Micro social networks offer opportunities to increase advocacy and for closer engagement with consumers.
Instagram hit the headlines recently after being bought by Facebook for a cool US $1 billion. The micro social network, whose raison d’être is mobile photo-sharing, was named iPhone app of the year in 2011 and is another growing element in the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC)’s social-media arsenal of engagement.
Consumers around the world can’t stop uploading images around their common interests to it—there are 400 million and counting since its launch in October 2010. Its size makes it ideal for CTC, as well as other brands, to home in on specific consumer types and take part in conversations.
CTC’s @ExploreCanada account has an initially promising follower count of more than 980. It focuses on sharing great user-generated content via other travellers to build advocacy for Canada, as opposed to tapping into a brand-driven library. Using the hash tag #ExploreCanada, there are already 3,250-plus images.
Tumblr is a more multi-faceted blogging platform that includes not just images but text, videos, quotes and audio. Its strength is short, snappy copy allied to powerful images and quotes. CTC’s Canada Keep Exploring account uses the #ExploreCanada hash tag; it also curates compelling content from across the country.
There have been opportunistic uses, too, on both platforms. So far, last year’s Royal Tour of Canada by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the Toronto International Film Festival and World MasterCard Fashion Weekin Toronto, ON, have all proved fertile grounds for engagement. Plans are now underway to add Instagram to CTC’s new global marketing platform.
Instagram also presents a great opportunity for Canadian tourism-industry peeps to join in. All you need to do is post Canada travel images on Instagram using the hash tag “ExploreCanada,” then let CTC promote those travel experiences to potential new visitors.
“We’re using these social networks to increase advocacy for Canada travel, but not just for its own sake,” says Kate Duffy, CTC Social Media manager. “These networks drive consumer consideration of our country as their next trip destination.”