New Mexico Tourism Talks Social Media

@nmtourism on Twitter.

Recently, I highlighted an epidemic of tourism organizations starting social campaigns without the basic goal of communication (Why Destinations Still Don’t Get Social Media) via a specific example with New Mexico Tourism, Twitter and a lunch request.

42 comments later, a follow-up post was in order with a focus on how destinations similar to New Mexico Tourism should address, approach and interact with social media.

For our interview, we spoke with Diego Arreola, the Social Media Director & Mexico Tour Trade Manager at New Mexico Tourism.

Our original post highlighted the challenges with social media for all CVBs and DMOs, did you agree with the idea of social ‘always being on’ or does New Mexico Tourism take a different perspective?

As a government agency, the idea of “always being on” isn’t always feasible. As we develop our social media plan we have to be realistic in the limitations of our staff. We think that an 8:00 to 5:00 approach is sufficient for the beginning stages and upgrade to a full-time presence as we develop our strategic plan. With multi-platform software out there it will be easy to be on top of social media.

Obviously the social media strategy for New Mexico Tourism is in transition…can you tell us where it began and where you would like to see it go?

It began with the new vision of our Cabinet Secretary Monique Jacobson. Her goal was to introduce the New Mexico Tourism Department into the 21st century with this new medium. She has been adamant about developing the overall and specific strategy carefully. Her private sector experience has proven invaluable to this agency and to the role that social media will play.

Tell us a bit about the overall marketing goals for New Mexico…and how a tactic such as social media would be selected to help complete that goal.

We are currently developing our overall marketing goals and will continue to be a work in progress, but I can tell you that social media will play a pivotal role in the development stages and will depend on the success of it.

Is New Mexico looking to maintain internal management or outsource some of the social work to an agency?

For the time being we will keep our efforts internal. We are in the process of educating our managers of the importance of social media. We are not indifferent to the idea that at some point we might have to outsource our efforts.

What is your policy (official or unofficial) on social media?

The policy of our social media efforts is still being evaluated.

How are social responsibilities divided between the New Mexico Tourism staff?

As we develop our strategic plan I will be in charge of all social media efforts and guide our other program managers to be more involved. As we assess our capabilities we might include more people into our team or outsource our efforts. But I am confident that the New Mexico Tourism Department will make the right decisions.

Have the recent fires in the state changed your approach to content and information via your social channels?

As a government agency, we were very concerned with the fires around the state. We have posted information with frequency about latest updates as well as dedicated websites that have the most detailed information. Since the fires, a lot of our posting (especially in FaceBook) have been about humanitarian efforts. We have received great responses from all over the world about the fire situation and have passed on those sentiments to the fire departments.

What is New Mexico Tourism’s biggest challenge in implementing a social media strategy?

The biggest challenge is to prove to the world that New Mexico is truly the land of enchantment. Not all of our industry partners see the value of social media and it is our job to show them how easy it is to get their message out and increase their business. The ever changing technology is also of concern, we don’t want put all our eggs in one basket.

Which states or destinations do you look to for social media inspiration?

We acknowledge that the State of Colorado has done a terrific job in developing their social media platforms and getting their message out to its resident and the world.

We would love to have the success of such States like Colorado and California, but we are also realistic that it will take time and effort to accomplish this.

First and foremost, thanks to Diego for taking the time to chat with us.  It would have been much easier to ignore our request, but he made the decision to be responsive and transparent.  Kudos Diego, greatly appreciated.

As for the answers, I wish there was a bit more to build on this conversion.  Overall, I think this Q & A highlights the need for destinations and tourism organizations to build, at minimum, a basic strategy before starting a social campaign.

Social is no longer an experiment, it is an expected component of your customer service communications.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.