Social Media Smarts

Hamilton County Tourism (HCT) has a lot of things to say. There are restaurants to promote, events, trails, attractions and much more to tout. To make sure all those messages get to the right people, HCT brought in social media experts to evaluate and make recommendations.

“We learned we have some great content, but we could be more strategic about when we post messages and how we focus our messages using micro ad campaigns,” said Tourism vice president Karen Radcliff.

For example, HCT’s Facebook followers are most likely to be online between 7 and 10 p.m., but Twitter followers are most likely to see messages posted right before lunch and early afternoons. To get in front of the most Instagram uses, HCT needs to post at 2 a.m. to ensure messages are among the first posts followers see when they log on in the mornings or at 5 p.m., when users are most likely to check in again.

There will be other changes, too. For example, HCT will focus messages – and social media advertising – on niche areas such as: Food and Drink, Outdoor Recreation, Arts and Theater and Events.

“We received all kinds of intelligence and tips that will help us hone our messages and really dial in to make sure we increase our reach and frequency,” Radcliff said. “We want to give people the information they want when they will most likely read it.”


Hamilton County Tourism Reaches International Audience

When HCT president Brenda Myers learned Destination Marketing Association International (DMAI) wanted to present trends and successes of tourism organizations partnering with economic development, Myers quickly responded. While this is an emerging trend internationally, it’s been a way of doing business for years in Hamilton County.

DMAI wanted to know all about it.

Earlier this month, Myers and Radcliff presented, “The Odd Couple: The DMO & Economic Development” at the organization’s annual convention in Austin. While the relationship between tourism and economic development traditionally has been awkward, it doesn’t have to be that way. In Hamilton County, HCT and Hamilton County Economic Development Corporation (HCED) created a dynamic working partnership that has been mutually beneficial. They share office space and staff, develop strategic plans together and work in collaboration on a variety of projects.

“Tourism and economic development often work toward the same goals of marketing their communities, for visitors and for prospective businesses and employees,” Myers said. “We shared how we work in partnership, so that both organizations and the entire county benefit.”

It was a great opportunity for HCT to present to an international audience.


Guerilla Marketing via Segways Pays Off

A team of brand ambassadors hopped on Segways (decked out in HCT logo wear, of course) and canvassed the streets during Taste of Tippecanoe and Taste of Bloomington this summer. They handed out bottle openers, brochures and maps of Hamilton County trails talking up the benefits of visiting Hamilton County for outdoor recreation.

The ambassadors quickly learned that people in both Big Ten cities are interested in travel to Hamilton County for its restaurants and its outdoor attractions.

“The running and bike trails are the best in the state of Indiana,” said one Lafayette resident.

“The water park there is definitely where I want to be this summer,” said another.

The guerilla marketing team made a big impression on two important markets, giving away more than 2,000 brochures and getting in front of more than 16,000 people in both cities.

“I rarely travel within Indiana, but you got me thinking,” a Taste of Bloomington visitor said.