Archive for May, 2010

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Social Media Tourism Symposium

Our whole team is super excited about the Social Media Tourism Symposium! The symposium will be held Wednesday, November 17 through Friday, November 19, 2010 and we hope you mark those days on your calendar.

The symposium will be a combination of destination marketing organizations, hotels, resorts, attractions and any other tourism related entities sharing ideas and learning more about how social media is effecting promotion within the travel industry.

What makes this conference unique is the involvement of attendees throughout the entire process. Attendees will have a voice in everything from the location to the session topics and presenters.

We look forward to your attendance and participation!

The symposium is managed by David Serino, founder of Gammet Interactive- an online marketing and consulting agency that serves the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. As our team is managing the social media for the symposium we can’t but encourage you to follow the symposium on Twitter, participate on Facebook and get updates on Tumblr. Hope to see you there!

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Are Your YouTube Videos Optimized?

Lights. Camera. Action. Boom! Your video is done. You edited it, added a few special effects and rush to upload it to YouTube. But wait you’re not done yet. With hundreds of thousands of videos uploaded to YouTube every day it’s important to make sure you do your best in optimizing your video for search.

YouTube has a proprietary algorithm and nobody knows 100% how the ranking of videos is done. Nevertheless, there is some common wisdom out there on the ways to make your video do better in search. Here are some tips to get you started. Please share yours in the comments!

Name of your file. When uploading a video check the name of your raw file. Use the keywords in the name of the file rather than random numbers. E.g. Saturday_Market_Portland.mov as opposed to 720p.mov

Category. Make sure you submit your video to the right category. There is a Travel and Events category that you’re most likely to use.

Keywords. It’s highly important to include relevant keywords in your title, description and “tags” that people will use when searching YouTube for video content.

  • Video Title – Keywords are important, but the tricky part is finding the balance between an interesting title and keyword rich. Think of the words you would use when looking for a video like yours. E.g. “Cheap things to do in Moscow” as opposed to “Travel Moscow, Russia, ch
  • Description – make sure your main keywords are somewhere in the beginning of the first sentence. It’s good if you can use your primary keyword twice. However, don’t overdo it. Your description should be succinct and on the point, not just a list of keywords. E.g. “Moscow has lots of things to do. Here are our tips on how to spend a great day in Moscow on the cheap.” Some SEO experts also recommend including a link in your description. Use http:// format for it to be clickable.
  • Tags – list all possible alteration of your keywords. People have different search patterns, so use a mix of generic and very specific tags. For the keyword groups/phrases use quotation marks e.g. “Portland Saturday Market” “Saturday Market” “Portland, Oregon.”

YouTube Keyword Tool comes in handy when you need help coming up with keywords. With its help you can find keywords with high search volume.

Geo-tagging. Geo-tag your video based on where it was created. This will make it display in the Google Earth. You’ll see “Date and Map Options” when you upload a video. Then you could just use the search browser to choose a specific location or drag the marker.

Make sure you press save button once you added all the tags and descriptions.

Now that you’re done, leverage your other social networks – let all your friends/fans/followers know about your video.

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Twitter tools: Friend or Follow

Go beyond the basics of twitter by maintaining your twitter followers. This is especially important if you’re trying to increase your followers and you’re stuck around the 2,000 mark. (Twitter only allows you to follow 2,000 people until you have a similar amount of followers.)

FriendorFollow is a great tool to see

  1. Follows: who you’re following that are not following you back
  2. Fans: who is following you but you are not following back
  3. Friends: mutual followings

This tool also allows you to export your follows, fans and friends which provides follower location data.

Log into FriendorFollow.com and connect with your twitter account so you can easily follow/unfollow with one click. Take advantage of the sorting options, especially location and last tweet date.

For those who love to analyze things, “Export CSV” will provide a spreadsheet of your followers, fans or friends. The spreadsheet provides all the information that is included in a twitter bio such as the name, username, location, bio description, amount of followers/friends and profile image (URL). It also includes the date the account was created, the twitter ID number and the date of their last tweet.
Why is this important?

Most CVBs (Convention & Visitors Bureaus) market to specific locations, targeting non-locals to visit the area. You can use this export to see where your twitter following is from by sorting the location column in the spreadsheet. But remember that twitter users can enter anything as their location, including GPS coordinates, so this will only be as accurate as the information they provide.

As important as it is to target non-locals, you must consider the power of the “ambassadors” for your city, whether local or non-local. These are people who will retweet your message and promote your city in their normal tweets. Never underestimate the power of your local followers!

What twitter tools do you find the most helpful?

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VisitPA and Foursquare

Pennsylvania has become the first state to partner with Foursquare. Their three badges, PA Shooflyer, PA Retail Polka and PA4 Score&7, explore Pennsylvania’s culinary, shopping and cultural scenes.

What I almost like even more than the badges is how Mickey Rowley, Deputy Secretary of Tourism, is encouraging venues across the state to get involved.

“We would like to see every Pennsylvania restaurant, retail store, historical site, and museum join Foursquare,” Rowley said. “The best part is that it doesn’t cost anything to add a location, plus it gives businesses a chance to reward customers who are checking in the most.”

The PA Shooflyer badge requires users to check in at 3 out of 50 eligible diners, cafes and restaurants.

You’ll likely work up an appetite as you wind your way through PA. Check-in 3 or more times at VisitPA’s recommended Foursquare venues as you dine throughout your visit and earn the exclusive PA Shooflyer. Pretty sweet, right? It’s the molasses.

The PA Retail Polka badge encourages shoppers to check in at 3 out of 21 retail locations.

Here in PA we love polka…and polka dot pashminas. Plus the sound of a shopping spree ringing up tax-free is music to our ears. Check-in to 3 or more of VisitPA’s recommended Foursquare shopping spots throughout the state and earn the exclusive PA Retail Polka Badge. Trust us, you’ll be seeing spots by then. Or wearing them.

And the PA 4 Score & 7 badge explores the rich history of the state with 29 eligible checkin venues.

The Keystone State is soaked in history. See how much of it you can unlock by checking-in to 3 or more of VisitPA’s recommended Foursquare history venues as you explore the state and earn the exclusive PA 4 Score & 7.

In addition to these Foursquare badges, VisitPA has six locations in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh that use special QR codes for checkins.

Even if you’re not able to develop custom badges, there are still ways to incorporate Foursquare into your social media strategy:

  • Make sure your members/partners are listed on Foursquare
  • Add tips to encourage users to visit nearby venues
  • Educate your members about Foursquare (and social media in general)
  • Help members create Foursquare discounts or plan/host Foursquare meetups

Foursquare is not going away. How are you embracing it?

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Funny Friday: Darth Vader goes TomTom

This Friday, I am more than happy to share one of the best videos I’ve seen in awhile, thanks in no small part to @ariannap‘s incredible YouTube sleuthing skills. Being that my nickname at work is TomTom, I had incredibly high hopes for this video, and was not disappointed. In fact, I believe I may have to relinquish my TomTom title to Mr. James Earl Jones sound-alike himself. Without further ado, I give you “TomTom Darth Vader Viral Campaign Video.” Continue Reading