Bam! Market Research Made Easy

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]Social media changes on a daily basis.  So much so, it’s hard to keep up with the newest shiny toy that shows up to solve all our marketing problems.  It’s great to experiment and try new things, but sometimes we forget about the fundamentals as we chase after the brass ring.   That’s why I get so excited when I see brands that still do the simple – and often overlooked – things in social media marketing.  Take today for instance …  Continue reading

Smart Businesses Watch Conference Hashtags

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]For the last couple of days, Texas CVBs have converged on San Marcos TX for the 2011 Texas Association of Convention and Visitors Bureau’s Annual Conference.  I am fortunate to have joined them for the first time in several years.  The educational content has been first-rate and the San Marcos CVB and Embassy Suites San Marcos have done a terrific job hosting us.

But they weren’t the only ones who provided excellent customer service and hospitality.  There’s a local Twitter account called TwitBiz San Marcos (@TwitBizSM) that helps shine a light on some of the great local businesses and restaurants located in San Marcos.  They do a hell of a job. Continue reading

Social Media and Simple Acts of Kindness

KINDNESS[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]This isn’t a cheesy post about how happiness makes the world go ’round.  Instead, it’s a true story about three people who just wanted to help each other out.  This story does have a happy ending, but there’s a twist.  Read on.

A couple of weeks ago I got a DM from David Kaufman with DK Worldwide.  David and I have never met IRL, but have chatted with each other via Twitter on several different occasions.  His DM said that he had a friend living in Austin, TX who was interested in getting into marketing.  He asked if I would mind sitting down with her for a few minutes to see if I could offer her any insight into marketing, and just do some networking with her.

To some of you, this might seem like an unusual request.  To meet with someone I didn’t know?!  On the recommendation of  someone else I didn’t know?!  Crazy, right?  Not to me.  I have first-hand experience with the incredible power of social media – mainly Twitter.  There are several people who I consider to be trusted friends and colleagues who I initially “met” through exchanges on Twitter.  I’ve been fortunate to actually meet some of them in person, but many still remain as mainly online relationships.

Continue reading

Creative Uses of Twitter Lists

Just the Grocery List [tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]Ahh, lists.  We all use them – probably daily – to make life a little easier.  For those of us over 40, they are a staple tool to help get us the job done.  But lists are simply just utilitarian and functional.  Institutional even.  Or are they?

Enter the Twitter List.  According to Wikipedia, “In late 2009, the “Twitter Lists” feature was added, making it possible for users to follow (as well as mention and reply to) lists of authors instead of individual authors.”  Mashable wrote a great piece about 10 Ways You Can Use Twitter lists which covered most of the basics.  Many DMOs took the ball and ran with it, creating Twitter lists to help visitors and potential visitors find information about their destinations quickly.  If you were to look, you’d find that most social media-savvy DMOs have at least a few Twitter Lists at the ready.

But sometimes even a list can be a helpful tool and still have a little fun.  Not satisfied with simply being helpful, the examples below help to highlight the unique personality of the destination or of the creator.

Continue reading

#tourismchat – Q&A with Its Creators Anne Hornyak and Betsy Decillis

tourismchat logo[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”] Social media is a two-way street.  It’s about the give and take.  The conversation.  It’s about sharing what you know, and knowing that others will reciprocate when they can.

In the tourism industry, I think this comes naturally.  We’re all a pretty friendly bunch, with he sole goal of helping people have a good time in our destinations.

It works the same way with fellow tourism industry professionals.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard one DMO person say to another, “I’m gonna steal that idea!”  To me, that’s the highest form of flattery.  Someone else thinks your idea is good enough to use in their own efforts.  Why re-invent the wheel, right?  If there’s an idea you can use, modify for your situation, and put to good use, then why the hell not?

Continue reading

The Darlington Experiment 2.0: Croudsourcing an Image

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]I ran across an interesting article back in early December that caught my attention.  At the time I thought it had the makings of a great Tourism Tech post, but I wasn’t sure what the context would be.  Now I think I have it.

According to their website, the Darlington Experiment 2.0 is “a fun web-based experiment to increase the positive perceptions of Darlington using social media sites.”  The goal is to get locals talking about why they love Darlington on YouTube, Twitter, and other social media sites for all the world to see.  It’s crowdsourcing for tourism.

The article that caught my eye described how Darlington named a “twitterer in residence”.  His name is Mike McTimoney and his “day job” is a school teacher, but his job for the Darlington Experiment 2.0 (or Dx2, as they say in Darlington) is to promote local events and inform people about local news.

Continue reading

5 Tourism Industry Tweeps You Should Follow in 2010

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]David Letterman gets it.  His Top 10 list is usually the part of his show that everyone looks forward to.  I know I do.  I love lists.  To me, they’re like when you’re at a presentation and the speaker says, “If you only remember <insert any number here> things from my speech today, remember these.”  It catches your attention, right?  Now, you’re really listening.  Lists distill all the great content down into bite size pieces.  Things that are relatively easy to remember.  The good stuff.

I’ve seen several “Top 10” lists since the start of 2010.  You’ve got your top 10 predictions, top 10 trends in one industry or the other, top 10 reasons why something is the greatest thing ever, top 10 companies to watch, etc., etc.  And the list goes on.  Truthfully, I’ve probably read most of the ones I see.

Continue reading

The Ones To Watch: Small-town Tourism Meets Social Media Best Practices

watching[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]There are more and more tourism destinations every day on Twitter.  Ultimately, I think this is a good thing.  Social media, including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc., are simply just another channel available for marketers, and are valuable tools to include as a part of  you marketing arsenal.  Yet, there are still too many destinations that haven’t embraced the concept of social media marketing.  In Texas at least, these tend to be the smaller towns.

As I’ve learned over the last few months, there are hundreds if not thousands of small to mid-sized tourism destinations that are out there and tweeting regularly.  Some are using Twitter in very clever ways.  Others are are doing the typical things that marketers do – and doing them quite well.

Continue reading

Social media monitoring: Are you listening to what they’re saying about you?

listen

[tweetmeme source=”pagetx”]Social media has given us another platform for communication.  There are conversations going on out there right now.  Are you listening?  For tourism businesses, this means that there are travelers out there talking about us, our destinations, our customer service, and ultimately their experiences … both positive and negative.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know what they are saying?  Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to respond to them?  It’s what we would do if they were standing right in front of us.  Why shouldn’t we do the same when we have conversations using social media?

Fortunately, there are as many ways to listen to social media conversations as there are to have social media conversations.  If not more.

There are some excellent companies that offer fee-based social media monitoring solutions, such as radian6 and trackur.  There are also some very good free ways to monitor social media conversations if you’re willing to do a bit more legwork.

Here are a few of the free tools available to monitor conversations on Twitter and blogs.

Continue reading