Linking in with LinkedIn

I went to a fantastic ‘social media facelift’ session in Burnley yesterday – to check that we were still doing the right things and not just keeping up with the Joneses but outstripping them. The guest speaker was Liz Cable from Reach Further. A very impressive and inspirational speaker. Luckily I found myself nodding in agreement most of the time to what Liz was saying.

The session was aimed at businesses in general but the points would apply to you all as tourism businesses. I would encourage you all to read the social media blog from ReachFurther and put into practice the things you learn from it. I’ve always said that for a small business it should only take 10 minutes a day to do this social media ‘stuff’ – and Liz agrees.

This week I’d like you to focus on your LinkedIn profile. This professional network is there for you to get new business. Ensure your profile is an accurate portrayal of yourself personally – and that you add a business profile with this. Link with people you know well and have a look at some other profiles to get some ideas for the content you should reflect in your own profile. Also join groups and get involved. We have a Tourism Businesses in Lancashire Group which you are more than welcome to join.

Come and LinkIn with me and the rest of the staff at the Tourist Board. Ask us questions if you want any help.

Sarah Lundy

Bloggers Block

I seem to be suffering this myself at the moment. Reading this blog entry on Constant Quality Blog Content by Denise Wakeman reminded me of a few things.

Discipline in the blogging world is good. Nodding my head throughout the article I realised that I know all this but have still dropped a few balls recently.

Thanks Denise for reminding me.

I would encourage everyone to read The Social Media Examiner regularly if you are involved in blogging, tweeting, facebooking, flickring, youtubing and all the other SocMed ‘stuff’.

It’s time intensive work. ensure you plan, do and are relevant.

sarah lundy

Giveaway Friday

I’m on the scrounge from our LBTB members!

We’ve recently started giving away ‘stuff’ for social media milestones. The 2010th follower on Twitter received a Pendle Witches DVD, the best May Day memory tweet gets a Lancashire Museums Family pass and the last Friday Giveaway on Facebook got a book on Walks on the West Pennine Moors.

We really like interacting with people in this way – gathering anecdotes, pictures and memories. Could you help us to continue to do this by sending us something to giveaway?

We’re not asking for much. A token, a ticket, a souvenir, a kitsch cool collectable, a book, …………..something from your business.

We will use it on a Friday Giveaway and promote your business as we go!

Send your ‘stuff’ to:

Friday Giveaway,
Lancashire and Blackpool Tourist Board
St Georges House
St Georges Street
Chorley
Lancashire
PR7 2AA

Thanks,

sarah lundy

Twendsetters

As Monday morning dawned in the office this week we had confirmation that there were funds for us to use for a digital promotion.

After a giddy half hour getting excited about breaking boundaries and being innovative we sat down to work out our timelines. The ‘project’ would be to warm people up to visiting Blackpool for the Easter holidays (not forgetting the rest of our lovely area and the months between Easter and Summer). Easter school holidays start on 26 March so we needed to get the campaign going by March 1.

Realisation dawned.
We needed to get an agency appointed within the week. How to go about doing this? How to find a switched on, social media savvy, hungry agency?

Simples.

Tweet it.

So we did.

As a sort of dating advert format.

And as one agency said to us on a tweet –‘@touristboard First Twender I’ve seen. Brilliant and scary at the same time. Blink and you miss it.’

We also took a chance and sent the information to the guys that run the excellent How-Do website. They kindly published it as a news item. Brilliant, I thought, now we have a chance of getting some great agencies prepared to get creative in a really really short space of time.

They were. Alot of them. In fact 43.

So my allocated time of 4 hours to shortlist and draw up a brief for the shortlist pitch on Monday became REALLY intense. Especially as many agencies supplemented the 1 page submission document with HUGE amounts of supporting documentation.

I made it by 4.20pm – calming the awaiting agencies with an interim tweet. My shortlist is 5. We are all really excited as one of these agencies are going to produce the goods for us in a BIG way. I’m looking forward to Monday; but not looking forward to choosing between them.

And guess what?

