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This year’s #SoMeT15AU was held in (rainy) Sunshine Coast. After hearing about how great it was this year, it was time for a trip back into ‘conference-world’.

#SoMeT15AU is all about Tourism and Social Media – an opportunity for those in the tourism industry to learn how social media can complement their current marketing efforts. I know we’re not exactly in the tourism industry but as a digital agency, we want to be sure we’re across our (current and future) client’s industries as well as the digital world.

There were over 20 speakers in the two days, so I won’t elaborate on each presentation. Below are some of the key takeaways from the two days in Caloundra.

Session: Building a brand that people want to share – I amsterdam
Cherel Van Dam, Amsterdam Marketing, @charelvandam

  • 60% of people who have taken a photo of the I amsterdam sign have seen it from a friend who has taken a photo. – This stat shows you how digital and word of mouth (WOM) are a perfect partnership. While WOM was once literally talking to people face-to-face or over the phone, it has now expanded into sharing across social channels. People are sharing their experiences with more of their network through channels such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
  • The installation of the I amsterdam sign has helped increase brand awareness for the city. Once thought of as a town centre with flowers, people and clogs… something any tourist could envision for a great number of locations. – Is there something that is part of your brand or company that can make it stand apart from those in the same industry? Why not take the opportunity to showcase it!

Session: Conversations, conversation and confrontation: using social media for social capital
Susan Sullivan, Bond University, @SocialSue

  • Everyone has a social media toolbox. What you shouldn’t have in that toolbox is a hammer. – Social media efforts take time, it’s not an overnight fix for any problem. Plan, create and nurture your social channels.
  • Return on Relationships – One of the fun aspects of social media is that it’s social! Before these platforms, many marketers only had the opportunity to take AT their audience, not WITH. If you want feedback, bring in a focus group. While you’re nurturing your social media channels, don’t forget to build relationships with your audience. Effective use of social media should focus on ROR {return on relationships}, not ROI… that will follow over time.
  • Just because someone likes your page… – Quality community over quantity of community. In my early days of social media marketing, it did take me a while to jump ship from quantity to quality but when I did – man, it was powerful! Would you rather have 10K fans like your brand on a social channel and hear crickets when you post or 500 fans like your brand and hear the chatter for days? You’re choice – I’ll be over with the chatterboxes.

Session: Next-level social media thinking and video content
Aaron Nissen, Destination Think!, @anissen

  • People are very focused when consuming video on their mobile phones. – This one basically speaks for itself. There is a lot of talk about second and third devices when watching TV but when there is a video playing on a mobile device, people are zoned into that video. It’s an opportunity to really tell your story without any distractions.
  • Facebook and video – You’ve already seen Facebook give preferences to videos that are uploaded natively (compared to sharing a link). Be on the lookout to more video updates from Facebook, they seem to have their sights set on video this year.
  • Don’t be all things to all people. – The saying goes – don’t be a jack of all trades and king of none. I think this can apply to the content you share as well. Remember to listen to your audience, take the time to figure out what their needs are and fulfil them.

Overall, remember…

  • Digital Marketing is Smarter Marketing
  • Whether you like it or not, there is a system that is scaring you (i.e. TripAdvisor, Yelp, Foursquare)
  • Mobile isn’t the future, it’s now
  • Total experience of your destination = sum of the product experience + external contacts + internal contacts
  • A brand is a collection of stories

 

SoMeT15AU - Team SA
Team South Australia at #SoMeT15AU celebrating a TripAdvisor Award.

 

SoMeT15AU - Iamsterdam
60% of people who have taken a photo of the I amsterdam letters has seen it from a friend who has taken a photo.

 

SoMeT15AU - Australia Zoo
Australia Zoo and friends made a visit to #SoMeT15AU.

 

SoMeT15AU - Memes
We all love memes. The perfect end to #SoMeT15AU.

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