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7 Effective Ways to Get Your Visitors to Share More Photos

I’m sure you’ve heard the old adage, “Sharing is caring.”

But in the world of destination marketing, sharing is currency.

When your visitors share the photos they’ve taken, they’re putting the authentic experiences they’ve had with your brand out into the world. You gain social proof, engagement with your brand, and more sources of inspiration to entice new potential visitors.

Content your customers create for you is also one of the most powerful forms of promotion out there.

So if you want to get seen and heard in your niche, you want to encourage your visitors to share more photos.

Here are 7 ways you can do just that: 

1 | Create a dedicated hashtag for photos and use it to post to your own channels regularly

The first thing you want to do is make sure you’ve got a hashtag people know they can use when posting photos! So put it in your Twitter and Instagram bio, and share your own photos with it too.

Show the social community that you’re active (and love showcasing beautiful photos!).

Buffer recommends posting once a day on Instagram for brands.

Too busy to take a new photo each day? Well, your visitors aren’t!

Take advantage of the photos they’re already sharing, and, if they give permission, repost them. And this is where your hashtag can come in handy:

effective-ways-to-get-visitors-share-photos-ottawa

2 | Engage with people who are posting about you

What’s the difference between talking to a) a human vs. b) a pet rock?

Well for starters, a human responds and reacts to what you say. A human is fun to talk to. You’re more likely to keep talking to a human.

It’s simple: the more you engage with people that are talking about you, the more people are going to talk to you.

Whether it’s an Insta photo or a tweet you’re mentioned in, shoot a quick like or comment, and keep the conversation around your brand going!

Because it can seem daunting to reply to every single mention or interaction, Tourism Toronto actually uses CrowdRiff to help do this at scale.

effective-ways-visitors-more-photos-toronto

Your active engagement shows that you’re listening, and that encourages people to keep sharing more.

3 | Get a boost from influencers

Influencers have the ability to reach different followers from you. Working with them expands your reach and visibility.

But how can they help you get more user-generated content?

Hashtags and locations that influencers share photos of get a lot of visibility, so the more influencers invested in your location or destination, the more prominent you can become.

So once you identify influencers you want to work with, here are some things you can consider doing:

  • Ask them to share a photo with your hashtag at a landmark or business you want to promote
  • Invite them to do a social media takeover (Destination BC hosts some amazing ones on their Instagram!)
  • Invite them to a special promotional event (maybe that’s a food/coffee crawl, a preview of an exhibit, etc.) 

The Guggenheim Museum in New York City has developed a masterful strategy for that last idea.

When a new exhibit is about to launch, the museum organizes meetups of social influencers and members for a preview. Only 20 people are allowed, and they’re given free reign of the halls to snap photos  that will be seen by millions, and generate excitement to entice new visitors to come explore the exhibit for themselves.

4 | Reward people for using your official hashtag and posting photos

Now this doesn’t (neccessarily) mean sending a prize to each person who shares about you.

Something as simple as a “Thanks for sharing!” or “Nice pic!” that you leave on their photo will do the trick.

This shows that you’re engaged with the community, and encourages people to keep sharing what you’re offering.

Another way to reward users is to re-share their photos and posts, with permission, to give them some extra visibility. Hosting a gallery on your website to feature your favorite visitor photos on your site is one of our favorite ways to recognize and showcase these images. 

museums-use-crowdriff-connor-prairie

This kind of engagement shows that you value what people are sharing. And that’s great encouragement to keep sharing more photos.

5 | Start a Photo of the Day/Week social campaign

Once a day (or week) choose one great visitor photo you want to highlight, and share it! It’s an easy way to both promote your destination, and incentivize people to share great photos. 

Visit Houston does an excellent job of encouraging visitor photos by sharing a #PhotoofTheDay with their 64,000 followers on Twitter.

Not only does this encourage tourists, locals, and prospective visitors to post beautiful images of the city, it gives great local photographers a reason to really strive to capture Houston in its best light.

Top tip: If you’re reposting a photo, ask for permission in advance, and remember to give photo creds!

6 | Ask great questions to solicit photos

Sometimes all it takes is a little prompting to get that photo activity rolling.

You can tweet something as simple as, “What’s your go-to spot at [your destination]? Show us your photos and tag us with #hashtag!”

The Wellcome Collection, a museum in London, goes one step further by inviting its visitors to share their thoughts on the permanent Wellcome Medicine Man exhibit on social media, with the prompt “This makes me feel…” and the hashtag #MuseumFeels.

Museum staff then print out their favorite responses from Instagram, and display them on clipboards inside the exhibit.

It gives visitors both the inspiration and incentive to share meaningful photos of their experience with the museum. 

7 | Create photo-ready spots

Nothing prompts people to snap an Insta pic faster than a dedicated photo-op spot with a hashtag.

The beautiful Distillery District in Toronto has quite a few popular sites that people love taking photos at — like in front of their iconic LOVE installation.

Loved when @rocketman3_ was here to pose for my photos! 📷 #seetorontonow

A photo posted by Shri (@shridevij) on

Taking advantage of this, Glade created a similar sign, saying JOY, and strategically placed the punny hashtag #feelglade in front of it.

The result? Thousands of photos about Glade shared to Instagram.

