Archive for the ‘Flickr’ Category

6 Reasons Social Media Campaigns Should Include Flickr

By Emily Johnson, Media Relations Specialist at Walker Sands Communications

The photo-sharing site Flickr is a valuable but often overlooked social media platform. Here are six reasons why marketers and communications professionals should add Flickr to their campaigns:

  1. People are visual. With Flickr, you’re able to tell a story in a way you can’t through other mediums. Let’s face it—people like to look at pictures. Plus, the change of scenery images offer is nice. We stare at text all day; mix it up to create more ways to engage with and inform your audience.
  2. You can share your photo stream. The Flickr community is not the only place where people can see the photos you post to the site. Flickr makes it easy to share photos across all social media platforms.
  3. It’s good for searches. The tags you assign to your photos are used in search, allowing people with your interests to more easily find you, enabling your audience to grow beyond those who already know about your brand.
  4. Higher picture quality is important. Photo quality is much higher on Flickr than any other social media platform. On Flickr, you will have fewer grainy images, and your presentations will be much sharper.
  5. Creative commons provides protection. Flickr offers a safe platform for images via creative commons, which means you pick the stringency of your copyright. This feature can give you peace of mind that others aren’t using (or misusing) photos without your permission, which is something you don’t always get with other social media platforms.
  6. You can start discussions. Flickr allows you to create groups and comments, just like all other social platforms. Although the focus is photographs and videos, people are still interacting with each other and could be interacting around images and videos of your brand or client.

So the next time you plan a social media marketing campaign, don’t forget the value that Flickr can bring!

Social Media Marketing in a Crisis: VISIT FLORIDA and the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

By Will Seccombe, Chief Marketing Officer at VISIT FLORIDA

The Challenge

On April 20, 2010, the BP/Transocean Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and sank, resulting in a massive offshore oil spill. The spill became the top news story of the summer, and the live video feed of oil gushing from the failed “blowout preventer” was a real-time, persistent reminder of the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history. In fact, 99 percent of Americans were following the story of the spill, 54 percent were following it closely, and virtually everyone was talking about it.

The stakes were high for the Florida tourism industry. Every year, 80 million people visit the Sunshine State, and more than 25 percent of those visitors choose Florida because of the 825 miles of beautiful beaches. Those visitors spend more than $60 billion and support nearly one million Florida jobs, making tourism the largest industry in the state.

As the official tourism marketing organization for the State of Florida, VISIT FLORIDA had managed hurricanes and “red tides” before, but the uncertainty surrounding this situation was unprecedented. How and where would the state’s coastline be affected? How do you balance the interests of directly impacted areas with unaffected areas fighting misperceptions? How do you keep visitors informed and continue to encourage travelers to visit the state? How can a marketing company be a trusted source of information in a time of crisis?

The Response

VISIT FLORIDA’s response to the oil spill focused on open, transparent, and proactive communication to provide consumers and stakeholders with easy access to credible local information to help them make informed decisions based on facts—not misinformation or confusion. An aggressive integrated communication program was launched on April 30 in coordination with the activation of the state Emergency Operations Center (EOC). (A complete timeline of VISIT FLORIDA’s response to the crisis depicts exactly what occured and when.)

The first step in addressing the spill was the activation of a Florida Travel Update on VISITFLORIDA.com, with daily updates on the status of Florida’s coastline from the EOC, as well as links to official information and FAQs from the Department of Environmental Protection, the Department of Health, and the Department of Agriculture.

As the centerpiece and call to action for all crisis communications, VISIT FLORIDA developed and launched a new digital platform, Florida Live. Florida Live is a unique combination of content from Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, and live Web cams that allowed travelers to see with their own eyes that, despite the massive media coverage, Florida was in fact open for business.

VISIT FLORIDA also activated Floridians from around the state to counter the negative images spewing from the oil spill. Residents were encouraged to upload real-time photos of their favorite beaches to Facebook, and more than 2,000 time-stamped photos were then featured in real time on Florida Live.

To communicate the scale of the state’s tourism product and address the hyper-local nature of the crisis, VISIT FLORIDA added Twitter feeds to the Florida Live site from local convention and visitor bureaus with up-to-the minute information on the status of their beach communities. The site also linked to live Web cams from around the state, daily fishing reports, daily videos, daily photos, blogs, and live weather reports.

Additionally, VISIT FLORIDA’s official corporate blog, Sunshine Matters, served as a hub of stakeholder communications to coordinate, inform, and align the tourism industry and to share industry resources.

The Results

The marketing response was both visible and credible:

  • 44 percent of Americans were aware of VISIT FLORIDA’s marketing efforts.
  • 49 percent attributed the marketing efforts to VISIT FLORIDA by name.
  • 73 percent said they trust VISIT FLORIDA.
  • Traffic to VISITFLORIDA.com increased 46 percent in June and 16 percent in July versus the same periods in 2009.
  • People who visited the Web site were 31 percent more likely to visit Florida before Labor Day.
  • Most importantly, total visits to the state increased by 3.4 percent in the second quarter (in the heat of the oil spill crisis) versus the same quarter in 2009.

Florida Live has since been recognized as a best practice in crisis communications, primarily because the Florida tourism industry embraced it, the media endorsed it, and consumers trusted it.