Tag Archives: traveltell

The Power of Social Media During Disaster

Yesterday’s devastatingly destructive tornadoes in the US’s Southern states got us thinking about the power of social media during times of disaster. Not only are platforms like Facebook and Twitter the fastest way to disseminate information to the greatest amount of people in the most efficient manner, but in the case of power outages that often result from severe storms, the various applications available on your mobile device may become one of your most valuable assets.

Michelle Lepianka Carter

Facebook users in the threatened areas posted status updates alerting their family members of their conditions and countless photos and videos of the tornadoes themselves, as well as the destruction they left behind. News and weather stations across the Twittersphere added specific hashtags to make it easy for followers to find information updates as fast as possible.

While social media may have saved many lives during recent disasters, just as impressive is the way it is used afterwards for various relief efforts and support for victims. After Japan’s rattling Earthquake on March 11, 2011, various celebrities tweeted to urge millions of followers to text RedCross to make a donation. Likewise, Lady Gaga created a Japanese Prayer Bracelet with which she raised close to $125,000 in just two days after tweeting for support to her 9 million followers.

Last night, a native of Auburn, AL initiated a support page on Facebook entitled Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa, where Auburn University’s biggest fans came together in support for the hometown of their biggest rivals. At the time of this post, that page has grown to over 35,000 fans and serves as a place for words of encouragement and a resource for those wishing to aid in relief for all those affected in the state of Alabama.

At the time of the 2009 flooding in Atlanta, GA, a hotel client had just enlisted Pertnear’s services to grow their Facebook page. Despite not being located in Atlanta, they wanted to show their support after hearing those lucky enough to have access to the Red Cross were standing in line for hours for fresh water. They knew Facebook would be the most effective way to gather support, but lacked an  audience big enough to make a difference. A strategy was devised to grow their audience and give to the flood relief efforts simultaneously. For every fan they accumulated from Pertnear’s TravelTell Network, a water bottle was donated to Red Cross. After two days, they had grown their page from a few hundred to 3,000 fans and donated 10,000 water bottles to the Atlanta area.

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to those affected by the recent tornadoes in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia. Charges will be applied to your wireless bill.

How to Grow Your Page By Thousands in a Week

One week ago, Cabins USA hadn’t a trace of a presence on Facebook. This past Friday, they had 38,000 fans—at the time this post was written, that number had jumped over 8,000 fans over the weekend. What is this unassuming cabin rental company from Pigeon Forge, Tennessee doing to grow their business page at such a whirlwind speed? Pertnear‘s Jeremy Koch and B.J. Shell were happy to enlighten us.

Pertnear, a social media marketing agency based on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, uses specifically targeted Facebook Ads to jump start page growth while simultaneously managing the page with creative and engaging posts so fans instantly participate. This strategy not only allows the page to grow, but ensures quality fans with a genuine interest for the page. There are two key things that allowed Cabins USA to be so successful so quickly:

Initial Ad Targeting

The Facebook platform is unlike any other in that it allows for specific ad targeting based not only on traditional demographics (age, sex, geographical location, etc) but also the likes and interests of users and those of their friends. A Facebook Ad targeted to a user that loves the Tennessee Mountains is more likely to garner a response when prompted to share a favorite memory on the wall. This may seem like common sense, but the key is to find that one commonality that all fans share that makes them want to be active on the page. While it seems that perhaps it’d be more beneficial to have a higher reach based on many potential commonalities, keeping your reach concentrated and small will result in fans that are more engaged.

Additionally, when a Facebook user “likes” the Cabins USA page, it appears in all of their friends’ news feed (a Facebook user has an average of 130 friends). Here is where the power of word of mouth marketing truly manifests itself. Marketers have long known that an endorsement from a friend is infinitely more valuable than an advertisement. With the ability to recommend pages to friends and the general interest of seeing what they are engaging in, a business page has the ability to grow exponentially!

Making the Page a Resource

Cabins USA is a rental company that assists vacationers to the Pigeon Forge area with cabin accommodations. Instead of using the page to immediately generate leads and sales, the strategy was to make the page a resource for lovers of the Tennessee Mountains. As reflected in the ad copy, fans are asked to post their pictures, share their memories and tell why they love the Pigeon Forge area. By encouraging fans to actively engage right off the bat, potential vacationers are able to learn about the area from people who had positive experiences during their stay. This creates value not just for the Cabins USA page, but also for the destination as a vacation spot. Ultimately, with continued nurturing of the fan/company relationship and subtle guidance through posts, this value will translate to trust that encourages lead generation and sales when fans are ready to make their booking decisions.

Update: Cabins USA Fan Count at the time this article was posted: 46,378. How about now? Cabins USA