We’re going to announce the winning agency with a tweet – not a phone call.

Sarah Lundy

That was the (digital) year that was

A small snapshot of our digital year at LBTB.

January
•    Launch of new www.visitlancashire.com
We were over-excited about this as we really really had enough of the ‘children’s yellow’ we had for the site before.  There were some major developments and a radical change of design. In our ponderings on where to put the new things like Social Media we started a new section called GUBBINS – how brilliantly Lancashire.

February
• Set up of Twitter Account www.twitter.com/visitlancashire
Making a commitment to Tweet to consumers before most businesses had thought about why or what they were tweeting (never mind thinking of a strategy) felt very Brave New World. Luckily there are many of you hanging on our every tweet 10 months down the line. Our top tweets so far on Lancashire Day (Nov 27th) got us over 400 visitors to the website.

March
•    Official Launch of www.visitlancashire.com on  Twitter

With no money for a launch and the fact we were getting into our swing with Twitter we thought we would try this new ‘marketing tool’ for our launch. We invited comments about the site and had a great day interacting live to feedback. There was a prize draw of a Flip video recorder drawn from the tweets of the day.
•    Get Inline with Online Marketing Seminar at Stanley House.
No, this wasn’t our top tips on roller skating but the last of a successful series of digital marketing events designed to help tourism businesses in Lancashire progress online. Topics covered included blogging, SEO, online booking and the National Tourism online network. See October for the next incarnation of this event.

April
•    Visit Lancashire Facebook fan page started
We’ve been active on Facebook for a while now and thought it was time to create a fan page rather than having a group. As a fan you’ll be able to follow much of our activity in one glance. Many comments predict Facebook sliding down the same slippery slope of MySpace in 2010. Personally I believe it will still be a valid voice for the year.

May
•    Set up of industry website www.twitter.com/touristboard
After a few months of tweeting it became clear that we had alot to say – and not just to consumers. So we thought we’d decide to speak to our businesses on Twitter too. So far so good – 364 followers and thanks to those who ask us some interesting and challenging questions.
•    Set up of industry blog https://lancashireandblackpool.wordpress.com
Alongside the industry tweets we also set up a blog. The blog is designed to give tourism businesses an insight into the work we are doing at the Tourist Board and also to give top tips on industry news and digital marketing . With over 400 views a month it seems our topical treats are hitting the mark.
•    Release of J’aime la Tour – Blackpool viral video
What could we possibly say about this that hasn’t already been said? Watch it here for the goosebump effect. 12 awards and counting… nuff said!

June
•    Visitlancashire.com nominated for Travel Mole web award.
It was great news to be nominated by this tourism industry online community. Unfortunately we were pipped to the post for the award but it gave us a real spring in our step. I’d heartily recommend entering awards for this very reason (I’d suggest the LBTB Tourism Awards 2010)

July
•    Go Ape Social Media
We were approached by Wolfstar PR to be part of the Go Ape blog influencer project. We gathered a crew of people together who were all bloggers/tweeters and general social media fans and went for a great day at Go Ape Rivington. After alot of adventure we came out with some tweets, 12 blogs, 19 videos and over 100 photos plus some info on Facebook. All these went out into the wonderful world of the Internet to help Go Ape reach their new audiences. We are looking for attractions to work with in Lancashire in 2010 for more of the same…..

August
•    http://www.vistlancashire.com receives its most ever visitors in a month
75,500 unique visitors! Also those visitors are spending more time per visit and looking at more pages each time they visit AND returning more times. Blackpool Illuminations, The World Fireworks Championships, World Volleyball and Lancashire Hotpot were the most popular search terms resulting in a visit to the website. If I tell you we would love to break the 100,000 visitor mark in August 2010 it would be really ambitious but doable?

September
•    Consumer survey conducted on visitlancashire.com
To do our planning for 2010 the most accurate way was to find out what the visitors think and what they would like to see as improvements. We were pleasantly shocked by the amazing results. So we’re planning for the tweaks which will be live by the end of this year.

