Behind The Brand - Harnessing Social Media For Growth - Case Visit Helsinki [VIDEO]

The Game Changer

Social media has fundamentally changed the way travelers search for information. It has also changed the way we evaluate and consume that information.

The point I'm making? People trust their peers more than they trust companies and organizations. 

Social media is adding a whole new element of pressure to any organization operating in the field of tourism. 

How are destinations supposed to compete? 

My answer - You don't! In my opinion, a destination city's role is to host and reward those who are willing to create relevant content. The beauty of social media it that you can crowdsource information. Because of social media's multi-channel environment, you can be wherever, whenever the consumers are present.

That's not to say that the team behind a destination's SoMe accounts are waiting around for information to come to them. It's important that they play the role of leader, encourager, and listener. They facilitate tourists' creativity by planning, sourcing, and promoting the vision. 

Fail Fast - Fail Cheap

Not that we should aim to fail but, with social media, failing has never been so cheap. You don't have to plan for 6 months or more to run a year-long campaign. I'm sorry, but your campaign will most likely be hugely expensive and positive results are not guaranteed.

Starting your campaign small allows you to adjust where adjustment is needed. Real-time reaction and real-time improvement is the name of the game.

In social media, you'll know immediately whether or not a campaign is working. You'll know by listening to the feedback your customers are giving. They may not give direct feedback but reading between the lines will shed light on the unspoken truth.

The beauty of social media is that we can know more and do more with less.

My top 3 tips for social media success:

1. Be authentic

The time of shiny imagery and polished ad-like images are over. People want to see authentic content. Show them your destination with all its flaws. Dare to be open and truthful.  

2. Inspire

Everything and everyone has a story. Social media offers a great platform to tell that story little by little. Tell it with images, video, and text. 

3. Put people first 

The hard thing to swallow is that social media is NOT ABOUT YOU. People don't care to hear about you. People only care what you can do for them. 

Remember: people are bombarded with ads. So you can forget about having any success if you are only pushing out ads. Instead, highlight people - Who they are and what they do.

BONUS: Don't forget to encourage sharing. 

Social media is not about the exploitation of technology but service to community.
— Simon Mainwaring

Links and events mentioned in the interview:

Erik Wolf's World Food Travel Association:

Social Media Tourism Symposium:

Food Helsinki? HEL YEAH!

Food Helsinki? HEL YEAH!:

Food Helsinki? HEL YEAH! folded info sheet: 

Electronic version on Pinterest:  

Any mentions on any channel, please use the hashtag #foodhelyeah

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#HelsinkiSecret Campaign:

#HelsinkiSecret Residence, website & application opens on the end of August: