Tracking Your Social Media & Blogosphere Presence – Part 2
This is Part 2 of a two part response to a question posed by folks from the Wyoming Tourism Office on how to analyze a destination’s social media presence. To read Part 1, click here
Our philosophy at Travel Oregon is similar to that of AOT. We strongly believe that social media provides a level of authenticity and allows us as the “brand owners” to build a deeper relationship with consumers. And so with this in mind, whether soliciting user-generated content for our website, soliciting feedback on a blog posting, or asking our audience to upload and vote on their favorite Oregon vacation videos or just joining in on the conversations taking place on TripAdvisor and the blogs, “engagement” has increasingly become the cornerstone of our online strategy.
Thoughts// Some of the things we’ve done over the past 12 months or so includes starting an Oregon vacation blog that bring consumers authentic vacation stories from Oregon; starting our own social network GoSeeOregon.com that allows Oregon “fans” to talk to each other and make recommendations about where to go and what to do; we’ve also engaged via existing social networks/CGM sites such as YouTube, Flickr, TripAdvisor and Frommer’s.
What we’ve learned at Travel Oregon
To echo AOT again, this level of engagement is a long term process and your objectives and measurement tactics will evolve over time. While there are plenty of tools (see Troy’s post) out there that measure what the blogosphere and other UGC sites are saying, from a destination perspective, the sheer volume of content can be overwhelming.
Online reputation management and tracking conversations from our point of view is a multi-disciplinary PR-Interactive effort that’s managemed by both myself and my counterpart Media Relations manager. It’s a task that involves meticulous management of keywords to track your destination (incidently, these keywords are pretty much the same ones you use to track your “old world” PR), authentic responses and most importantly transparency about who you are and what you do. Some other “do’s and don’t” from our experience in the social space includes:
Keep it real: As marketers and communicators, our first inclination is to “control the message” — with social media, consumers expect “authenticity”…we need to resist the temptation to “edit” consumer comments (barring inappropriate, racist content) or “polishing” content so that it is on par with your flagship site.
Honest: Don’t delete negative reviews! Never, never, never delete them….our philosophy is that every negative review/experience is an opportunity to ENGAGE with a consumers and gleam new perspectives for ourselves and partners.
Fresh Perspective: Use your blog to publish a wide breadth and depth of stories…use a variety of people to do it…such as professionals (staff), partners (CVB members), fans (hard core consumers who love Oregon), opinion leaders (experts such as ski instructors or workers in the industry) and other locals.
ROI? Some Results from Oregon (snap shot only)
Of course every Marketing Director wants ROI! So just for curiosity sake, after about 6 months of “joining in on the conversation” (6 month blogging and 3 months of GoSeeOregon), we used a local e-marketing agency to measure ourselves against a few other states (California, Florida, Pennsylvania) who we thought had sophisticated social media initiatives (sorry Troy, no AZ on this because I think this was done in the pre-Troy period).
We examined both blog aggregators (Technorati, IceRocket, Sphere etc.) and social media sharing sites such as del.icio.us and YahooMyWeb to examine how our content was getting used and how bloggers were linking to our site/content. Here are the results…please contact me personally if you want more detail on this analysis.
The results of this analysis are charted above (I apologize in advance for the resolution). Keep in mind that this is just a snapshot in time for the duration of a few weeks and these data points have no way of implying long term success/failure. Our learnings were:
- Travel Oregon is doing very well in the Blogosphere, with a much higher average of inbound links from blogs than the other states selected for the analysis. Part of our success is the fact that we have a blog to promote in the blog arena and we’ve slowly assembled a core group of fans consuming our feeds
- While there is a decent amount of promotion in the social space for Travel Oregon, we’ve yet to tap the full potential here; we’re addressing this by increasing the number of sharing tools available on our site and also increasing our levels of engagement on other social sites
Finally, consider this “I heart Zippoesque” Oregon story; this one however is not so positive! From Search Engine Guide:
A member of the Bend Moms Club brought her newborn to Balthazar´s, a local Mexican restaurant. Balthazar´s does not keep highchairs on the premises, ostensibly to discourage parents from bringing children. For many reasons, the woman felt mistreated during her dining experience and wrote a complaint to the owner. The owner called the woman and the conversation ended with the owner yelling obscenities at her over the phone. The woman emailed her experiences to all the members of the Bend Moms Club…one of whom included the email with commentary on her Moms Club Blog. Needless to say, this story was picked up by the blogosphere and then eventually picked up by the Bend Bulletin and the Oregonian ! //Read the full story