Think about creating a dedicated photo sharing spot the next time you host an event or festival. And in many cases, you could even consider a permanent hashtag sign to an already popular photo-spot.

Now it’s your turn

Asking your visitors to take and share photos doesn’t have to be a game of cat and mouse.

Take these easy tips and watch as your visitors get excited to share more photos.

Happy sharing!

For more helpful tips and tricks on visual marketing, visual influence, and social media, subscribe to our bi-weekly newsletter!

*Updated post. Originally published Oct 26, 2015

Zac Gribble on Digital Analytics for Destination Marketing

Zac Gribble is a Director of Media Technology at RTO4 and won the Innovation Initiative award at the SoMeTUS conference for his work in destination marketing. We spoke with him shortly after his win about what he’s learned about storytelling for DMOs and digital analytics for destination marketing. He shared some valuable insights, which we’ve turned into five useful tips that you can take away and implement for your DMO.

Tip #1: Build a Digital Operations Dashboard

When we have increased engagement on channels like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram what does it mean for our bottom line?

A digital operations dashboard is a great tool for answering that question. It helps marketers to step back from day-to-day activities and get a holistic view of how efforts are contributing to the bigger picture.

Your digital operations dashboard should reflect what’s important to your DMO. For some, engagement or time on site is a key metric, for others, it’s driving traffic to local businesses.

If the idea of setting up a dashboard is intimidating, don’t worry. You can start with something as simple as a spreadsheet and eventually graduate to a more sophisticated custom tool. What matters is that you are tracking your efforts in a way that you can see what matters at a glance.

By benchmarking and paying attention to your key metrics, you can start adapting best practices around destination marketing analytics.

Tip #2: Close the Loop to Connect Digital Activities to Sales

As a DMO, you have great stories and content. They are on your site and social media channels and are highly sharable. But where do these stories lead? DMOs often think that social is only for sharing content created elsewhere. For example you might share your destination’s blog content on Twitter or tell visual stories on Instagram that help create more awareness.

For some destinations – smaller ones in particular – general awareness isn’t enough. Your social media efforts need to have a tangible impact on results like increased foot traffic or bookings. You need to close the loop and tie those social media storytelling initiatives to something you can track beyond simply sharing.

The key here to is to look for patterns. For example, what are the results of a big Instagram campaign with shared content? How much sales resulted during that period from Instagram?

“Social-to-web as a metric is a fantastic starting point and it’s easy to track. Google Analytics will tell you how much social traffic you have from all the channels you’re on. It’s a great, simple starting point.” – Zac Gribble, @ZedGee73

Tip #3: Improve Conversions by Giving Your Social Stories a Call to Action

Zac pointed out that, “Destinations usually link to a DMO site because it’s their job to have an aggregator site listing everything there is to do. But if you target a story to a highly niche audience, you should link it to the most logical and useful landing page from the visitor’s perspective. Often this means linking to a 3rd party tourism operator’s web page instead of the DMO site.”

As a DMO, you may feel like you have to treat all the local businesses and operators equally.  Zac encourages DMOs to decide which operators resonate with a particular campaign and have a unique story that corresponds.  Use a Call to Action that is specific to that story, rather than a generic one. For example, if you are doing a story on the great craftspeople in your city, link to the top 5 stores that carry handicrafts, rather than sending a link to your destination’s homepage.

“The best DMOs always think from the visitor’s perspective. What happens after the click on a social media story? Is the landing page relevant and on-message? Is it useful? Is it fun? Does it continue the conversation?” – Zac Gribble, @ZedGee73

How do you demonstrate the value of this to your local operators? Ask them what business metrics matter to them, and draw the connection between your activities and their metrics. This helps them to understand that if they participate in unique shared stories and participate in the larger destination’s common voice while telling these stories, the whole destination benefits.

Tip #4: Do Small Measured Tests

Social storytelling is typically very low cost and it is easier than you think to do small measured tests.

Start by making a list of the Top 3 results you want to drive with your digital campaigns. Then make a list of potential campaigns you could try that correspond with your key goals (this is a great activity to do with your team).

Let’s say you have a list of 10 campaigns for each result. Ask yourself how you can run a small test before investing time and resources into a full blown campaign.

For example, maybe you want to run a social media contest around waterfalls in your region. Run a small experiment by running Instagram ads for a week to see how people respond.

Zac recommends doing a $5 paid social media test to get feedback from your user groups. Go for the low hanging fruit and find a really unique story with one of your operators. Then leverage that story using a highly targeted, low-cost social media post promotion, track the results, and determine whether it makes sense to go forward with a larger scale effort.

Tip #5: Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment

DMOs should provide operators with materials to tell their own stories better. This could be photography, video and other visual assets. DMOs should also help operators to use their social media channels to try to amplify that story and track and measure what happens on those social channels and their website.

At the same time, DMOs should experiment with those materials to tell that same story but also link it back to that operator’s landing page which must be friendly and have a good call to action.

To run an experiment like this, Zac recommends that you find a progressive tourism operator with share-worthy stories who is willing to co-create content and share analytics and reporting.

At CrowdRiff, we’re here to make it easier for destinations and their visitors to find and share photos that matter so that they can tell the stories that matter. Ready to tell your story?

