This is an unofficial case study that I’m posting on my personal blog for a variety of reasons, however as the readership knows I love my city and I love social media!
Although social media is integral to any marketing plan, it can be difficult to find the right coordinator because social media is a new form of marketing that simply isn’t being taught in the Universities and it takes more than just a background in marketing to understand the playing field.
What’s important to understand is that social media isn’t just about creating an account and updating it once in a while; it’s also about presence and staying connected with the people as well.
The Missions and Purposes of a CAVB or Destination Marketing Organization
- To fuel the local business climate and broaden the local tax base by attracting visitors as a means of bringing money into the community, generating personal income, jobs, and tax revenue by marketing and ensuring the city as a destination.
- Generating positive awareness of the city as a pleasurable destination and also providing opportunities for community support and participation.
- To be a liaison between visitors and facilities, services, events, activities, agencies and organizations.
- Develop and promote programs and campaigns to enrich tourism, attractions and events.
- Provide accurate and up-to-date information to visitors to provide everyone a unique, memorable and satisfying experience when visiting the city.
El Paso unique in a multitude of ways; it’s unique in terms of geography, commerce, culture and tourism. Not only does El Paso enjoy a rich cultural history of its own but the city is situated between two other cultural giants: the state of New Mexico and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.
Other cities such as Melbourne and New York have created successful city brands that are recognizable around the world and reflect their individual spirit and style. El Paso’s unique appeal and status can easily be capitalized upon – it’s just going to take some careful social media strategies and proper demographic targeting.
In 1990, the population of El Paso was 519,480 people and as of the 2011 Census, that number has risen to approximately 665,568 with a heavy concentration in children and those spanning between the ages of 35 and 44. These metrics suggest high birthrates, falling or stable death rates and the potential for rapid population growth.
In regards to income, El Paso’s average sits between $5 and $24k right now – not a whole lot but with the upcoming opportunities presented by the El Paso Redevelopment Plan, I personally feel that this will all change.
The Future of the City
El Paso has an extremely bright future and is at the genesis of an upward trend. The Downtown 2015 Plan by the Paso del Norte Group is guaranteed to reinvigorate the city and inspire a catalyst for change.
This, along with the aforementioned Redevelopment Plan, the new AAA Baseball Stadium, new museums and the upcoming change in political climate are worthy of marketing and are sure to spark interest in community involvement and tourist attractions.
The Brand Now
The El Paso Convention and Visitors Bureau is managed by SMG and uses ‘Visit El Paso’ as its main identifier and ‘Real Adventure is Still Alive in El Paso’. This marketing campaign has won several awards from various regional entities. Their existing social media lies in the following links:
- Website: Visit El Paso
- Twitter – 1999 Followers
- Pinterest – 274 Followers
- Facebook – 7703 Likes
- YouTube – 105 Subsribers
- Mobile Application available on Android and iOS
The CAVB has had success in bringing events to the city such as:
- Social Media Tourism Symposium
- Conference US Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournament
- United States Bowling Conference Open Championship
The CAVB also promotes the Performing Arts Centers:
- Abraham Chavez Theater
- The Plaza Theater
- Arts Festival Plaza
- Oasis Bistro & Lounge
- McKelligon Canyon Amphitheater
And is partnered / associated with the following events and organizations:
- El Paso Film Commision
- Amigo Airsho
- Chalk the Block
- Downtown KidsPalooza
- Downtown Street Festival
- Hyundai Sun Bowl
- Neon Desert Music Festval
- Plaza Classic Film Festival
- VIVA! El Paso
- El Paso Museum of Art
- El Paso Zoo
- La Vina Winery
- Lynx Exhibits
- …dozens more.
Suggested Social Media Presences and Changes
- Instagram is quickly becoming the photo sharing network of choice for Facebook and Twitter. It’s also much easier to run a marketing campaign on the platform as well, through the use of hashtags and daily photo prompts.
- The existing Pinterest presence is robust but lacks followers. Might want to consider a Pinterest campaign that could spark interest and increase engagement.
- Location based marketing such as LivingSocial or Foursquare. The various locations and events that the CAVB is partnered with provide an excellent opportunity to unlock ‘badges’, create coupons, promotions or live broadcasting of events.
- Revamping the mobile application significantly.
- Cross-promotion is lacking and social media accounts are not interlinked to each other. Double posting is a big no-no in the social media world but cross promotion is easy to implement with the proper tools.
- An events calendar exists on the website and is somewhat user friendly in that the default view is in list ‘agenda’ format. This calendar needs to be integrated into the mobile application and could benefit from being embeddable through the use of Google Calendar.
- The Flickr account needs regular updating – the last upload was in June of 2012. If updates are not going to occur it would be best to delete the channel.
- El Paso is unique in that it’s facing a very prominent arts and music renaissance. Noted achievements in the city include the Neon Desert Music Festival and Chalk the Block. Based on this, perhaps engaging the creative community through consistent contests, exhibits and promotion through social channels can build a larger loyalty base within the 15-35 year old demographic.
- Promoting and engaging with locally owned publications through social media channels, which in turn would also empower those publications to promote the CAVB.
That’s all I can say for now. I could get much father in depth with strategies for each social media channel and I very well might post those tips and how-to’s in the future, so stay tuned.
Here’s a few other posts of mine that you might enjoy: