Tag Archives: hashtag campaign

Father’s Day Twitter Campaigns: Bacon, Fish, Knives and Grills

This past week, several brands who take care to maintain their man-friendly images took to Twitter with some engaging campaigns relating to meat, its grilling, its hunting (and the clothes needed for the hunting), and of course the clothes in which to stylishly perform the meat hunting.

Oscar Mayer‘s #SayitWithBacon campaign, a play on saccharine jewelry commercials (i.e. #SayitWithDiamondRing) , suggests that “when words aren’t enough,” you give your loved one a box of Oscar Mayer bacon strips. But it’s not only bacon dad gets – there are three unique gift packages offering a special non-bacon-gift within: “The Commander”, which comprises a stainless-steel money-clip engraved with the words “Bring’ it Home”; there’s “The Matador”, which is a set of bacon-strip cufflinks; and “The Woodsman”, which includes a 12-function multi-tool with, you guessed it, a bacon strip carved into the handle.

All packages arrive as a velvet box containing a pack of Oscar Mayer bacon, with special gift enclosed. 360i, the firm that pushed Oreo into the social media fray, is to thank for the brand consciousness becoming one with the bacon-frenzy consciousness.

Sears Grilling is Happiness

Sears‘ long-running #GrillingisHappiness campaign asks Twitter followers to submit stories and participate in a live Twitter party to share Father’s Day plans, and show off each other’s best grilling practices via live chat. Not only is #GrillingisHappiness the retailer’s social media campaign, it’s also a full-fledged online community of grilling specialists and professionals (according to Sears), where visitors can learn new techniques on the art of grilling – as well as other tricks of the outdoor entertainment trade. Recent blog entries on www.grillingishappiness.com have been Father’s Day related, so you know Sears is serious about this holiday.

Dick’s Sporting Goods, as part of their #GreatestGift Twitter campaign, is flying a lucky father and his child of choice (limited to one child per father) to one of five destinations to spend some quality bonding time together either fishing, golfing, hunting, watching baseball, or riding off-road vehicles. Other than making sure their dads are up for these potentially strenuous adventures, contestants should follow the prompts here in order to win. The trip choices are broken up into activity categories: “Baseball” (a trip to the 2013 World Series), “Fishing” (in Alaska), “Golf” (tour of the Golf Channel studios and a trip to Ponte Vedra Beach), “Hunting” (South Dakota’s Cheyenne Ridge Signature Lodge and $500 of hunting apparel), and “Outdoor” (Colorado’s Gateway Canyons).

NRA Dont Tread On Me Twitter Campaign

The NRA (National Rifle Association) is giving away a knife, a hat, and a “shooting vest” for Father’s Day – as well as a “Don’t Tread on Me” package – all part of their #NRAgiveaway campaign. They’ve had little positive engagement with followers so far, and, as in the case of the Tweet I’m embedding here, the campaign is generating some negative feedback, too.

Mr Porter's Net-A-Porter‘s men’s style destination Mr. Porter, opened up a competition to its followers on Instagram, prompting contestants to post a photo of their “sartorially smart father” and mention @MrPorter and #DapperDad. The winner receives an Aesop Grooming Kit, and subsequent bragging rights over all of his friends’ unkempt fathers. Unfortunately the competition has already ended, but you can always play the #WristGame at Men’s Health, which has the potential to create a photographic encyclopedia of people’s wrist fashion (finally).

Oral-B released an only-on-YouTube video, as part of their #PowerofDad Twitter campaign, compiling a chronology of touching moments between fathers and children, beginning with scenes of dads and babies and ending with a dad giving away his daughter at the altar (not the sacrificial kind, though). Apart from this very sweet online-only ad, Oral-B has been fervently engaging followers on Twitter over the past week, encouraging them to participate in the #powerofdad hashtag by speaking highly of their fathers on Twitter and mentioning #powerofdad. From an engagement perspective, it was easily one of the most successful Father’s Day campaigns on Twitter this year, telling some of us, perhaps, that one of the strongest memories we have of our fathers is the one where he first yells at us to brush our teeth.

Which of these campaigns is your favorite? And how will you be celebrating Father’s Day?

How Can Small Businesses Best Use Hashtags?