Header Image Credit: SOMET Facebook Page

3 Takeaways From Tourism Academy 2016

We’ve just returned from beautiful Philadelphia where we spent two action-packed days at the 2016 Tourism Academy conference which we were proud to support as a key sponsor and as a presenter with our client Visit Stockton.

We're soaking up the best of @visitphilly while attending #tourismacademy #lifeatcrowdriff

A photo posted by CrowdRiff (@crowdriff) on

 

Tourism Academy is an event hosted by our friends at Tempest Interactive Media for forward-thinking travel and tourism professionals. This year over 150 destination marketers from DMOs of all sizes came together to learn, make new connections and spend time with industry friends.

Here are some highlights from the conference that any destination marketer can benefit from, whether you attended or not.

3 Key Takeaways from Tourism Academy 2016:

Content is more than what you create, it’s a way to build community

Brian Matson (@BVMatson) from Two Six Digital gave a talk on how DMOs need to be the authorities and publishers of relevant content. Our take on his presentation:

  • It’s not enough to just create content. What you really need is to create a culture of sharing, and use content to build a community around your destination.
  • Create clickable stories like the smart folks at Ypsi Real. They asked their social media followers for their favourite burger spot, got tons of recommendations, and then shared the Top 3 Burger Spots with a click through to follow the restaurants’ Instagram pages. This is  a great way to promote the people who are sharing your destination; they love the recognition, and it drives new awareness for your local businesses.

Travel is emotional, and Instagram is a collector of emotions

You may have already heard the news that Instagram crossed its 500 million users mark last week. That number would not be a surprise to Joe Giessler (@thejoehio) from TourismOhio (@ohiogram), who spoke about Building a Successful Instagram Program Without A Budget

  • Travel is emotional – people experience joy, happiness, anticipation and excitement, as well as a shared experience and social connectivity. But how many destinations are really tapping into that emotion? For starters, use Instagram to build awareness and drive engagement.
  • Joe shared some great tactics as well, such as using links in your Instagram bio, instead of in your caption. The former drive 132% more click throughs to Ohio.org. He also suggested creating blog content around different themes with pictures pulled from Instagram. (Like our Ten Portland Instagrammers We Love post)
  • Advertising on Instagram is a good fit for DMOs, but it is a better channel for engagement goals (measured by your likes) than conversion-based goals like click-throughs. Joe found that for Ohio.org, Instagram had a much lower cost-per-like than Facebook, but a much higher cost-per-click

Destination Marketing Organizations are really Destination Media Organizations

This clever phrase was coined by the video panel discussion, where four different DMOs spoke about the power of video for DMOs. They kicked things off with a staggering statistic: by 2017, online video will make up 70% of consumer internet traffic. So what can video do for a DMO?

  • Video can boost email open rates by up to 19%, increase average time on site by 88%, and increase conversion by 80%.
  • While people prefer to watch short videos, you can tell an in-depth story about your destination through a series of short clips. Travel Waterloo has aired more than 40 video episodes over the past 13 months, averaging nearly 10,000 views per episode. They spend $700/week on content production and measure video completion rates as well as total views.

These takeaways are just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to learn more, you can download the presentation slides or check out how CrowdRiff helps DMOs tell great visual stories.

 

Header image credit: Sean Moloney

Ten Portland Instagrammers We Love

Everyone loves seeing the top Instagram accounts in their cities and also in the cities that they are about to visit. It is not as easy to find the best Instagrammers in your destination as it may seem. A very quick way to find the top Instagrammers in your city is to sort them by how many likes their photos get and also by how many comments they get (a feature that is built within the CrowdRiff platform).

Using this feature, we pulled together this awesome list of the top ten Instagrammers of Portland. Ready to get inspired?

 

@rodtrvn

These photos beautifully capture Portland’s great outdoors and their soft colours contribute to the feed’s natural tone.

Eventful mornings in West Glacier.

A photo posted by Rodrigo Trevino (@rodtrvn) on

@jenlikestoeat

@jenlikestoeat is a food author and writer of “Portland’s 100 best places to stuff your face”. She has lots of great pictures of tasty food guaranteed to make your tummy rumble.

Clams Casino pie at #ApizzaScholls–Manila clams, bacon, herbs & plenty of garlic.?

A photo posted by Jen Stevenson ? (@jenlikestoeat) on

 

Pro Tip: We whipped up this blog post in minutes using the CrowdRiff platform, which helps you to identify the biggest visual influencers in your destination. Want to find out who the biggest influencers in your city are?

 

@crippeakasizzler1

This account offers a great mix of urban and nature photos – its feed nicely juxtaposes Portland’s serenity and edginess.

@pnh_

This photographer is a real flower child with a feed featuring lots of florals and beautiful head shots.

fleur.

A photo posted by Paarsa Haft (@pnh_) on

@gemini_digitized

This account features some of Portland’s brightest sunsets and most breathtaking colour blends.

