The other day I got an email from Laura Parquette, brand and communications manager at Snowshoe Mountain Resort, informing me that the Top 25 Ski Resorts on Facebook list was lacking. According to her numbers Snowshoe should have been #20. As it was, they were nowhere to be found, at least on the public list.
Looking into it more, Snowshoe was on my list but had sat at #26 since August. Those same numbers told me that in the last two weeks, Snowshoe had gained nearly 1300 Facebook fans! And not just fans, but active participants. Average, Sunday afternoon wall posts were getting 10+ comments. Others, we doubling or triple that. Intrigued, I asked Laura a few questions, and she obliged. Thanks again Laura for keeping me on my toes and being so willing to share some insights into your social media efforts:
SlopeFillers: When did Snowshoe start taking social media seriously?
Laura: Snowshoe became actively engaged in social media 2-3 years ago. While we have always taken it seriously and seen the value in having a uniquely intimate relationship with our guests and the public, we probably didn’t devote the time and resources to it that we should have right from the start. Over the past year, looking at things like the “recommending websites” reports for our homepage, we’ve really grown to respect the power of social media and its pivotal role as a marketing tool. We knew coming out of last winter that we wanted to develop a strategic social media plan as part of our larger media and marketing plan. We started implementing that plan on a smaller scale over the summer, and hopefully we’ve come out of the gate really strong heading into this winter. We’ve certainly seen some great success building fans and followers, so it seems to be working!
SlopeFillers: What are some of the goals that Snowshoe has with their social media efforts?
Laura: We do set numeric goals in terms of # of fans and followers, retweets/likes per week, etc, but really our goal is to build a stronger relationship with the people we’re interacting with. It’s helpful that these mediums are realizing that they need to put metrics in place to help measure their value, and we certainly pay attention to those as well. But what we’re looking for is powerful interactions. If you take a look at our fan page, you’ll notice we’ve been asking a lot of questions like “what do you like most about Snowshoe”, or “what’s your fondest Snowshoe memory”. It’s so amazing to read these responses, and we know that if potential/first time guests read them, they are FAR more powerful than any marketing piece we’ll ever produce. And we definitely will be using some of those quotes and other testimonials in our mass marketing, because they hold so much value. We also know that people are affiliated with businesses because they’re looking for something. So we definitely engaged in exclusive deals, contests, giveaways, etc. We firmly believe that to a certain extent, you have to give the people what they want. Recently, we’ve also started rewarding people who are powerful ambassadors for the Snowshoe brand. It’s amazing what a free t-shirt, a sticker, a season pass, etc will do for building brand loyalty. And typically the first thing people do is get on Facebook, Twitter, their blog etc and tell everyone once again how great Snowshoe is!
SlopeFillers: Snowshoe’s Facebook presence has really exploded over the last few weeks. Without sharing specific secrets of your success, what are some of the ways you’ve been able to drive that growth?”
Laura: I think everything I talked about above has contributed in part to building our fan base on Facebook. We’ve also increased our Twitter followers by 42 people, and we think that’s due in large part to an effort to share industry news, advice, tips, discounts, etc. We’ve also connected with more brands that are a part of the industry, which I think is important, because powerful, well-known brands inevitably have a larger audience. As a regional resort we can connect to that audience and gain followers based on geographic location. But overall I think mostly it’s just been effort and devoting the necessary time. We took time to make a plan, and we’ve been thoughtful in our execution. We did have a personnel change in the last two weeks, and I think that helped bring in a new focus and a refreshed energy. I think people respond to passion and I think that’s what we’re sharing; a passion for the resort, our guests and the industry. But above all we’ve let our fans/followers dictate in some ways what we’re doing; we really try to meet the needs of the audience we’re speaking to. And it seems to be working!
SlopeFillers: Who takes charge of your social media efforts and how much time is he/she putting toward it each week?
Laura: I just took over the social media. Previously we had a communications coordinator who was handling it, but she left for another opportunity about 2 weeks ago. I probably spend 5-10 hours a week on it.
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