Hashtags for Small BusinessThis is a guest post by Megan Totka, Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com.

Hashtags are a cornerstone of social media. First utilized on Twitter in 2007 as a means of organizing tweets, hashtags have come to represent anything from the pulse of pop culture to the completely irreverent. With sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, and Tumblr further breeding the concept of “tagging,” and Facebook creeping closer towards utilizing hashtags themselves, it’s clear that tags are here to stay. In addition, the influx of mobile users today only adds to the popularity of the modern hashtag.

Internet marketers and big brands have been jumping on the bandwagon in order to leverage hashtags in their own marketing efforts. We’ve seen a huge influx of big brands using hashtags to create buzz or push a new product. It was difficult to get through a single commercial during this year’s Superbowl without some sort of corresponding tag for each ad.

Hashtags are challenging for marketers due to their seemingly random and spur-of-the moment nature, short lifespan and difficulty to control, and small businesses in particular face challenges when it comes to hashtags. How are SMBs to compete with big business when it comes to leveraging tags? Where’s the money? Are hashtags more trouble than they’re worth? It’s important to step carefully, but hashtags have certainly their place for small businesses looking to create a buzz.

What Are #BigBrands Doing?

Let’s first focus on what big businesses are doing. Today’s biggest brands are attaching a hashtag to just about every product launch. Movie trailers, fast food, you name it; if it’s out there, it has a tag. Hashtags provide a way for brands to gauge interest in what they’re pushing and examine the buzz accordingly.

An effective ad or commercial combined with an equally memorable hashtag can spark a sensation. Consider KFC’s recent “I Ate The Bones” (#iatethebones) promotion. The catchphrase has been used in their latest commercial campaign alongside the hashtag. In conjunction with a contest on their website, users are invited to submit their own photos and videos reacting to the campaign on Twitter through Vine and Instragram, coupled with the #iatethebones tag. The concept here is rather simple; KFC wants users to talk about the promotion, the commercials and also enter the contest. Through hashtags, they get the best of all three worlds.

Is the campaign a success? Difficult to say. True, users are utilizing the hashtag. With an estimated 1 in 100 tweets actually corresponding to KFC’s contest, however, it could be argued that a large chunk of the hashtag’s usage is white noise. This begs the question: if a hashtag is being used beyond its intended purpose, is it still good “press?”

The challenge for small businesses becomes clear when we look at how big brands use hashtags. Hashtags are not always easy to measure in terms of effective engagement. Tags are often short-lived, and a hashtag’s “owner” has almost no control over how it’s utilized.

Meeting the Hashtag Head On: Tips for the #SmallBiz

Find and Leverage Relevant Hashtags

Let’s consider a timely cost-effective approach for small businesses to handle hashtags. A brand could take advantage of a popular tag by either creating or finding a piece of unique content to correspond with that tag. For example, a business looking to take advantage of an #EarthDay tag could tweet a blog post concerning green office supplies or an equally topical article. An art-savvy business could examine similar tags to take pictures of their office or city’s skyline to correspond with a photograph tag on Tumblr or Instragram.

Attaching content to tags can quickly backfire if users feel that the content is overally promotional or even spammy, but if a marketer stays focused on relevant tags and provides meaningful content, it can quicly connect your business to new audiences. Tip: pay attention to the hashtags your customers are using and see if you find a pattern. Commonly used tags amongst your followers may represent opportunities for new content and engagement.

Hashtags? Newsjacking? Hashjacking?

A second approach, which requires a bit more attention to detail, is a modified form of newsjacking. Also known as “hashjacking,” businesses may look at trending topics and topical hashtags and then insert their own content or commentary depending on what’s being talked about. This is an effective way to get some short-term attention or buzz, although it may not represent the long-term engagement that most brands are searching for when it comes to small business social media. Again, the risk is that you insert yourself in a conversation in a way that feels spammy, or even entirely inappropriate–you don’t want to land on next year’s list of social media fails.  Make sure you first take the time to understand what a given hashtag conversation is about before you attach your brand and content to it.

The #BottomLine

Regardless of their viability for smaller brands, hashtags are here to stay. It’s important for small businesses to keep tagging it mind when it comes to their posts and potential engagement opportunities through social media.  As the social sphere continues to change, tags will continue to be part of the mix.