Last night's Pdx slow jam ??? . The sky last night didn't make up its mind if it was gonna skunk until I left the grocery store and this was waiting for me as I headed home ? . Have a beautiful humpday y'all ? Thanks always for the enjoyment ?? . As always check out my friends embedded in this image. Also check the people they tag. That's how we support our friend's! ?? . ?Settings and Suchwhat? @nikonusa D810 Nikkor 24-120mm ISO: 64 Aperture: F/11 Shutter: 1/60th Filter: None Tripod: @mefototripods White Balance: 6200k Raw always raw. Edit: Lightroom/ig . . . #pnwonderland #awesomeearth #1 #2 #sunrise #landscape #pnw #portland #pdx #oregon #nature #ourplanetdaily #discoverearth #gettyimages #community #420 #nikon #d810 #nofilter #fall #autumn #spring #sunset #travelingourplanet #earthpix #earthfever #moodygrams #earthfocus #tlpicks #watchthisinstagood

A photo posted by Nikon / Portland Oregon (@gemini_digitized) on

@rustyrodas

A rescued Golden Retriever is photographed doing human things like reading, gardening and driving – Rusty is definitely the cutest of our Instagram picks!

I have no idea how to read a paper map. C'mon, let's go get lost in adventure. #adventure #letsgo #touristing

A photo posted by RUSTY RODAS (@rustyrodas) on

@jade_melissa

@jade_melissa is a Portland based artist whose feed gives you an authentic peek at the city’s trendy art scene.

I hope your weekend was as fun as ours. Cheers to a productive week ahead ☕️

A photo posted by Jade Sheldon (@jade_melissa) on

@whirlybirdwhitney

This artistic mother who mainly features her adorable, photogenic kids hits a soft spot for all of us here.

@thomasguy

@thomasguy has an artistic eye for simple things – ordinary objects like cars, flowers, houses and skies become so interesting through his lens.

A photo posted by Thomas Guy (@thomasguy) on

@socailtybarbie

@socalitybarbie is an account that was created to poke fun at all of the ‘ridiculous’ Instagram trends by posing Hipster Barbie in photos with hilarious, mocking captions. The account is, unfortunately, no longer active though.

 

Want to be able to pull lists like this for your destination in a matter of minutes? Check out our features.

If you are new to influencer marketing, check out our handy guide to influencer marketing here.

How To Get Started With Influencer Marketing For Your Destination

Influencer marketing is a buzzword in the destination marketing universe right now, but how do you get started with leveraging the popularity of the biggest influencers within your brand’s social network to amplify your brand message?

Understanding Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is the digital art of having powerful social media users market your brand for you by sharing their authentic perspective of it on their own popular social feeds. A study by McKinsey found that marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising (source).

We chatted with Guy Poreh, the CMO and head of customer success at HYPR — an influencer database and marketplace — to exchange ideas on the $8 billion market. He said that thanks to social media, word of mouth really only requires one mouth now: A trusted influencer with great power and reach gives advice that people will listen to and actively engage with. In fact, 92 percent of people would trust a recommendation from an individual, even if they don’t know them, over a brand (source). 

Identifying an Influencer in your brand’s social community

An influencer is a person who engages with their online social media community substantially through retweets, shares, comments, etc. The size and scope of a suitable influencer’s following depends on your destination and its niche. While someone with hundreds of thousands of followers could certainly expose your brand to their followers, if they are not a strong contextual fit, their post may not drive as many actionable leads or engagements as expected (source).

Influencer marketing is already being used by innovative brands in the travel industry, like Visit Fort Worth and Visit Fairfax. Many of them have seen enough success to repeat the tactic and continue to reach out to the influencers of their community.

It’s easier to execute an influencer marketing campaign than you may think. Here is an eight step guide on how to run your own campaign.

How to Develop an Influencer Marketing Plan for Your Brand

1 | Determine Your Goal and How You are Going to Track it

Decide what you are trying to achieve before you select an influencer with the right skill sets and interests to help you.

Are you trying to gather more social proof? Choose an influencer who posts a lot and posts often. If you are trying to increase your destination’s footfall, then choose an influencer who is open to giving a strong call to action to his/her followers to come and experience it for themselves.

For example, our client Visit Fort Worth ran an influencer marketing campaign with the goal of promoting the destination to an extended audience that they had not yet reached. In the campaign, they allowed one local influencer per week to “takeover” the Fort Worth Instagram account by providing one photo and caption per day.

 

The goal of the campaign was to leverage the influencers by promoting Fort Worth to their followers. This allowed the destination to get its story out there to as many new people as possible who were not connected to the Fort Worth social accounts before.

Fort Worth repurposed the content and published the takeover on their official blog, accompanied by 5 questions that the influencers answered about themselves.

Influencer marketing campaign at Visit Fort Worth

2 | Establish Influencer Criteria

Decide ahead of time how you are going to select your influencers. Here are some criteria to consider:

  • Number of followers
  • Follower demographic
  • Number of likes or comments
  • Location
  • Profile aesthetic or style

The Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) has hosted influencer marketing events called #emptyROM, modelled after a similar one put on by the MET in New York. They invited ten lucky Instagrammers to enter the museum before it opened to the public and take pictures to share on their personal feeds. The museum then featured them in its official blog and print magazine.

influencer marketing campaign #emptyROM

The ROM searched for influencers with lots of followers who take beautiful and artistic photos for this campaign.

Alternatively, Visit Fort Worth identified a few individuals who consistently produced beautiful, unique photos of Fort Worth through CrowdRiff and reached out to them to offer a chance to be a part of the campaign.

Pro Tip: Sort your content by number of likes or comments to find the influencers in your network with CrowdRiff.

3 | Determine How You Will Reward Your Influencers

Influencer marketing lets you run a campaign with a unique, targeted audience that often costs a fraction of an ordinary paid social media campaign on Facebook or Twitter. Often, social media figures will be active online regardless of the reward involved because it’s what they love to do.

“There’s no money that changes hands; it’s just a cool experience and the photographers are usually pretty happy with letting us share their photography as long as we credit them.” – Ryan Dodge, ROM Digital Engagement Coordinator.

Fort Worth’s Interactive Producer Jake Sillavan agrees, noting that conducting such an event is worth the effort because, “You are making an advocate for your brand once influencers get excited that you’re featuring their work”.

4 | Reach Out and Get Commitment

After you have a shortlist of influencers you want to work with, reach out to them on the social network that they are most active on and establish contact. Then, privately, invite them to take part in your campaign.

The ROM first announced the concept of their campaign on social media and invited their followers to apply. Then they put together a simple Google Form asking for applicants’ Instagram, Twitter, website and a short 50 word explanation of why they wanted to participate so that they could vet them. 

You can send out an application form for your campaign like the ROM or handpick users who interact with your destination on social frequently. Remember to keep it friendly and professional. Start small for your first test run then experiment with more participants once you get the hang of it.

5 | Benchmark Your Stats

Refer back to the goal you set at the beginning of this process and keep in mind what metrics you are trying to improve. Take note of your current stats — i.e. inquiries, social to web traffic, Instagram followers or likes — so that you can measure success after the campaign more easily.

6 | Execute the campaign

Keep your finger on the pulse and remain invested. Make sure your brand engages with all the posts that the influencer shares and also with people who interact back with them. This can be done by commenting, liking, sharing and following your influencers and the people in their network.

7 | Recap the campaign (optional)

This is a great way to stay involved with your influencers and their followers to keep your destination in customers’ minds after the campaign ends. A great example of this is the #emptyROM feature on the ROM’s blog. Even after the event ended, participants kept sending in their photos that continued to be published on the museum’s blog page to keep generating interest.

Influencer marketing campaign at Royal Ontario museum

Click the image to read an #emptyROM blog post. (Image source)

8 | Evaluate the campaign

Take a look at the before and after stats you recorded to see how they measure against your goal. What was the impact of the campaign? Make notes of what worked and what could use improvement. Don’t be afraid to try something different or a variation of the same campaign next time to make it even better — it will be unique each time with the selection of new participants, which is the beauty of influencer marketing!

When it comes to influencer marketing, we encourage you to be innovative – as artists of social media, influencers appreciate creativity and will be more likely to take part in your campaign if it is fresh, exciting and rewarding.

The opportunities to spread your destination’s story are truly endless with influencer marketing as long as you do it right. 

Influencer marketing with ryan dodge at ROM

#emptyROM’s Ryan encourages everyone to give it a try, concluding that, “Everything is a little scary when it’s new, but once you start doing it more often you get into a groove and you realize what works for you and your community, then it’s really awesome!”

Ready to find your brand’s influencers and get collaborating? We’d love to help! With CrowdRiff’s visual influence platform, it is easier than ever to identify the right influencers, reach out to them, execute the campaign, collect the unique content and repurpose it across all of your marketing efforts.

Our experience with over 80 leading DMOs has given us rich insights we’d love to share with you. To learn more, let’s chat.

 

Additional Resources:

Tourism Academy Conference

Two great companies have come together to help destinations increase their visual influence like never before.

CrowdRiff is excited to announce its partnership with Tempest Interactive Media, and key sponsorship of their leading tourism conference, Tourism Academy.

This partnership is established on one core principle, give destinations direct access to new technologies that make their lives easier. A major focus of this partnership will be how destinations can leverage visual influence to build authority around their brand. Destinations like Visit Stockton, Visit Saint Paul, and Visit Vacaville are just a few who are already pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with Tempest and CrowdRiff.

Tempest’s expertise in the digital space, combined with CrowdRiff’s robust visual influence platform, promises to take destination marketing to the next level.

This is just the beginning for Tempest and CrowdRiff. The full scope of this partnership and how you can directly benefit from it will be unveiled at the Tourism Academy conference. We hope to see you there!

Augmented Reality Meets Social Media At The ROM

The Royal Ontario Museum’s (ROM) most popular selfie spot is its 65 million year old Tyrannosaurus Rex. To provide a more enriching experience for its visitors, the ROM has decided to make the T. rex come alive using augmented reality.

Trex at the ROM Augmented Reality

The ROM constantly seeks opportunities to increase visitor engagement. In an effort to go above and beyond the average social media campaign, the museum has incorporated the use of augmented reality into its newest initiative.

In an institution where living, breathing exhibits are limited, the ROM has utilized the use of video and computer graphics to bring the ancient and mystifying fossilized T. rex to life. The result is a terrifyingly realistic opportunity to go head-to-head with one of the world’s most dangerous predators, and more importantly, an engaging social strategy.

Augmented Reality Makes the ROM More Social

Guests are immediately invited to try the experience upon entering the second-floor exhibit. A monitor, powered by KioskPro, displaying all past encounters with the augmented version of the ROM’s popular T. rex challenges new visitors to try the experience out for themselves.

Trex comes alive at the ROM

Visitors are prompted towards two iPads, which serve as the platform for the experience. The iPads display the fossilized T. rex on screen in real time through its camera. After hitting the start button, a superimposed version of the vicious dinosaur suddenly appears on the screen.

The user is also encouraged to explore interesting facts about the late Cretaceous period carnivore; everything from its diet to how on earth it was able to use its small arms is addressed in a series of pop-up bubbles that appear around the body part in question. Once the user has had his/or her fill of dino facts they are prompted to stand in front of the iPad’s camera to pose with the T. rex (a floor marker has been strategically placed so the user doesn’t miss their mark).

Trex aumented reality at ROM

Test For Success

The ROM’s impressive use of augmented reality in their new social initiative has been largely successful. The encouragement of visitors to email their images to themselves is an excellent lead generation tactic.

About 10% of the approximately 10,000 users who have thus far engaged with the display have agreed to subscribe to the museum’s monthly newsletter. Beyond simply increasing visitor subscriptions, the campaign allows the ROM to improve the quality of photos being displayed on their social media galleries, and it has also allowed them to drum up more effective visitor engagement.

Lexi at The ROM

After the photos are shared on visitor’s social channels, Lexie, the ROM’s social media manager, approves which pictures will go live on the monitor in the exhibit through CrowdRiff. She also moderates which images will be shared on a CrowdRiff powered gallery on the ROM’s website.

Additionally, Lexie engages with the owner of the photos by sending comments and fun facts which are pre-written within the T. rex conversation group inside CrowdRiff. These exchanges have received positive feedback.

The use of augmented reality and photo sharing in the dinosaur exhibit is largely experiential. The campaign has been closely monitored by the ROM’s social media team to evaluate its use in future exhibitions.

As the ROM begins gearing up for the widely anticipated Chihuly Exhibition, which is set to open in June 2016 and is guaranteed to be a very photo driven show, we are likely to see similar interactive social campaigns being utilized. Until then, we definitely encourage you to check out the T. rex Alive experience. Even camera shy visitors will get a kick out of watching toddlers and adults alike feigning fear in front of the ROM’s most popular tenant.

Ah!!! #romtrex @jessjeank @djlex

A photo posted by Sarah Hill (@chouse17) on

The ROM is a global innovator when it comes to museums using social media effectively. Check out our customer story with the ROM to see how CrowdRiff plays a part in their success.

CrowdRiff Sponsors DMA West Tech Summit 2016

CrowdRiff is a proud sponsor of the DMA West Tech Summit this year, held in Anaheim from March 16th to 18th.

One of the best things about being a part of the travel industry is all the great conferences around the world that you can travel to. Our clients highly prioritize attending some key travel conferences throughout the year, and DMA West Tech Summit is one of them.

dmawest tech summit sponsor CrowdRiff

We wanted to lend the power of our platform to the conference and will be powering DMA West’s social wall during the conference. Just share your photo on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #DMAWestTechSummit to see your photos on the DMA West homepage and get involved in the conversation.

This year, we are not only sponsoring the conference but we are also taking some key clients and friends to see the Rangers vs Ducks hockey game! Just imagine a private box, food, drink and good company. Go Ducks!

CrowdRiff DMAWest Tech Summit sponsorship & Anaheim Ducks

We are also offering to buy you a free Starbucks coffee if you book a demo with us at the conference. Make sure you book your demo and grab one of the limited Starbucks gift cards that we have on offer!

Book a demo with CrowdRiff at DMAWest Tech Summit

Looking forward to seeing you at #DMAWestTechSummit. Keep your eye out for Team CrowdRiff and make sure you say “Hi” to them to claim your gift card.

Team CrowdRiff at DMAWest Tech Summit Ducks Game
sales@crowdriff.com

An Actionable Guide To Running A Social Media Contest

Social media contests can skyrocket your brand’s social presence and generate a lot of visual content for your brand. With this step-by-step guide on how to run a social media contest, you can easily execute one and reap all the benefits.

Long-Term Benefits of Social Media Contests

Social Media contests build long-term relationships with your audience. These contests keep working for you over a long period of time and continue to generate content. Just because the contest is over, doesn’t mean that people will forget about your brand or your unique hashtag.

In fact, you may find that they continue to use the hashtag well past the end date of the contest, which means that you have a fresh stream of new images pooling up in your collection.

Now that they are following you, you can continue to interact with your audience and sharing your updates with them all year round. There is no expiration date on this.

Short-Term Benefits of Social Media Contests

In the short term, social media contests generate a lot of buzz and catapult your brand into the awareness of your target audience.

They are a great tactic to grow followers quickly and to explode your hashtag onto the scene.

A Step-By-Step Guide to Running A Social Media Contest

In the guide below is illustrated by incredible photos and real tips and tricks used in a contest by our client, #PictureABQ.

Step 1 | Set a Hashtag

When choosing your hashtag, keep in mind that people will probably continue to use it even after your contest is over. So choose a hashtag with longevity.

The hashtag should be between 10-15 characters at most and be intuitive to use. Ask yourself, would a person actually think of the hashtag and use it intuitively?

Some intuitive hashtags to borrow inspiration from:

  • #(airport code)+now. Example: #PDXnow
  • #thisis+(your town). Example: #thisisCLE
  • #picture+(abbreviation of your town). Example: #PictureABQ
  • #my+(your town). Example: #myhouston

 

 

Step 2 | Define Your Goal

Ask yourself what is your goal for this social campaign. Setting a goal will help you to measure the success of the contest and also to stay focused instead of getting distracted by something shiny in the contest.

