As the pandemic unfolds, local businesses have been amongst the hardest hit. With regular foot traffic essentially at a standstill, many businesses are trying to forge ahead in this new world.
DMOs have also been doing their part to help. For many, supporting and promoting these businesses is their greatest priority right now. Whether that’s maintaining a list of restaurants offering takeout, resharing their content on social media, or running contests that offer gift certificates as prizes, we’ve seen a ton of helpful ways DMOs are doing this.
That's why we put together this guide. Many of our customers are using CrowdRiff to support their partners and communities, so we decided to compile all their strategies in one place. This guide will give you a complete overview of the different ways you can use CrowdRiff to promote local businesses right now, including step-by-step instructions for each task.
Here's what we'll cover:
- Review your social trackers
- Track new hashtags initiated by your community
- Discover more relevant partner content with Connect
- Create saved searches to quickly find content
- Create website galleries to showcase local partners
- Add Google Locations to your images
- Use Public Uploader to collect unique content or run contests
- Leverage CTAs to drive traffic to partner pages
If you’re already tracking partner content, take a moment to review your Social Trackers to ensure they’re bringing in the right content. Remove any trackers that aren’t bringing in the type of visuals you need right now, and add new ones that bring in partner content.
As a refresher, there are a couple of ways you can track partner content in CrowdRiff:
- Track their hashtags on Instagram and Twitter
- Track their Instagram Business Accounts
- Track their Facebook Pages
- Track their usernames on Twitter
Chances are, most of the local businesses you’re supporting will have at least one of the above options to track (and they’ll likely have most or all of them). Tracking as much of their social content as possible means you won’t risk missing any updates or new posts.
Once you have their content, you can start to use it throughout your own initiatives, like on your social channels (if you get the rights) or website update pages.
Tip: You’re limited to tracking 30 Instagram hashtags and 100 Instagram Business Accounts in CrowdRiff. While you’re reviewing your Instagram trackers, make sure you’re prioritizing those that are most important to you and bringing in the most appropriate content right now.
While you’re tracking partner content, make sure you’re also tracking any new hashtags that have been initiated during the pandemic (or that you’ve created). That way, you’ll have timely and relevant social posts coming into your library.
Track these hashtags the same way you tracked partner content, in the Social Trackers settings in CrowdRiff.
Tip: Make sure you’re promoting any new hashtags you create. Add them to your social media bios, email newsletter, and your website.
Louisiana Northshore uses galleries to share business updates
Louisiana Northshore is encouraging businesses to use the hashtags #LANorthshore and #TammanyTaste so they can feature them on their business operations
They've included CTAs on a few images where people can read more information or take a virtual tour of the business and surrounding area.
Connect lets you go one level deeper than tracking hashtags or Instagram Business Accounts, and lets you access even more relevant content from each of your partners.
Share the link to your Connect portal with your partners to bring in more user-generated content and help them get more exposure.
When they click the link to your portal and authorize Connect, you’ll see the following content in your own CrowdRiff library:
- Their Instagram posts and Stories
- Photos or videos they’ve been tagged or @mentioned in
This lets you discover highly relevant imagery for each of your partners. As businesses are tagged or @mentioned in photos by engaged locals, you’ll see and be able to repurpose that content.
For example, let’s say a brewery delivers a case of beer to a local resident. Thrilled with the service and wanting to share their support, that resident takes a photo of the delivery and posts it to Instagram, thanking the brewery and tagging them in the post. If you’ve connected with the brewery, that photo would appear in your own CrowdRiff library. You could then reshare it on your social channels (if you get the rights) or add it to a website gallery showcasing businesses that are offering delivery.
Now that you’re tracking partner content, make it as easy to find as possible.
When you’re consistently searching for the same type of visuals, saved searches cut down on the time it takes you to get to them. Rather than having to type out the same search every time you need to find photos of, say, takeout from a local restaurant, you can just create one saved search that has all your requirements for those photos. Then, you just click that search every time you need new imagery.
Build a couple of different saved searches that include keywords and hashtags that will help you find content to support your partners. This means you’ll have easy access to the photos and videos posted in your community that include these terms.
