Distortion

Social Media Monitoring tools were suggested in last month’s Five @ 5 to be a vital part of any DMO’s website moving forward. Hit a nerve with one reader who suggested we’re spending too much time strategizing over Twitter and Facebook.

Frankly I agree with my friend, Jim Zaleski in Parsons, Kansas. And I agree with Meryl Levitz of the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation who, at US Travel Association’s Marketing Outlook Forum said, “Social media is not the silver bullet!”

So after a season of Governor Conferences, MOFs, and webinars packed with sessions and keynotes regarding Social Media – Social Distortion or this month’s Five @ 5:

1. Yes, you really should be on Twitter and Facebook (and other social media outlets.) Set up your accounts and start with one post or tweet a month. Then build from there! None of us have time to sit on Twitter and Facebook all day long. SO DON’T! But find five minutes a month to post something.

2. Remember, you’re trying to drive overnight travel. (“Heads in beds.”) I’d suggest that most of your potential visitors can’t drop everything when you post an event that is that evening or that weekend. I subscribe to the concept that you should be posting about events and happenings at your attractions 4, 6, 12 months out. U2 just announced they’re playing your city 6 months from now? Tweet that to give the visitor time to buy tickets and reserve the hotel.

3. It’s okay if someone says something bad! That makes it believeable! Besides, if you have locals following you as well, they’ll most likely jump in and refute the bad post. Which takes me back to #1. Believe you’ll be consumed by constantly responding to questions and posts? Not if you have passionate locals following you. Some colleagues are sharing that the locals often respond quicker than staff!

4. Oh, and um, they’re probably not believing you. Jim shared these numbers from PRSA:

* Trust of corporate communications fell from 38% to 26%. (Your tweets are “corporate communications”.)
* Believability Factors by Media: Radio 38%, Television 36%, Newspaper 34% compared to Company’s Website 24% and Social Media 15%.

He then went on to make this point: “If you have a very developed Twitter account, you may be able to reach 10,000 people. But what if only 15% of them believed you? Had you spent that time writing a press release, and a legitimate outlet runs it, you could reach 100,000 and 34% would believe the story. What is the better time spent?”

Sooo…

5. Stick with the basics. Jim commented, “We should never lose sight of the good ole’ press release. If your organizations’ Twitter account upkeep or Facebook time has meant redirecting resources and cutting local and/or traditional media relations campaigns by even one press release, priorities might need to be evaluated.”

(Originally posted February 2010)

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