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Instragram (and Tumblr) in Action: Resort Marketer Reports on Use

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After I posted my article suggesting the possible use of Instagram to increase social reach, I was flattered by Reid Williams from WELD with an article “inspired by Gregg’s post” in which he interviewed Dave Amirault of Aspen/Snowmass (yes, the same one I mentioned on Tuesday) about their use of both Instagram and Tumblr. Digging deeper into a theme I was interested in pursuing, it seemed dumb to try to cover things he had already nailed so I asked Reid if I could republish his story and he graciously said yes. So, without further delay, Reid Williams everyone [applause]…

The “Big 4” are the go-to networks that most brands and businesses, if they’ve bought into the power and potential of social media marketing, typically step right into: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and now Google +.

These first-to-mind social networks, however, aren’t the only ones out there. For the right brands, there’s a lot of awareness and engagement to be gained with more specialized social applications.

A great case in point is Aspen/Snowmass and their use of Instagram.

Instagram is a smartphone application that adds your choice of funky filters to photos. The application integrates with the your social networks, making it easy to quickly share those cool photos via Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, straight from your phone, in the spur of the moment.

“But the interesting thing is there’s a community behind it,” says Aspen/Snowmass interactive marketing manager Dave Amirault.

Aspen/Snowmass Photo FunkYou can follow other users of the application, and even more applications have popped up to help you navigate the millions of photos people are producing with the app (see Statigram). Aspen/Snowmass has collected 1,000 followers on Instagram, and Amirault makes photo-sharing and curation a daily part of the resort’s interactive marketing.

“I use a desktop app [Carousel] to monitor all the photo content,” Amirault said in a recent phone interview. “Right now, I’m looking at all the photos people posted from Highland Bowl. I see a really cool photo from someone who made the summit, so I ‘like’ it.”

And it doesn’t stop there, he explained.

“You don’t sit back and blindly wait for people to like your content, you have to give back,” Amirault said. “I can copy that link, and share it on Twitter. People bug out when they get 200 likes because we exposed their photo to Aspen/Snowmass’s 11,000 Twitter followers.”
Amirault said the ski resort officially incorporated Instagram into its marketing quiver about 4 months ago (he had begun personally using it about 9 months ago).
“We started noticing the incoming volume of photos,” he said. “We couldn’t ignore it — we had to encourage it. People were extending our brand to their networks.”

Other Networks
In a similar fashion, Amirault keeps an eye on other emerging platforms, and Aspen/Snowmass is incorporating them into their marketing. The ski resort also publishes a Tumblr, populated principally by the Instagram photo content, but also including more article-like posts, even some from the Aspen/Snowmass CEO. They’re also starting to explore Pinterest.

“The viral nature of Tumblr is great, and anything can be immediately shared,” Amirault said. “We’re diving into Pinterest with our dining and lodging interests. We’ve got 5-star restaurants and hotels, and that’s what’s topical on that platform.”

What’s The ROI?
Amirault said he reports some of the typical metrics to the executive level — the number of photos, followers, etc. The compelling story, though, is the ripple effect of social media.

“All I have to do is pull out a photo, say this one from the gondola, and I describe how it got 200 likes, and here it got shared on Facebook, and here it is on Twitter, and show the whole path of content,” Amirault said.

Aspen/Snowmass is gaining followers and brand exposure in a very organic way. Amirault said to do that, it’s important to treat each platform differently, because the audience is different.

“Each [social network] has a different purpose, they’re each trying to solve a different social question for people,” Amirault said. “The most successful brands are the ones that behave like people.

The original article can be found on WELD’s website:

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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