Truth time: social media has changed today’s marketing landscape. Instead of doing what we’ve always done, we’ve all had to find ways to be more creative, to deliver real-time information that’s helpful and to help spread the word about what it is we do, whether that be a DMO marketer (like Western Montana’s Glacier Country) or a tour operator who sells the United States to international and domestic clients.
Here in Montana, we’re big proponents of utilizing the power of social media to connect with our visitors, prospective travelers and partners. We’re also using social media to connect with our business-to-business partners, specifically tour operators. In fact, we know there’s so much merit for using social media in this way that we regularly participate in a twitter chat that’s specifically designed to connect domestic and international tour operators with suppliers in the Real America region of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming: #RealAmericaChat.
And if you haven’t heard about the chat, or if you’re not sure why you should participate, here are 6 reasons for you to join #RealAmericaChat…
1. It connects you directly with suppliers in the Real America region. There are numerous on-the-ground reps in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming who want to work with you, and many of them are joining the chat. While you may see a handful of them in person once a year, the chat gives you direct access to multiple businesses across the region.
2. Participants are delivering real-time information on relevant topics. Chat topics vary each month, with topics that have been chosen specifically to arm you with the latest information on the region. Upcoming topics include winter, hidden gems, annual events and festivals, First Nations of the Real America, cowboy experiences and more.
3. It only takes one hour per month. We’re all busy, but we all have one hour each month to help grow our business. We host #RealAmericaChat on the first Wednesday of every month at 8 a.m. MST (3 p.m. BST) and we strive to stay on time and on track to deliver the most relevant information to you—our tour operators who are doing business in the region.
4. Four states, one chat. If you work with folks in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming, chances are you’ve seen that the four states like each other and enjoy working together. We know that many of our international visitors want to see more than one place when they’re here and what better way to give them the best experience possible than by working with each other to create multi-state itineraries and experiences. Plus, suppliers from all four states participate in the chat and share information on their area. Instead of having to send individual emails to multiple people (sidenote: we still love and welcome email correspondence!), the chat puts you in direct contact with suppliers from the four-state region all at once.
5. Participation in the chat will make you an expert. After each month’s chat, you’ll be armed with the latest information on the Real America region, making it easier for you to build itineraries, create custom trips for your clients and be known as the contact for planning a trip to Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota or Wyoming.
6. You get to ask questions + get real-time answers. At the end of each chat, we ask what you want to learn more about or receive additional information on, with state or regional reps following up with you on your specific area of interest.
A few other helpful tips:
-To join the chat, log into twitter on the first Wednesday of every month at 3 p.m. BST (8 a.m. MST) and search hashtag #RealAmericaChat.
-Use tweetchat or tweetdeck to follow along during the chat, as there is sometimes a delay in the twitter browser. Sidenote: you don’t need to set up a new account to use tweetchat or tweetdeck; just login to your twitter account and then go to www.tweetchat.com or www.tweetdeck.com. Bonus: all three platforms are free.
-Use #RealAmericaChat in your tweets during the chat, so everyone can see them.
-If you’re using tweetdeck to join the chat, create a column for #RealAmericaChat. All of the tweets that are tagged with that hashtag will automatically populate into that column, making it even easier for you to follow along.
–Say hello! Let’s say you don’t feel comfortable tweeting into the chat (especially if it’s your first time joining). Well, not a worry! Feel free to pop in and say hello and let us know who you are and where you’re from. We’re sure that before long, we’ll be twitter buddies.
-Representatives from state and regional offices in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming regularly join the chat. For Montana, be sure to follow Marlee Iverson, Kim Birrell and Debbie Picard. For North Dakota, follow everyone’s favorite cowboy Fred Walker and Travel North Dakota. In South Dakota, say hi to Cole Irwin and South Dakota Tourism. And in Wyoming, follow the J team: James Scoon, Jenn Adu and Jenny McCullough.
Hope to see you all at the next #RealAmericaChat! Until then, feel free to tweet me at @MontanaTia.
See you on twitter,