An event like the Olympics makes all media, including social media, light up like a Christmas Tree. Everybody’s talking about it, and that’s exactly what we want. Instead of adding to the noise, our strategy for social media during the games focussed on supporting and encouraging key influencers while leveraging our own network.
Tourism in BC related social media volume during February
Social media is the largest focus group out there so we treat it as a huge research opportunity. Data has been collected and will be analyzed. We’ve also used our monitoring tools to provide insights to our media, SEM Field Reporters and content teams. This enabled us to quickly respond to unexpected stories.
After the games, we can look at the data to identify what resonated about Vancouver and BC as a destination, potential new markets or product opportunities and key influencers in social media for future engagement.
Assisting and encouraging key influencers
Working with key influencers is a lot like working with travel media professionals (with a twist) especially since many traditional travel media have their own blogs. But there are also pure social media influencers, including local bloggers, athlete tweeters, etc. Jose from our online team has been working closely with our Travel Media team to coordinate efforts.
Building our community
We used the pre-Olympics to experiment with running contests on Twitter. We managed to more than triple our number of followers by giving away some Olympic tickets. We were wondering if people would leave right after, but they didn’t and instead are engaging with Karen, our tweeter extraordinaire, and re-tweeting our messages to their networks.
As an added bonus, our contest winners have been tweeting and blogging about their experiences and traveled around with our Field Reporters.
Engaging our community
Facebook fans and Twitter followers are a diverse group of BC residents, past visitors, tourism industry stakeholders and people who would like to visit. During the games, we tweeted information about the games, general trip ideas based on what was being talked about and re-tweeted messages from others. URLS’s were being tracked and during the games period, drove almost 50,000 visitors to our website.
Karen set up searches in Tweetdeck to filter people who expressed an interest in visiting and started the conversation to make the trip a reality leading to wonderful conversations, new followers and hopefully visitors soon.
Lifepoints is a Facebook application where you get points for your life experiences. Points are based on how people have rated each experience. Compete with your friends for who gets the most out of life and create your own bucketlist by ‘wanting’ things. A natural fit with tourism so we’re running a campaign with Lifepoints to highlight some of the great experiences British Columbia has to offer and promote our contest.
And of course we wanted to capture the excitement of the games through our Field Reporters. They’ve been all over town, and the rest of the province, to capture the Olympic vibe, the reactions from spectators, athletes and celebrities, against the backdrop of the destination.
The Torch Relay is a great event to connect people with the games across the country. A perfect vehicle to extend the exposure beyond Vancouver and showcase all of British Columbia around the world.
But like pretty much anything else related to games, access is tough when you’re not a sponsor or accredited media. About a year ago we worked out a partnership with Coca-Cola to cover every day of the Torch Relay in BC, and key cities across Canada through an extended partnership with the Canadian Tourism Commission. That gave us the access we needed.
One of our star Field Reporters Chris Wheeler was up for the challenge and on October 30 last year he started the 106 day journey. With the support from Jose and Mike in our Tourism BC office, and Paul Clark and our regional offices on the road, he created 25 videos in BC and 11 in the rest of Canada. The formula was to use the Torch Relay as a continuing plot-line and highlight specific experiences in the area or community the flame visited that day. You follow the flame, and also see what makes the area great.
The videos are a great success for all partners; awesome stories, tens of thousands of views (almost 300,000 as of Feb 14), great response from the local communities and some great learning for the future. Check out the YouTube channel or our fancy HelloBC Torch Relay page.