100 Years of Advancing Destinations

Mastering Facebook Marketing: A Conversation with Caroline Bean of VisitPhilly.com (Part 2)

Posted: December 30, 2013
Blog Topics Covered:

Caroline Bean of VisitPhillyAs promised, we are back for part 2 of our interview with Caroline Bean of VisitPhilly.com. Our first post last week was met with great response and enthusiam about the success that the team at VisitPhilly has had, and this second half of the post does not dissappoint either.

When we first met back at Mojo in Austin a few years back we talked about how Facebook for you guys is one of the top referring traffic channels for you guys. I think that underscores the importance of driving traffic back to you and your partner sites as well as alternate domains.

In terms of traffic back to VisitPhilly.com and your other domains, is Facebook your one of your top producing traffic channels? If so where does it rank?

Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest sent 800,000 visits to visitphilly.com and uwishunu.com in 2013.  Facebook alone drove 47,127 visits to our websites in October 2013. We almost always drive Facebook fans back to our own sites, because we then have the opportunity to frame the information for visitors and encourage them to continue exploring and planning a trip on our sites, rather than sending them to other sites where we can’t position the visit.

Facebook usually ranks within the top-10 traffic sources for visitphilly.com and within the top-five for our blog, uwishunu.com. And of course, Facebook mobile is growing exceedingly quickly.

Traffic Source Rank:

The question we all ask, how do you measure the success of your efforts. Do you rely soley on Facebook insights to measure and report on the ROI of your efforts or do you use third party tools i.e. Simply Measured, PageLever, Buffer etc?

In a monthly social media report that we cull together in-house, we measure all of our social media outputs. Specifically for Facebook, we measure:

  • Total number of fans, both monthly and year-over-year
  • Total traffic driven from Facebook to our websites (using Google Analytics)
  • Facebook’s standings in traffic source rank (using Google Analytics)
  • Monthly potential reach, stories created and “People Talking About This” (using Simply Measured
  • Most engaging Facebook posts (using Facebook Insights and Simply Measured)
  • Most-clicked Facebook posts (using bit.ly)
  • Facebook advertising spend (using Facebook Insights)

We also use Offerpop for out-of-the-box Facebook apps, and we use their dashboard to report on individual promotions.

Obviously, we want to grow in followers and continue to drive more traffic, but not without engagement. In our goals for this fiscal year, engagement took precedence over overall growth. We want to engage with these fans on Facebook – and then, ultimately, have them visit.

With over 270k fans, I imagine managing their expectations and keeping it interesting can become a monumental task. How do you manage it all? Is there a team that contributes or just one person?

As I mentioned, we have a robust content team. We have a research team that helps us measure what we are doing on Facebook, and adjust strategy if it’s not working. We have an expanded social media team of nearly twenty people who touch social media in some way each day, even if it’s not their primary responsibility. Our web team works hard to incorporate social sharing into our sites and consults on content distribution.

Daily, however, we have just hired a social media manager, Rachel Hara, who posts to Facebook and continually engages on the page. But she works with the uwishunu.com blog editor and the visitphilly.com team to review content calendars in advance. She works with our photographer (Meredith Edlow) to plan appropriate photos with the post. And she consults with me (director of social media) for timing, year-over-year knowledge and overall strategy.

Nothing is done is a vacuum here; social media is well integrated across all departments, and it is supported by our leadership. We know that social media isn’t free – and we invest our resources (staff and budget) into sound social media marketing.

Well that's it for now everyone. As you can, VisitPhilly is at a level I can only describe as being at the top of the industry in terms of overall strategy. Also something else to remember, is that the a strong social media strategy is only as strong as the support from senior management and thrives best when organizational buy-in is present. I think after reading Caroline's comments, you would agree! Until next time everyone!