Tourism Facebook Marketing: You’re Doing it Wrong

Posted on January 21, 2010

Being a social media guru now and having the opportunity to help CVBs and tourism bureaus with Facebook and Twitter marketing, I am constantly looking for ways other tourism and travel businesses are using social media.

What I didn’t expect to find this afternoon was this:

haiti-lol

For those who don’t know, Lamebook.com is a Web site dedicated to all things ridiculous, hilarious and/or disturbing about Facebook user activity. (That’s where I found this little jewel.) So far, this status has accumulated more than 70 comments, and they keep rolling in.

As for the fans of Columbus (Ohio), feelings of confusion and disappointment are pouring out in response.

One user has summed up the overall feeling of the group:

You know, I appreciate a good joke, but we all know what you were intending. The fact that you are trying humor through misdirection is irrelevant. The fact remains that you used widely known internet acronym. Trying to reinvent the words that comprise it does little, the post was offensive. Doesn’t matter how you try to justify it to yourself.

What’s the lesson learned here? After you decide to post anything on Facebook, think about it, then think some more and before you click submit, make sure you’ve thought about it again. Maybe we won’t know what the intention was from the administrator. Perhaps it was a joke, maybe it was an honest oversight. Either way, people are now removing themselves as fans of this page, and Columbus has taken a blow to the face of its reputation.

Even though this isn’t the official Columbus, Ohio CVB Facebook page, most will probably (unfortunately) associate the entire city of Columbus with this status update, and each official social media outlet of the city (and even the state) will have to put in some overtime to do some damage control.

Takeaways:

  • Constantly monitor your brand and know what is being said about it across the Internet. The sooner you can take a stand or release a statement either supporting or disassociating yourself from a mention of your brand, the better.
  • Although it’s a worthy goal to get yourself noticed, bad press is WAY worse than no press at all, especially when future tourism traffic is involved.
  • Know your audience. If it is mostly homogeneous in personality and you think certain jokes or links you post will go over well, go for it. When in doubt, leave them out.
  • For heaven’s sake: brush up on your Internet vocab and know what abbreviations mean before using them.

Jessica Swink is a freelance writer specializing in articles about SEO for travel and Facebook marketing.

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