Seeing Is Believing: Using Visual Content in Social Media Marketing

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Preso given at the Texas Brazos Trail conference June 1, 2012 on using visual content in marketing destinations.

Text of Seeing Is Believing: Using Visual Content in Social Media Marketing

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Seeing Is BelievingUsing Visual Content in Social Media MarketingJune 1, 2012

About MeIm Sarah Page and I work for the Lower Colorado River Authority providing tourism and economic development assistance to the communities and organizations in our service area. And what XX didnt tell you is . 2

About MeGEEK ALERT!!Im Sarah Page and I work for the Lower Colorado River Authority providing tourism and economic development assistance to the communities and organizations in our service area. And what XX didnt tell you is . 3Download a Copy: Well Cover OverviewFlickrPinterestInstagramFoodspottingAwesome ExamplesQ&A

We have a lot of ground to cover today. There will be plenty of time for Q&A at the end, but Im also happy to field questions during the presentation if youve got something that just cant wait.5Social Media ReviewBenefits of Social MediaIts FREE!Builds deeper relationshipsIncreases brand awareness Broadens your networkHelps SEOIncreases website trafficCan help reach journalists/mediaEmpowers fans to be viral ambassadors for your brandSource: Social Media for Tourism ProsCan help reach a different demographic one that doesnt respond to traditional advertising (no newspapers can get news on your phone)

SEO = getting found online

Viral = now people will tell friends in a more public way7

There are a lot of social media options out there. You need to take the time to assess whether you realistically have the resources to add another social media platform.8


Start a Flickr Group198 members and 1036 photos

Started in July of 2008, and we leverage Flickr and the photos in our group in many ways. I use them a lot on Facebook, and some on our blog and Twitter.

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. Develop Group Rules

Facebook Weekly Features

We do a lot with our Flickr photos on Facebook. We just started this feature where we put up two photos and get people to vote on the one they like best. It will revolve around a theme like this one was about which sunset photo people liked best. Ill do one every week from now on.12

Facebook AdvertisingI recently did a little test of Facebook advertising. I used a photo (with permission) from our Flickr group as the image in the ad. I saw an almost 16% increase in the number of fans on my page.13

TwitterI always announce our Facebook Tripod Trivia feature on Twitter to try to cross pollinate our audiences. Ill also post the actual photo once the correct location is guessed.14

Blog Content Photo Posts & Slideshows

Create Custom Google Maps

Use in Print Publications

Use in Internal DocumentsAnd this is an example of how were using my Flickr group in some of the other work we do in our department. This is a slide from a draft presentation were working on that will provide economic data for specific regions in the LCRA service area.18Colorado River TrailPhoto Contest

We used a dedicated page on our website as the home base for the contest. We did this to avoid paying for 3rd party apps to host the contest on Facebook. We used Facebook and Twitter to promote the contest, but always pointed people to our website and/or the Flickr group for more information. If you have the proper website analytics in place, youll be able to track the referring sources to your contest page. More about that in a minute

Ran May 1-2520Build photography inventoryIncrease awarenessIncrease fan/ follower engagementBuild fan/follower-base on social media channels


Soul_SmilingProcessJoin Flickr group; register, agree to terms; upload photosTag photos with CRTContest12Judges selected top 10Public voting

22 95 contest entries 5% avg. increase in Fans/followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr 553% avg. increase in Facebook and Twitter activity (likes and comments) 69,400 % increase in inbound traffic to the photo contest web page Time on site ranged from :33 seconds pre-contest to 6:45 during peak votingResults:Photo: watsoninelgin


Once the contest was over, we highlighted the winner on our website, took the opportunity to congratulate the other finalists, and all the while still trying to drive them to our Flickr group. 24Lessons LearnedKeep it simpleKeep it shortFish where the fish arePromote, promote, promoteKnow IT limitations

Lessons learned:The 5 categories in 2011 were too confusing. Make it simple for people to enter. Thus, show us your perfect day on the Colorado River Trail.The 2011 contest lasted far too long. If social media is going to be a component of your contest promotion, people will lose interest after a while. Our 2011 contest lasted for a month and a half that was too long. The public voting period was too long as well. This year the whole thing lasted 4 weeks.A contest on Flickr has to be nurtured. We chose not to host the contest on Facebook because 1) we wanted high quality photos, and 2) we didnt want to pay for a 3rd party app to make the contest legal. But Flickr people are active ON Flickr. Its difficult (but not impossible) to get non-Flickr users to create an account, join your group, and upload photos. Flickr is just not that widely accepted yet. But for us, its worth it because this is a channel we are invested in and want to continue to grow. It provides us with an almost unlimited source of content.Because of the inherent difficulties I just described, you have to promote the heck out of it on your social media channels. Encourage contest entrants to share with their friends by adding Facebook share and like buttons and tweet this buttons on your website.Talk your goals through with your IT people BEFORE launching your contest. I assumed that the website analytics I needed were already in place. Everyone uses Google Analytics, right? Wrong. Some key data I needed to show whether or not my social media channels drove people to the website just wasnt there. No one had every asked our IT people for referring sites to a page before, so they werent set up to do that (and it cant be done after the fact). Were now using Google Analytics, so I got everything I wanted for the 2012 contest.

25Cool Flickr Ideas

Flickr Places photos about your destination.27


Geo-feed to Google Reader and the photos come to you!OrKML file to create custom Google maps.30

Import KML File URL

Create Custom Google Map

Pinterest is a 2 year old social bookmarking site that lets users collect and share images that inspire them on the web. It currently has over 10 million users. Just like you would pin something you want to remember on a bulletin board, Pinterest lets you do the same thing to images you find on the web. Create your own virtual bulletin boards for the things you love like recipes, places you want to visit, ideas for your home, and more. Once something is pinned, it can be liked, shared on Facebook, tweeted on Twitter, repinned, and commented on by your followers.

Pinterest is especially popular among women, which account for 58% of its traffic. It began as a venue for displaying crafts and other hand made items available for sale. It is the third most popular social site behind Facebook and Twitter.34You May Have Seen This

But Have You Seen This?

Savannah Georgia was one of the very first destinations to create a Pinterest account. They are the one everyone else is trying to catch up to. Savannah has over 13,000 followers, 28 boards, and over 2340 pins.

Our blog traffic increased 366% with people finding it through images posted on Pinterest. After seeing that number, I am confidant we are on to something big. Amy Brock, social media manager36

We all know peoples Pinterest boards arent reflections of their lives theyre reflections of what they want their lives to be like. Its really the best form of social marketing when someone takes an image of your destination and adds it to their aspirational life (endorsing the destination to their followers). -- Joe Vargo, Marketing Manager with Experience Columbus

In a destination like Columbus, we realize we have a pretty flat image photography and video are a great way to start to solve this problem as we have a great product to offer and overdeliver on visitor experience. Pinterest also allows destinations to show their complex personalities something thats nearly impossible to write into web copy.

Where we have great photography assets, were pinning them (particularly from our blog). Were also strategically pinning images linking back all the earned media coverage weve generated no sense in letting that go to waste, a third-party recommendation is worth way more to me than a link back to my sites.

And of course, there are those beauty shots that dont link anywhere valuable, but if the images are stellar enough, theyre worth a pin.


Pinterest PositivesTraffic, traffic and more trafficPinterest has grown 4000% in the last 6 monthsIt has SEO secret sauceEach photo pinned can be linked back to a speci