What’s your tagging strategy?

About the Author

Megan TotkaMegan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.

French Bank BNP Paribas Engages Fans With #TweetandShoot

BNP Paribas #TweetandShoot Twitter CampaignThought marketers were running out of creative ways to use Twitter?  BNP Paribas, a French bank, found a new Twitter marketing concept — one that appeals to tennis fans in particular.  The #TweetandShoot campaign allows Twitter users to control robots that send tennis balls at tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga on the court.

The campaign – designed and developed by digital agency We Are Social – is timed with the build-up to the French Open, sponsored by BNP Paribas.  According to ClickZ, followers can “tweet to Twitter-controlled robots who will hurl tennis balls at Tsonga live on the court.”  The balls will come from a variety of angles, and tweeters will even choose where to place their ball, using a drag-and-drop interface on the web.

To participate, fans log in to the campaign’s website using their Twitter name and password; the robot chooses tweets at random among those submitted.

The event will be live-streamed on the campaign’s website today, 3 days before the French Open takes place on Sunday, 5/26.

“I’ve always loved a challenge and when BNP Paribas asked me to take part in a world-first experience to mark its 40-year partnership with Roland Garros, I was immediately intrigued. Being trained by fans on Twitter a few days ahead of the French Open – what a daring challenge,” Tsonga told ClickZ.

Watch a video promoting the campaign here:

Weather Channel Promotes #TornadoWeek With ‘Twitter Stunt’

The Weather Channel's Tweet-powered TornadoThe Weather Channel is premiering the ‘Twitter stunt’ as a marketing tool in a fun campaign to promote #TornadoWeek.  This week, the Weather Channel’s interns are working at desks that have been placed in a “Twitter-powered tornado.”  The more tweets that are sent with #TornadoWeek, the higher the office tornado’s wind speed will rise.

If Twitter mentions make it up to 1 million, the interns will be working in wind speeds equivalent to an EF-5 tornado (a minimum of 200 mph winds).  The action is streaming live on YouTube and on the Weather Channel, so tweeters can see the effect of their efforts.  They can also interact directly with the interns by tweeting @TornadoWeek.

Currently, the #TornadoWeek tweets are at 37,664, and the effective wind speed is 131 mph in the office.  And if you’re worried about the interns, Mashable reports that they’re subjected to “effective wind speed, not actual wind speed; it is a representation of how it feels in the room.”


Campbell’s #SlowKettle Twitter Party Trends With The Pope

Campbells Slow Kettle SoupsHave you heard of a Twitter party?  Major CPG brands – including Campbell’s Soups and Duracell – have started to embrace this new Twitter marketing concept as a way to grow engagement and maximize their brand’s exposure on the platform.

What exactly is a Twitter party? According to the NYC-based influencer activation company Social Media Link, it is “an hour-long moderated chat on Twitter based on a specific theme, brand or product. Each party has a unique branded hashtag to unite the conversation and prizes are given away at random to party participants – helping to generate conversation, engagement and excitement around the brand.”

While many brands are still unaware of the relatively new marketing concept (popularity has been increasing over the past year), a recent Campbell’s Soup Twitter party, using #slowkettle, rivaled breaking news about the new Pope as a national trending topic on the social platform.

The Campbell’s Twitter party was scheduled for March 13th to promote the brand’s Slow Kettle® Style Soups, using #slowkettle to spark tweets from Campbell’s fans.  Fans were eager to participate, with 1,000 people tweeting the hashtag and hoping to win one of numerous party prizes.

Trending Topic #SlowKettleThe party soon made an appearance in the top 10 trending topics on Twitter, and then remained in the top 5 trending topics for a full hour.  That’s a fairly impressive statistic on its own; however, it turned out that the #slowkettle Twitter party took place at the same time as the announcement of the new Pope, accompanied by a slew of trending hashtags including #HabemusPapam, #whitesmoke and #newpope.

How was #slowkettle able to maintain its place in the top 5 trending topics despite this serious competition? The pope is, after all, the leader of 1.2 billion Catholics worldwide.  The answer lies in Social Media Link’s 300K member influencer platform, Smiley360.com, with members across the U.S. — many of whom “are tech & mobile-savvy Midwest moms.”  The effort generated 4,100 tweets, and at one point even reached the #3 trending hashtag in US Trends.

