A year ago our social media program was new.  We were excited about the possibilities it offered us, but didn’t really know how well it would pay off.

Twitter makes destination marketing easy

Twitter extended the 4th of July at Lake Arrowhead

If you follow this blog, you know that our community scored big time with social media.  From the looks of this summer so far, we’re on a roll for another great year with social media (as that is our only means of advertising what our destination offers).

In 2009, the 4th of July weekend was full of tweets promoting all that was happening within the Lake Arrowhead Communities.  These tweets were happening as the events were occurring.  It was the first time we could really measure (via Tweetdeck) just how many people were tweeting about the area.

This year, not only did we again see “mega-tweeting” from our visitors, but something new occurred….

A couple of weeks ago I noticed many people tweeting that they were planning on heading to the Lake Arrowhead area over the 4th of July.  The actual 4th was on Sunday.  Beginning Wednesday, we noticed a substantial amount of tourists arriving.  From Thursday on we were pretty much maxed out.  It was wonderful and we had a town full of happy merchants and visitors.  One can argue that we had great tourism due to the 4th being on Sunday.  But, we have not had these long stays, extended holidays in the past.  This is new for us – our average stay was a couple of nights max.  And it didn’t end on Monday!  Today, as I write this, is Tuesday evening, July 6th and our town is still quite busy.

While I don’t know this for an absolute fact, judging by our past social media success, I have to think that Twitter and Facebook are the two marketing mediums that allowed our destination to extend our holiday period.  For the past few weeks we have tweeted and posted about upcoming 4th of July FREE events.  Our followers and tourists tweeted and posted about the phenomenal free fireworks show we have over our lake and all of the amenities found in the area – from where to find great coffee to lodging to events to the beauty of the lake and the area.  Our social media campaign once again raised awareness of what we offer and the value of our mountain resort destination.

I truly believe that “If you Tweet it, they will come.”  And now I want to add that “they will stay.”  Social media gets the excitement going.  People talking about what there is to enjoy gets other people talking.  From there people visit the links that have been posted and then it’s up to the destination or the business to have the website in place to close the deal.

It is absolutely amazing to watch the true power of social media; the way it takes off once you have a solid program in place!  I want to personally thank all who tweeted and posted about Lake Arrowhead – you are a vital part of our marketing effort and we so appreciate all that you do for us!!

Looking for more small business marketing tips?  A few tips are posted each week on the Just a Small Town Girl Facebook page – hope you will visit and drop a note on the wall!  Please feel free to download The Small Town Marketing Handbook (free short ebook found on the blog) which discusses how social media allows each of us to be part of our own “small town” regardless of where we live.  Also, if you would like to know a little bit more about how I market with little or no budget, here is our case study from Social Media Examiner – http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-social-media-saved-lake-arrowhead-when-city-ad-budgets-ran-dry/