Saturday, 20 July 2013

3 Uses for Social Media at Visit Lincoln

Last month I was asked to speak about the work I do on social media with Visit Lincoln (both Facebook, Twitter and others) at the local Twitter meet-up: Lincs Tweet Meet.  I thought I'd share my notes below for anyone who is interested.

Me at the Tweet Meet (image: The Lincolnite)
Visit Lincoln exists to promote Lincoln as a destination for visitors (short breaks, holidays, shopping or events), businesses looking to trade or people looking to relocate, study or work.  It is a partnership between business in Lincoln and the surrounding area who all work towards the same goal of promoting the city.

One of our main barriers to this is awareness and perceptions of Lincoln. To get over this barrier we aim to create a strong brand and reputation for Lincoln as a destination in addition to promoting what it has to offer.  Online marketing is very important in doing this as it is one of the most affordable ways to reach our target audience, namely people who don't necessarily know about Lincoln.  We have a well used website and send regular emails and use social media to do this online.

3 Top Uses for Social Media

  1. Reach the Unreachable

    The social aspect of social media means we can reach people we may never have been able to reach before as content is shared.

    For example, a post about how wonderful Lincoln Cathedral is or about the great restaurants and bars on offer in Lincoln, would reach our almost 5,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter which is great.  If that post is liked, commented on, shared, retweeted or favourited, it can potentially also reach the friends and followers of those who share it.  Lets say each follower has two hundred contacts, that means each content post could potentially reach one million people!

    As a partnership, we work with Lincoln's businesses to help promote them, and them us.  Working with other businesses on social media can also help get your content out to people you wouldn't reach normally.

    An image is worth a thousand words and people seem to love images on social media.  Use great imagery and video to attract attention and cause sharing  Also, give a link to find out more information. You can't always include all you want to say in 140 characters plus it makes referrals to your website where the real business is done.

  2. Build a Relationship

    One of the best nuggets of advice I've been told about social media is that 'you can have a relationship with a cereal bar'. Or a law firm.  Or a hotel.  Or even a destination!

    Studies show that people are most influenced by personal recommendations so if you can forge a relationship with someone, through social media in this case, they will be more likely to trust you.  Be personal and engaging to foster these relationships, being corporate doesnt always work.  Having some fun with your followers can make great relationships.

    For example, we play #WhereInLincoln each Friday to engage and have some fun with followers.  This also helps to promote Lincoln as we celebrate and talk about Lincoln's regions and what it has to offer.

  3. Join the Conversation

    Another unique aspect of social media is that you can engage with people you might never be able to engage with away from social media.  Search to find what people are saying about you or your business and start a conversation with them.  Share opinions of others that match yours; again, people are influenced more by an individual recommending something than a brand promoting it.