Our recommendation is to pick ONLY one or two from the following suggestions as your goal for the contest:

  1. Introduce a new hashtag
  2. Increase the use of your hashtag
  3. Increase followers
  4. Increase comments and engagement with your social profile

If you pick too many goals, then optimizing the contest, tracking it and reporting on its success will become too difficult.

 

Step 3 | Brand Your Social Contest

This is a critical part of the promotion plan for your contest. Make a banner for your homepage and sidebar of your website. Place the branded banners in your newsletter. Promote your contest on you social channels multiple times and don’t be afraid to mention it on a daily basis leading up to and during the contest.

Also, place the link with the contest announcement directly into your bio on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Change your cover image on Facebook and Twitter with a big call to action to join the contest.

Pin your contest to the top of your social feeds. It’s easy to do and many people forget to use this simple trick.

picture abq landing page

Step 4 | Post Your Contest Rules

Post the rules of your social media contest right on the main page where you announce it. Work with your legal team to make it fool proof but also make it easy for your fans and followers to understand.

It is important to do this step right because it will protect you in the future. You can draw inspiration from other brands that have run social media contests in the past.

Step 5 | Set A Timeline

Make sure you communicate when the contest goes lives and when it ends.

You can build up excitement for the launch of the contest well in advance of the contest start date. A few days before the contest ends, you can create a surge in interest with callouts like “Only 2 days left to enter! Don’t miss your chance!” Let everyone know so the anticipation builds. You may even find a spike in entries very close to the end date of the contest.

A few days before the contest ends, you can create a surge in interest with callouts like “Only 2 days left to enter! Don’t miss your chance!” Let everyone know so the anticipation builds. You may even find a spike in entries very close to the end date of the contest.

And what happens after the contest ends? Do the participants know when you will announce the winner? Tell the contestants the exact date when they should come back and check whether they won or not.

Step 6 | Announce & Promote Your Contest

Announce your social media contest on your official blog, post it on all of your social channels, and feature it on the homepage of your website. If you are working with a PR company, ask for their help to promote the contest.

Use your blog and post about the contest multiple times, linking back to the original post where you announced all the details of the contest.

Highlight the contest on all your social channels by putting a link to it in the bio of all your social profiles.

[Pro Tip] Tap into the Instagram influencer community in your area. Invite them to organize an Instameet around your contest and to encourage their followers to participate. You can easily surface the most influential Instagrammers using tools within CrowdRiff.

Step 7 | Engagement

It is important to continue the conversation with your followers even after they have entered the contest. Set up engagement and comments, or write out scripts to make it easy for you to communicate with your contestants.

You should set up four types of engagements or conversation starters.

The first type: For participants.

The second type: For people who you want to enter your contest.

The third type: For people from last year who went to the event (if your contest is around a specific event) in the past.

The fourth type: For people who use other hashtags related to your destination and invite them to enter your contest.

We’ve created a swipe file of over 60 great scripts you can use. Click here to grab them.  60 scripts

Step 8 | Winner

Decide beforehand how you will select the winner. We recommend sorting your entries by the number of likes and comments in its native social network, which you can easily do with Crowdriff.

[Pro Tip] When you sort all the social photos about your brand by the most likes or comments received, you can quickly surface the images that have the most impact for your brand.

 

It’s OK to think of your own criteria and you shouldn’t feel pressured to be completely objective and go only by stats and numbers. If a particular image stirs emotion but didn’t get a lot of native likes and comments, it could still be your winning photo.

A photo posted by Maddy Minnis (@mongobbq) on

This was the winning photo for 2015 in the #PictureABQ contest. Check it out as well as the top 10 photos from the contest here: visitalbuquerque.org.

CONCLUSION

That is the easy part however, and setting up the backend of how you will monitor, promote and manage the contest is more tricky. 

A tool like CrowdRiff can make this easy for you with our advanced search and tagging capabilities and even if you don’t have such a tool, you can run the contest on the backend using a few basic tactics.

Ready to run your own social media contests? Contact us!
GET CROWDRIFF!

The Destination Marketing Strategy of Visit Franklin

One of our clients who we get the most questions about when it comes to destination marketing undoubtedly is Visit Franklin.

franklin

Questions like, how did they get their website to look like that? Who took the photos on their homepage? How did they grow their social following? Can you tell us what their strategy is?

Josh Collins, the mastermind behind marketing at Visit Franklin did a fantastic podcast recently in which he spills the beans about his marketing strategy.

We’ve summarized the best parts from the podcast for you here.

Josh Collins

Josh was featured in The SocialLab Podcast weekly podcast which discusses the latest social media trends and marketing strategies hosted by Bob Hutchins, Jarrid Wilson, and the Buzzplant team.

You can listen to the podcast HERE and pay extra attention to the 22nd-minute mark where CrowdRiff got a mention from Josh!

The story starts off with Jarrid describing his first interaction with the Visit Franklin brand just after he moved to Franklin, Tennessee and tells us exactly how that interaction delighted him!

