Beyond Brand Advocacy: How Visit Frisco Uses UGC to Promote Its City

July 9, 2019 Wesley Lucas

Beyond Brand Advocacy: How Visit Frisco Uses UGC to Promote Its City

I didn’t need to be convinced about the instrumental power of user-generated content (UGC) coupled with a powerful tool like CrowdRiff. Prior to joining Visit Frisco, the destination marketing organization (DMO) for Frisco, Texas, in 2016 as communications manager, I’d used CrowdRiff’s suite of UGC marketing tools at the Grapevine Convention & Visitors Bureau where we were one of CrowdRiff’s first DMO clients. 

In my role as Visit Frisco’s communications manager, I oversee all of our social media efforts, as well as manage media relations and our digital editorial content.

I loved the CrowdRiff platform when I was at Grapevine, and on my very first day at Visit Frisco, I told my director we had to have it here. I knew that, in order to do my job well and efficiently, I was going to need CrowdRiff. CrowdRiff makes discovering UGC so much easier than any other platform I’ve used before. The platform is easy to use, easy to navigate and CrowdRiff’s customer service is second to none.

It’s such a great way to get UGC integrated into our site, but it also makes a lot of things easier: connecting and engaging with folks, finding good content, and keeping up with social media. CrowdRiff saves us so much time and unnecessary stress.

Creating brand advocates with #iHeartFrisco

One of the best examples of our success in using CrowdRiff to feature UGC on our various channels was when we launched the #iHeartFrisco social media campaign in 2016. The purpose of the campaign was to inspire those who live, work, and play in Frisco to share their love for the city, and to inspire travel to our growing and exciting destination. The success of the initial campaign led to us acquiring #iHeartFrisco “sculptures,” which are located throughout the city. These have created several photo-ops for the #iHeartFrisco message to continue to be shared.   

These sculptures are now some of the most Instagrammed spots in town and today, we have six different sculptures throughout the city, all of which are customized to where they’re located. 

No matter where you are and whatever heart sculpture you see, you get that interaction. We’ve been able to engage with people who live here as well as visitors.

Without CrowdRiff, we wouldn’t have been able to see as many pictures come through, but because we were using CrowdRiff to track that hashtag, we could see them come through immediately. It helped us with tickets and gift giveaways, too. 

It’s more than just brand advocacy; we think of it as “the gift that keeps on giving” because people are still sharing content with that hashtag three years later.

It’s really picked up and taken off, and we no longer consider it to just be a campaign anymore—it’s part of our annual strategy and we continue to share that message.

The power of UGC in our overall marketing strategy

Digitally, we’ve used UGC in several ways and using a platform like CrowdRiff has been a huge help, especially with managing content rights and finding the right assets.

Using CrowdRiff has helped us in numerous ways. Not only have we been able to better tell our story through UGC on our website and social media channels, but we’ve been able to better connect with our visitors and influencers, which has allowed us to engage on a much more personal level.

First, we have a CrowdRiff UGC header on almost every single page on our website. We find that visitors on our site are more inspired by what others have discovered throughout our city. 

We have a CrowdRiff UGC header on almost every single page on our website.

Secondly, through assets discovered using CrowdRiff, we’ve completely enhanced our social media presence and we are re-sharing UGC on almost a daily basis. That UGC is also being used in print materials like our visitor guides, to showcase shopping, dining, and various attractions throughout Frisco.

At the moment, we’re also redesigning our website, and moving the UGC gallery from being just a footer to having more prominent placing on the homepage.

We’re also using CrowdRiff to help us with influencer marketing and to connect with influencers we didn’t know we had. One of the biggest successes for us has been connecting with local influencers and CrowdRiff has definitely been a huge factor in that. On a daily basis, we see amazing assets coming through from influencers/bloggers we have not yet connected with. We’re able to engage with them through the platform and then connect offline in hopes of cultivating a relationship and collaborating together to share Frisco with others.

The platform has also helped us connect to more of our tourism partners via the new connected business account feature. Not only has it increased the number of assets we see, but has allowed us to better connect with our business partners and better enforce the message of who we are and what we do. We’ve been able to connect with partners we weren’t yet connected with. 

What makes CrowdRiff so useful

CrowdRiff has been an incredible tool we can have and we can pull from, and to be honest, I think there are even more things we could be doing with it though.

But one thing I really do appreciate about it is the quality of customer service that we have with CrowdRiff. Having high-quality customer service where you can send an email and quickly get a call or email right back. That’s a huge priority for me when it comes to working with different platforms, and CrowdRiff’s service has always been top-notch. 

My advice for other marketing peers is that when you’re looking for different marketing platforms, ask for references from your peers. When something goes wrong and you don’t have assistance or help, that can hinder our jobs as destination marketers.

Platforms like CrowdRiff will make your job as a destination marketing organization that much easier. 

Social media is a full-time job in and of itself, and having something like CrowdRiff takes away that time and pressure. Brand awareness is one of our biggest goals and one of our top priorities, especially since we’re a relatively small destination in a big market. Communication with people on a daily basis is a constant and CrowdRiff makes it so much easier. 

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