To promote local restaurants, create a saved search that includes:
- Terms like delivery or takeout
- Hashtags like #EatLocal
- Location-specific hashtags, like #TrufflesburghEats or #VisitTrufflesburgh (this will ensure that any search that includes a generic hashtag like #EatLocal will only return results that are also from your location)
- Date parameters, so you only get content that was posted after a certain date or within a time period (for example, anything to do with local businesses after your community was advised to shelter-in-place, so you know the content is relevant during this time)
For example, Sudbury Tourism recently created this saved search:
startdate:2020-03-15 (#eatlocal OR #sudburyeats) AND (#sudbury OR #sudburyontario OR #downtownsudbury OR #sudburytourism OR #discoversudbury)
Or, use Rockford Area CVB’s saved partner search as inspiration:
startdate:2020-03-15 (username:@rockford_cravings OR “Abreo Rockford” OR username:@abreo515 OR “alchemy” OR username:@alchemypizza OR “Anderson Japanese Gardens” OR username:@andersonjapanesegardens)
*This search has been truncated for length.
To adapt these searches to your destination, copy and paste the examples into the CrowdRiff search bar and swap in your own partners.
Rockford Area CVB created a giant saved search for their 70+ businesses partners
The team of 2 pulled in recent content from their partners and created a gallery featuring them for one of their COVID-19 resource pages.
You can also replicate the above searches with CrowdRiff’s new Intelligent Search design by inputting your criteria into the search bar dropdown, like this:
Many DMOs have a page on their website dedicated to local businesses, complete with up-to-date information on operations and hours. A gallery can add visual interest to these pages and is a good way to further highlight local shops and restaurants in your region.
- Photos and videos of takeout options from restaurants
- Featured products from local boutiques
- Informational photos that include things like store hours or additional details
- Imagery showcasing businesses doing good, like providing meals to healthcare workers or sewing masks
The visuals you share can entice people to purchase what they see or support local initiatives with a donation. They also inspire local businesses to share more content with you so you can help give them exposure and/or promote special promotions and inspirational stories.
Visit Oceanside uses galleries to show up-to-date information and uplifting stories
Their “Restaurants in Oceanside” page features photos from local restaurants that are still open, imagery that showcases operating hours, and some additional COVID-19 updates.
Their “O’mazing O’riginal O’siders” page is using multiple galleries to highlight local businesses that have pivoted to support their community in new ways, like a distillery making hand sanitizer and a small boutique sewing masks for healthcare workers.
If you haven’t added Google Locations to your photos yet, now is a good time to do it.
Google Locations turn your website galleries into a visual directory, with each photo in a gallery showing business information like hours of operation, address, and website URL.
This makes your galleries even more useful to local residents by providing them with the helpful information they need on the businesses that are still open in their area.
Tip: To ensure the Google Locations data pulled in is accurate, encourage your partners to update their local listing profile.
We've seen some DMOs use Public Uploader in really thoughtful ways—helping showcase specialty menus, highlight good in the community, and run contests with gift certificates to local businesses as the uprising.
To run a photo contest with CrowdRiff, use Public Uploader. It lets members of your community upload content directly to your CrowdRiff library from any device. It’s a good way to source imagery outside of social media and lets locals who don’t have social accounts participate as well.
Here are a couple of contest ideas you could try. Ask people to submit a photo or video of:
- A favorite memory in your destination
- How they’re social distancing
- A restaurant they’ve ordered takeout from
- A purchase they’ve made from a local shop
Showcasing specialty menus with #LouisvilleTakeOut
On their takeout page, Louisville, KY, has provided a simple Public Uploader for restaurant owners to provide specialty menus and photos to be featured in a curated gallery. They're also encouraging people to use the hashtag #LouisvilleTakeOut; so far, there are over 500 photos on Instagram using the hashtag.
Tip: Once you’ve set up your Public Uploader, make sure you’re sharing the link and promoting the contest as much as possible on your social channels, email newsletter, and website.
Another way to support your partners right now is to add calls-to-action to the images in your galleries that feature them.
CTAs can be customized and added to every photo or video in a gallery and can drive action amongst users when they’re most engaged. You can use them to drive traffic to partner pages, websites, or booking portals.
For example, maybe you encourage locals to buy a gift card to a restaurant, spa, or attraction to use at a later date when the time is right. If any of your partners are running promotions right now, like gift card top-ups or discounted products, you can also create CTAs to direct people to those offers as well.
Visit Duluth's interactive gallery on its homepage header
Visit Duluth, MN is using a CrowdRiff gallery with CTAs on every image as its homepage header. The CTAs drive people to things like their 30 Days of Giveaways campaign—they giveaway a gift card to a local partner every day—virtual events at the local zoo, restaurants offering curbside delivery, and more.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful. If you’re using CrowdRiff in other ways, we’d love to know. Head to our Travel & Tourism Community Hub and tell us what your DMO is doing right now to support local businesses.