“My wife and I were brand new to the area, maybe a week living in Franklin, and we went down to this place called The Factory… and as we’re walking around and taking pictures, we’re Tweeting, we’re Instagramming just ’cause we’re excited to be in the Franklin area. We love it. “And I walked by this coffee shop that wasn’t yet finished being built out called Honest Coffee Roasters and I took a picture and said, ‘Man, The Factory is awesome. I’m excited about this new coffee shop.’


“I tagged them and I posted it on Twitter and Instagram and about 5 to 10 mins later I got a notification that Visit Franklin had actually Tweeted back at me and said, ‘Hey! Thanks for visiting The Factory. We’re glad you love living here. Also, check out our website. We featured your Instagram photo on the front page.’

“So, immediately, I go, well let me check out their website if this is real or some automated thing and I check it out. Surely enough, the photo I had just taken of Honest Coffee Roasters was front page of this Visit Franklin website. So I’m going, this is too cool!

Visit Franklin TN homepage and Destination Marketing Strategy

“I viewed that as the representation of Franklin. The people of Franklin love that my wife and I live here and they loved our photography! The people of Franklin decided to put our Instagram photo on their website. So immediately there is this connection of like wow, the people here really care about people visiting Franklin.

“I just thought that was such a great example of an organization or a visitors bureau using social media to connect with people on a deeper level and not just spit out content to them.”

The Destination Marketing Strategy Behind Visit Franklin

One of the key questions in the podcast was how can a brand like Visit Franklin get past the technology and impersonal aspect of it and engage people with the feelings, thoughts, and emotions of a town like Franklin? How do you translate something like that online?

Josh answered by saying that your goal as a marketer should be to treat people like human beings even when your interaction with them is online only.

“Your goal as a marketer should be to treat people like human beings.” -Josh Collins @sixsteps268

Social Media and Digital Marketing often loses its sense of authenticity. Josh stresses the fact that it is important to be a human brand, and this is at the core of Visit Franklin’s strategy.

Visit Franklin strives to be a digital representation of the actual experience that people can have in the town of Franklin. This has always been the brand’s primary goal. Another key strategy that Josh implemented at Franklin was to become a Listening First brand. Through listening, the brand started to learn more about who they are, who their audience is and this informed what they needed to do to connect and engage in very authentic ways.

Listen First

Josh shared his thoughts on how CrowdRiff had helped him to listen to his brand online and to what was being said about by real people. He points out,

He points out, “The current reality is that people are online and they are talking about you whether you want them to or not. The opportunity is whether you want to engage.” 

Visit Franklin tried to figure out how can they get involved in that conversation and how they could be invited into the conversation.

Through a tool like CrowdRiff, they can see how people were talking about Franklin and it was through CrowdRiff that they found Jarrid’s photo about The Factory.

In the podcast Josh says, “It’s so interesting how a piece of technology breathed life into the DNA of Visit Franklin and enabled us to scale the way we connect and engage. And through those, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had interactions just like you Jarrid, over and over and over again. People walk away and they’re like, ‘Man, I can’t believe that! I love Franklin. I took a photo, I Tweeted it and next thing I know, somebody is responding to me and talking to me!”

“It’s so interesting how a piece of technology breathed life into the DNA of Visit Franklin…” Josh Collins @sixsteps268

Every Mention, Pay Attention

Josh paints a picture for us and asks us to think about it this way. If you were to walk down the street and someone said “Hi!”, would you ignore it and keep walking? No, you wouldn’t because that would be rude.   Then why would you ignore it when a person interacts with your brand online?

Be congruent with how you are as a destination, and with how the people in your town are and make sure your brand acts and responds in the same way online.

This means reaching out to people and paying attention to every mention, retweet, favorite and like.

“If your online brand doesn’t mirror your actual brand, people know that.” – Josh Collins @sixsteps268

Where Does Your Brand Come Alive?

If you are still struggling to define the personality of your destination, ask yourself these questions.

Where do you see your organization come alive? Does it come alive when you’re helping people, or when restoring your community, or helping visitors to experience your town in the best way?

When you uncover where you come alive, it will show you what a strategy would be like to engage people online.

Find Out What They Are Longing For

Franklin has a lot to offer to various demographics including a rich historic background. These varied demographics are represented in multiple personas.

Instead of getting caught up in trying to please each individual persona separately, Josh recommends focusing on doing the things that would please all the personas.

Regardless of the demographic or persona, everyone longs for a sense of belonging.

Everyone longs for a place where they can feel like they are seen, heard and known. Through this, they feel loved and ultimately, this is what they are longing for.

Through a smart destination marketing strategy, a personable social strategy and personal engagements, you can give your visitors that feeling.

Through that feeling you create in them, you will connect with people on a base level than profiling them solely based on their demographic.

Everybody Wants To Belong

As Josh mentioned before, everybody wants to be picked. Everybody wants to belong.

To be able to have these meaningful exchanges is one of the most fun parts of what Josh and his team do.

These kinds of human exchanges have catapulted growth for Visit Franklin and continues to pay dividends.

Not to mention that Visit Franklin has become a trailblazer in destination marketing and influencing how destinations are marketing themselves now, from Social Media to content marketing.

Visit Franklin TN Destination Marketing Strategy


Check out the Visit Franklin homepage to see CrowdRiff in action 
Follow Josh on Twitter 
Subscribe to the Social Lab Podcast on iTunes