How to use the big WOW
Secret Social Media strategies of an Australian DMO
“Our existing customers are our best marketers”, says Heidi Sorvig, CEO of Visit Sorlandet, a small DMO in the south of Norway. With this statement she points to the effect that visitors have when they speak about their ‘WOW experience’ on their social media (SM) channels.
Making use of the effect of satisfied tourists is by far the most important part of a good SM strategy. In our own experience in Europe, Latin America, Asia and Africa however, it turns out that many Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) and Tour operators deploy far too few satisfied customers that talk about their tourist experience and destination on social media. DMOs and tour operators are still busy sending out and controlling all content on the SM channels. By doing this, DMOs and tour operators are missing a gigantic opportunity to market their destination effectively.
Because it`s really simple. A message of a friend, on for example Facebook, that shares his WOW experience including a picture is much more credible and effective in convincing his friends than a hired professional photographer and text writer. An inspiring example that illustrated this is the social media policy of the Australian tourism promotion organisation.
Best practice Australia
In mid 2011 Australia Tourism changed its Facebook concept by letting their biggest fans take care of their Facebook pages. The content was no longer produced by the SM team of Australia Tourism, but by the tourists that were visiting and the local Australian people. It went from one-way traffic to dynamically crowd-sourced content with fans. It seems as if more than 100 people are working at the SM team of Australia, but in reality there are only 3.
The result of this approach was an explosive growth in reach and engagement. In just 3 months’ time the number of fans went from 1 to 4 million. At the moment Australia Tourism has more than 6 million fans.
Friday Fan photo album
A nice example are the Friday Fan Photo Albums. Every day more than 1000 pictures are being send to the social media team of Australia. People see it as a great honor if their photos are being posted. Even professional photographers take part in the competition to get recognition and exposure.
To sum it up, from the Australia Tourism example we can clearly see that in determining your social media strategy you should see the input of satisfied tourists as the key success factor.