If you think your organization is too governmental or bureaucratic, just remember. Even the NAVY is using social media! You can do this too.
And they even have a sense of humor about it.
Share information with your fans and follower about things that will affect their downtown experience.
Use links, if possible. ALWAYS use a link shortener – saves space and is trackable.
Here’s the story the tweet linked to.
Give credit where it’s due. If a downtown business wins an award or recognition, help highlight their success.
Lists are great! It almost doesn’t matter the topic - if you have a top 5, 10 or 20 list about something, people will read it. Here, Downtown Georgetown lets its fans know what the top 10 things to do on a Saturday are in downtown.
Wow! Here’s a top 50 list.
Question: What could they have done to improve this tweet? Answer: Use a link shortener Question: Why is that important? Answers: Provides tracking and allows more space for RTs.
Let YOUR fans and followers know about what’s happening in specific downtown businesses. The @inDowntownPDX fans might not be following @LianasBoutique, but now they will know about the sale they’re having.
Keep fans and followers up to date on what downtown has to offer.
You all know that events are great ways to bring people downtown. Use your social media channels to let them know about upcoming events, just as you would with a press release or events listings on your website.
Many businesses and organizations have caught on to this. One of the main reasons that people “like” a business page or follow them on Twitter, is for the exclusive offers they get. It keeps them coming back for more.
Keep a calendar of all the quirky “national day of ________ (fill in the blank)” holidays. Can you tie in to that with a downtown business or event? Of course, all the normal holidays work for this too …
Did you know that YouTube is the number 2 search engine? Video is an extremely effective (and fairly easy) way to share a story. Invest in a Flip camera and do it yourself.
Here, Clifton is showing off their 6-part video series on Facebook. Here’s what Damaris Neeley has to say about it: “The goal at first was to have something to post on our facebook page.....the idea has really grown from there and we are sending them with relocation packages, the Mayor has presented them to "guests" of Clifton, and to certain dignitaries all the way to presenting to the commissioners of the Public Utility Commission where he will be testifying next week to ask to not allow 120' tower power lines to be placed in our county. These videos have WAY surpassed our expectations and we find new uses for them each day. A picture is worth a thousand words....our videos are worth A MILLION!!!
Why not show people what that new business looks like? Share the “chamber of commerce” weather you’re having? Use photos to help you tell the story.
An excellent way to engage fans and followers is to put up a poll question or hold a small contest. It’s one of the best ways to get fans to interact with you online.
Be helpful. Let fans and followers know they can rely on you to provide timely and accurate information. But don’t offer this unless you plan to monitor the questions and are prepared to respond. Some CVBs are now using “Twisitor Centers” to be even more helpful. They announce a hashtag – like #inPDX – and tell people to ask questions about the destination, adding the hashtag at the end. The CVBs track the hashtag and answer the questions as they come in.
Hey, that’s me! There’s a reason they call it SOCIAL media. You can ask and answer questions of people who are in your networks. I’ve done this several times in preparation for presentations. You’d be amazed at the response you’ll get.
Once you’ve selected and promoted your unique downtown hashtag, set up a permanent search so you can monitor what people are saying. #mainstreet and #downtown are too generic. Pick one for your town (like #inPDX). You could get alerted to potential problems by doing so that you might not have known about otherwise.
Tell potential fans and followers something about yourself. Make it clear who you are and what they can expect. Many people – me included – don’t follow anyone that doesn’t have a bio.
Here’s a great bio on Downtown Cincinnati’s Flickr group … more on that later.
Let people know what social networks you’re using. Make it easy for them to connect with you. Put it on websites, e-newsletters, on a sign in your store/office …
… in your email signature. Make sure the icons are hyperlinked to the sites they represent so that when people click on the icons, they are taken to that specific social network.
This is another way to let people know what they can expect to find on your page … and what you’ll tolerate. It gives you cover to delete posts that are inappropriate in any way.
You can do the same thing with your Flickr group. Tell potential new members the rules of the road and how you’ll use their photos.
It’s pretty difficult to connect on a personal level with a business or organization. Unless the person doing their social media sounds like a real person. Have a personality. Pick a “voice” for your social media efforts and stick with it. If your community has certain expressions or slang, use them!
Here’s an example of REALLY using personality! How about a ghost? Humor is always effective if done well.
In Bubba the Ghost’s own words …
Keep fans and followers coming back on a regular basis. One way to do that is to use dynamic content like weekly features. Here’s an example from my Colorado River Trail Facebook page. We have two weekly features. On Wednesdays we have a photo trivia contest called “Tripod Trivia” where fans have to guess the location the photo was taken. This also allows us to cross promote our Flickr group.
On Fridays, we highlight a city or attraction in our region with the “True-Blue Destination of the Week”. I always pick a location that has a Facebook presence so I can tag them (more on that in a minute).
You’re posting your events on Facebook, aren’t you? You can choose to let your fans know about each event you post, or simply post them so fans can view them at their leisure.
Highlight your members or downtown businesses/attractions on Facebook by adding them to your Favorite Pages. This lets your fans know other businesses they can find downtown.
Facebook now lets you “tag” other Facebook pages and people in your status updates. When you tag another page, your status update/post shows up on your page AND on the page you tagged. Fans of that page can see your message too! It’s an easy way to grow your fanbase.
