Departing from the usual glossy campaigns, Vermont Tourism has been successful with an unusual – and arguably risky – Twitter campaign, according to an article on Forbes.com. The state has been allowing local residents to tweet on their behalf in order to give an authentic image of what it is like to visit and live there. The new program has been extremely effective in generating social media interaction, gaining mainstream media attention and proving just as popular with local residents as with potential visitors:
“It (social impressions) went from 500k impressions on Twitter to over 4 million overnight – we’re ranging from 60-100k impressions daily,” said Jen Butson, Communications Director for the Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing…
“More than three years worth of Vermonters have signed up to tweet – and there’s been overwhelming positive support/praise from locals and out of staters. I have been really surprised to see citizen tweeters reaching out to their government officials – in Seattle, Boston, the Midwest…. Saying ‘Hey, we should do this,’” said Butson.
Despite the notable lack of censorship or complicated rules (“Please don’t Tweet something that you wouldn’t feel comfortable telling your neighbor’s twelve year old child or your Great-Grandma”), the results and feedback have been very positive, and have struck a tone in a consumer base increasingly seeking authenticity and transparency:
Travelers are putting more and more faith in user generated reviews from the likes of Yelp! And Travelocity, so what could be more credible than user generated reviews from actual residents? Sure there is lots of pro-Vermont spin, but let’s assume you are thinking of visiting (and why not, since tourism is the number one industry and the state has a lot of attractions, natural, cultural and culinary). The favorite hike or pancake place of a passionate, informed local is probably going to be better advice than the most popular choice voted on by people with no basis for comparison. Local knowledge – and passion – is a big part of the idea behind @ThisIsVt.