Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

August 15 2016

A Key Social Media Lesson From One Of The World’s Most Successful DMOs

David McMillin


Social media moves at a frenetic pace. As billions of worldwide users, individuals and businesses post, share, comment, hashtag and like throughout each day, your organization’s marketing team may feel pressured to keep up with the chaos. The cycle seems simple: take a photo, share it, repeat — without doing much thinking. However, this post-without-consideration approach will struggle to produce valuable results. As your team works to engage prospective attendees online, they need one primary ingredient: time.

The lesson comes from Jesse Desjardins, Global Manager, Social & Content, Tourism Australia. When I attended the DMAI Annual Convention in Minneapolis, I had the opportunity to hear Desjardins offer his insights on a panel of global all-stars, and he offered a look into Tourism Australia’s strategy for social engagement. Before Tourism Australia shares any content on Instagram, Desjardins says the team spends between 40 and 60 minutes crafting the perfect post to help educate and engage fans and followers.

An hour editing an Instagram post? For some social media users, this may sound like a lifetime. Can’t you just snap, filter, write a simple line of accompanying text and wait for the likes to pour in? No. People are bombarded with content everywhere they click. Consider a snapshot of the activity in my personal feed from last week. An old college friend shared a photo of her family. A brand offered a 15 percent off coupon in a sponsored post. A work colleague shared a video from a sporting event. All this information arrived in front of my eyes, but I wasn’t necessarily motivated to do anything with it.

Desjardins knows there are plenty of users just like me, so he and the Tourism Australia team use a simple formula to drive the decision-making in the 40—60 minutes of post editing. “We always have to answer two questions,” Desjardins told the DMAI audience. “How much value does this create for the consumer? And how much value does this bring back into the business?”

Both of these answers are essential, but many organizations struggle to recognize the importance of the first question. Your online community wants to receive updates that mean something — not just an endless stream of promotional messaging. They want information that makes them feel smarter so they can share it with their friends. They want material that makes them laugh to break up a long workday. They want to hear inspirational stories rather than read about the benefits of buying a product.

It’s clear that Tourism Australia’s approach is working. The organization’s Instagram account is one of the most popular travel accounts on Instagram, and when Skift analyzed travel brand photos, 197 of the most popular 200 photos were from Tourism Australia. All that activity is answering Desjardins’ second question, too. At the end of June 2016, international travel to Australia enjoyed a 10 percent year-over-year increase.

Has your organization been investing more energy into social media marketing? Click here for helpful insights to create more impact on Instagram.

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