This was a cool example of a Facebook promo I just happened upon at lunch one day. Romeo’s in Austin had this laptop and sign set up in the foyer of the restaurant. The laptop had Facebook open on the Romeo’s page ready for my login. New fans would be entered to win a $50 gift card. Easy and effective.
Finally we’re ready to discuss Flickr. Flickr is a great, free way to collect photos people have taken in your destination. Create a Flickr group for your destination to keep these photos all in one place (like Downtown Cinci has here). I have a Flickr group for my region, and I use the photos from it as content for Facebook, Twitter, and in my blog posts. I have mainly amateur photographers, but I also have some pros who contribute photos too! As long as you credit the photographer, they are usually happy to let you use their work.
Use the message feature to let group members know what you’d like to see added to the group.
You can also use that space to share information with group members, or as in this case, get the to comply with specific requests.
Twitter has a nice feature that allows you to create categorized lists of people/organizations you follow. Here are a few of the ones that the Columbia, SC CVB has set up. They use this feature as a way to highlight local tourist offerings by category for attractions, etc. that are on Twitter.
Abilene has taken this one step further and developed a social media directory for local shopping, dining, lodging, and attractions venues. Pretty cool, huh?
Has anyone heard of either of these two services? Anyone using them? I’m not ashamed to say that I’m addicted to both. If you’re a deal seeker, then this is for you! For businesses, it’s a great way to get rid of excess inventory, introduce a new product, get people in the door, as well as an opportunity to up sell. For people like us, it’s deeply discounted products and services that are emailed to you daily based on your location and preferences.
Here Downtown Nashville shares on Facebook the deal for that day. It happens to be for one of the downtown Nashville businesses.
Here’s what an email looks like that announces the deal for that day.
It works for memberships too. Here the National Trust offered a half-off annual membership on Groupon. I snatched mine right up!
Okay, hold on to your hats. If your mind hasn’t been blown by now, this section will definitely do it! Has anyone heard of Gowalla or FourSquare? Used them?
These are applications you can download onto your smart phone. The apps “know” where you are based on your phone’s GPS. When you open the app, you’ll see a list of business or places nearby. You can “check in” to that place via the app.
Why would you do this? For the geekiest of the geeks, it’s the game. You can earn virtual pins and badges that laud your check-in prowess. For regular geeks, it’s probably the real (not virtual) perks. On Foursquare, businesses have the ability to reward people for checking in multiple times. Think of it as a virtual “frequent flyer” program. On Gowalla, you can create virtual themed trips for your destination. Each trip has its own URL so you can link to them and promote them on your other social media channels.
Here’s an example of what a check-in looks like on Foursquare, and how you’ll know if there’s a special being offered.
And another example of an “old school” way to promote a “new school” tool. This is just a chalkboard outside a coffee house that lets people know they offer Foursquare deals.
Here’s an example of a Gowalla trip that a friend of mine developed for local places to eat in Round Rock. Below the fold, there are about 10 more listings.
The Austin CVB just held a contest using Gowalla. They developed a trip in association with the Fun Fun Fun Fest held on November 6th in downtown Austin. Their goals were the following: 1) to get festival participants to venture out of the festival grounds and explore some other cool Austin places nearby 2) To increase awareness of the festival 3) Get people to come into the Austin Visitor Center
People who completed the trip were entered to win 2 VIP passes to the festival.
They promoted in on Twitter and Facebook.
From Katie Cook with ACVB: We had 12 people complete our FFF Fest PIP Trip. The winner received 2 PIP (aka VIP) passes for Sunday’s festival. He was stoked and tweeted about it: http://drippic.com/node/10655
Twitter: We had 361 people click on our Gowalla trip link and 245 click onto Austinist.com article. We had 20 RTs of our 4 tweets on the contest.
Facebook: We sent an update on our contest to our 5,500 fans and in that post tagged Austinist’s fan page (3,100 fans), Fun Fun Fun Fest (10,200 fans) and Transmission Entertainment (producer of the festival to their 1,800 fans).
And I just thought this was funny.
Social Media Marketing for Downtowns - Tips, Tricks & Cool Ideas To Share
Create Group Rules If you
agree to these rules, you can join the group Only post pictures to this group for which you own the original copyright or are in the public domain. All pictures posted to this group may be used by the Colorado River Trail in its various publications, both print or online (including social media). We will credit you as the photographer on any photo that we use. Only photos depicting the Colorado River Trail region will be accepted. We reserve the right to reject submissions to our Flickr group displaying content we deem to be inappropriate or offensive without prior warning. The Colorado River Trail reserves the right to update the Group Rules.
Where To Find Me Old
School: • Phone – 512.473.3513 • E-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org New School: • Twitter - @ColoradoRiverTr (work), @pagetx (personal) • Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/ColoradoRiverTrail • Flickr – http://www.flickr.com/groups/ColoradoRiverTrail • Foursquare – http://foursquare.com/pagetx • Gowalla – http://gowalla.com/users/pagetx (personal), http://gowalla.com/users/ColoradoRiverTrail (work)
Possible Discussion Topics • Barriers
to using social media • What tools to use • How to engage audiences • How to “listen” • How/what to measure • How to manage time • What if they say something bad? • Do we need a social media policy? • What else ….?