How do you stay top of mind and inspire future travel when everybody’s quarantined?
With no best practices to follow during the pandemic, Blue Sky Agency and Explore Georgia turned to social media activations—and increased website traffic 30%.
Here’s how they made the pivot:
1. Meet your audience where they are. Rather than go silent on social media during last year’s travel bans, Explore Georgia turned up the volume.
“We listened on social media. We gained insight on what they were feeling and wanted,” says Meggan Hood, division director of tourism at Explore Georgia, in a Ragan Training video session titled “Social Media in a Socially Distanced World.”
What people wanted was a sense of joy and escapism in a trying year. “So we quickly turned Explore Georgia into ‘Explore Georgia from Home,’” Hood says. “Instead of asking travelers to come to Georgia, we brought Georgia to them.”
2. Embrace UGC. “Our real-time data really ramped up during COVID and included weekly traveler sentiment research, social listening and Google Analytics,” says Hood.
Those three inputs helped make the team more consumer-centric.
“Before COVID, we did a ton of ‘pitching’ where we served up a lot of information about Georgia,” she explains. “We used to do a lot of convincing and wooing about Georgia. But during COVID, we did more ‘catching’ where we gave control [to our followers].”
For example, the team asked fans and followers to share nature photos from around the state when people longed for the outdoors during quarantine. Not only were the results visually stunning, but the team nearly doubled its Instagram following over the summer.
3. Offer experiences. Putting followers first also helped the team cut through the noise during COVID-19 to deliver social media activities that fans could participate in.
For example, when followers wanted to find out more about mixing drinks, Explore Georgia served up lessons and demos with the coolest mixologist in the state.
And when they wanted to entertain their children, the team made them coloring pages.
“We recovered quickly based on this approach,” says Hood. “And we’re continuing to grow with between 700,000 and a million sessions a month on our website.”