October
•    Social Media Conference at Towneley Hall
After the successful series on Get Inline with Online Seminars we thought that it was time to move it on. Time to introduce some excellent speakers to talk about Social Media and it’s rise and rise. Thanks to the businesses that attended and have adopted some good practices since. Due to excellent feedback we will be hosting another of these in 2010.

November
•    375 visitors click on to visitlancashire.com from Lancashire Day tweets
We scheduled an early tweet for Lancashire Day on November 27th and it’s a good job we did! Over 200 people has clicked onto our website before 9am. Amazing. We’ve got some exciting events for Twitter in 2010 and would love to be generating this sort of traffic through to the websites of our businesses. Talk to us about your ideas…..

December
•    New branding guidelines implemented on http://www.visitlancashire.com
Consumer branding for VisitLancashire was adopted and reflected in the images and editorial of visitlancashire.com
•    Polling booking engine integrated on http://www.visitlancashire.com giving visitors a comparison online booking tool for Lancashire and Blackpool
Just before we ‘break up’ for Christmas this new development will go live to make it easier for visitors to get a real-time price overview of prices for their stay and to remain on visitlancashire.com to book. Watch this space!
•    Visitlancashire present at the Don’t Panic Strategic Social Media Conference as an example of best practice.
Being invited to speak amongst such auspicious names as McCann Erikson, The Guardian and The Conservative Party about STRATEGIC Social Media as a shining example of best practice was very exciting for us. As you can see, LBTB has embraced the rise of Social Media and is trying to stay at the forefront of developments. It seems that our practical talk about the nuts and bolts of what we do went down a storm. As a result we are taking Lancashire to London in April to show some London businesses how it’s done.


So it’s been a year of rapid website change, huge increase in editorial content, improvement of accommodation and event records, the upkeep of 2 blogs & 2 twitter accounts,  a youtube channel, a Facebook fanpage and a new industry website in the offing. An exciting, interesting and exhausting year. We hope that your business has benefited from some – or all – of this activity.

See you in 2010 – the year that will see the death of marketing.

Join us for the ride.

Sarah Lundy

#stratsm

Yes; that’s a ‘hashtag’ for the Strategic Social Media Conference at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester yesterday.

What an amazing line-up of speakers! We heard from Westminster City Council, McCann Erikson, Wolfstar, MediaEdge, The Guardian, The Conservative Party and Staniforth.

Brilliantly we found ourselves on the line-up to talk to the attendees about our Social Media Strategy  – as an example of best practice!

Visit Lancashire – Strategic Social Media.

Loads more to follow soon as there are so many top tips from the speakers I certainly can’t formulate all my thoughts on the topics at 5pm on a Thursday

Sarah Lundy

Social Media – The Presentations

It’s a new week, and for alot of you this half-term could be the busiest week of the year – especially those businesses in and around Blackpool. I hope you’ll have a small chunk of time to look through the presentations from Thursday’s Don’t Panic Guide to Social Media Conference.

In reflection (and from reading the feedback forms), it appears that the day was very valuable for those of you who attended. I’m hoping that you keep up the impetus and are engaging, reading and planning your social media strategy right now!

One attendee sent us this feedback: “Just wanted to say thank you for a brilliant & inspiring day. Have come away with some great ideas, fired up about using Twitter etc. But also with real pride in Lancashire. It was great to drive over, you forget just how spectacular our scenery is.”

We have uploaded all the presentations to Slideshare (another marvellous free online service!). Please see the presentations on our industry website http://www.lancashireandblackpool.com here or alternatively click on the links below.

Rob Brown – Social Media Overview
Emma Gardiner and Amy Johnston – Go Ape Blog Influence
Sarah Lundy – visitlancashire Blog
Mark Hanson – Twitter for Business
Hetty Byrne – Forest of Bowland Aggregate Blog
Sarah Lundy – visitlancashire Twitter
Neville Hobson – Social Media for Business – to follow
Heather Price – SKV Blackpool Viral
Constandina Milios – Visit England Social Media Wizard
Rob Brown – Reputation Management