What’s your primary goal with Kansas City’s social strategy as it relates to tourism?
My primary goal is to build awareness and excitement for KC as a destination (even if you are a local!). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations with locals who have only seen The Nelson-Atkins Museum from the outside or people who say “I haven’t been to [any given attraction] but have always wanted to go.”. These are things that happen in any city, however we’ve seen first hand here at Visit KC that people who love KC are our best advocates. I hope that all the content you see on our social media channels inspire people to get out there and see what KC is all about.
Our city has held the national spotlight for various reasons lately. The World Series being the most recent. How do you create a marketing playbook for such an event?
The World Series example highlights how important it is to actually have a marketing playbook for things such as these! While our recently hosted All-Star Games have resulted in fantastic playbooks when thousands of visitors descend on the city, the World Series is an entirely different ballgame (sorry…that just wrote itself). While we did get a fair amount of visitors and media in from around the country, the biggest audience was the millions watching from all over the country via TV and social media, specifically.
How do you create it? You catalog every last little part of the process you can imagine e.g. At what point in planning did you call printers to get estimates for banners? What’s the budget you can afford to set aside if the Royals make it all the way to the World Series? What happens if they sweep (again)? Which social channels work best for this particular event?
Which social platform has seen the most recent growth? And how are you taking advantage of it?
Twitter has grown the most in terms of followers and engagement over the past year. With Twitter, we see great gains in followers during major events in KC (All-Star Games, the Big 12 Tournament, Restaurant Week, the Royals heading into the World Series). While it’s easy to get excited by that fact, it’s what happens after a big gain that’s most important. We continue to tell the #KC story. We are so much more than one sport, one type of cuisine. And we’re certainly more than flyover country! So we share everything KC has to offer with followers both old and new and invite the city’s fans to spread the message and share their pride.
With half your audience on social channels being locals, how do you turn them into advocates to extend your message?
To be honest, I think the reason Visit KC social has grown so much in recent years is the fact that Kansas City already had tens of thousands of advocates before social became what it is today. Now they just have more outlets in which to share that love.
Right on the heels of Twitter, Instagram has more than doubled its followers in the past year and the #instakc hashtag continues to be a great success. We share others’ #instakc photos almost as much as our own. That hashtag is practically a love letter to Kansas City and shows off locals’ and visitors’ excitement for what there is to discover here. The most recent #instameetKC, hosted by @igkansascity at @nelsonatkins, was the highest-attended instameet event yet with over 60 people gathering on an unseasonably warm day in February.
What is your latest epiphany?
The buzz around Pinterest’s growth among social media users is hard to ignore these days. I read a recent prediction that it will be used by 30% of all social media users within the next 3-4 years. For the travel industry this is huge for one particular reason: Pinterest, more often than not, is an aspirational platform. Users are sharing photos of things they want to acquire, goals they want to achieve and places they want to visit. In the case of travel, it’s all about acquiring experiences and memories (and maybe a scarf and a delicious cocktail while you’re at it).