Twitter parties are set up by consulting with the brand to create a theme, prizes and party questions to guide the conversation.  The questions were designed to “spark conversation” and create a “party-like” atmosphere, encouraging people to tweet with personal stories and experiences as well as feedback on the brand/product. According to Jordan Herrmann, Marketing Director at Social Media Link, “The high engagement and volume of tweets was driven by many of the party questions asked to attendees, as well as the brand loyalty to Campbell’s Soup.”



For example, participants in the #slowkettle Twitter party were asked a mix of open questions (favorite activity to warm up in the winter months?) and brand-specific questions (which ingredients were favorites in Campbell’s soups?). To further encourage engagement, prizes were given away at random to those who answered the questions.

These parties have “the potential to generate thousands of tweets with millions of impressions in a very short amount of time.”  In this case, Social Media Link believes it was a combination of the enthusiasm of Campbell’s fans and “the power of the Smiley[360] community of socially-active influencers” that led to success and the trending hashtag.

On average, Twitter parties run by Social Media Link’s influencer program generate:

  • 4,740 tweets
  • 440,000+ reach
  • 4.5MM impressions

Other examples of this type of marketing include Duracell’s #WhatPowersYou Twitter party, which trended #1 nationwide and generated 3,800 Tweets during the party, and Pompeian’s #PompeianParty Twitter Party which generated 6,300 tweets and was the #6 trending hashtag in the US during the party.

Would a Twitter party – or social influencer platform – work for your brand?  If yes, would the higher engagement be reason to shift money away from TV and display ad budgets into social media advertising?

Best of Valentine’s Day Social Media Campaigns: Remote Romeos, Sexy Peanuts, #LastMinuteLovers and More

With Valentine’s Day only one day away, here are some creative ways that brands are engaging with consumers around the holiday:

Mr. Peanut Facebook campaignMr. Peanut is offering free (and sexy…very sexy) Valentine’s Day video cards on Facebook. Available February 1 through February 28, the “Keep That Heart Pumping” app on Mr. Peanut’s Facebook page (with over 517,000 fans) lets users choose from three funny videos, each of which can be personalized with the sender’s name and sent to a loved one; one card even posts a message to the recipient’s Facebook wall, and one places the recipient’s photo in the card.

The campaign’s title also alludes to the “heart healthy” certification earned by some varieties of Planters peanuts (February is National Heart Health Month).  MediaPost calls the cards “cutely provocative,” and we agree. An added bonus: both senders and recipients receive a $1 coupon for Planters nuts.

Pizza Hut Gift CardsPizza Hut‘s #LastMinuteLovers campaign is designed to help those who have fallen seriously behind in their Valentine’s Day shopping. Between February 11 and 13, anyone who tweets @PizzaHut using the hashtag #LastMinuteLovers will be entered to win one of 24 daily “Last Minute Lovers Packages.”  One winner per hour – for three days – will win a bottle of “Eau de Pizza Hut” (yes, we’re serious, Pizza Hut made its own signature fragrance) and a $20 Pizza Hut gift card for a Lover’s Pizza or the Big Pizza Sliders (a new item).  The winners will receive their package in time for Valentine’s Day. (MediaPost)

Epson‘s new campaign, the “Be Here, Print There” Remote Romeo Contest, is designed to promote its new cloud-based printing technology.  The campaign is centered around a video of a young man taking pictures of himself  at scenic destinations, holding up signs showing his love for different women.  He sends the women these photos via the Epson Connect app on his phone, but then ‘accidentally’ sends an “I love Jane” photo to Angela (oops).  Viewers are prompted to tweet – with #EpsonConnect – what Angela should do next; the ten “most original, creative and relevant” responses will win new Epson Connect printers.

The campaign is meant to reach a younger audience and “…to engage them from a humorous standpoint,” said Patrick Chen, product manager for Epson Connect (MediaPost). Chen added, “But it’s also to show that we’re not just appealing to the businessmen, but also to the people in college and high school.”

Puffs Tissues Facebook campaignPuffs Facial Tissues launched the ‘Puff Kisses’ campaign on Facebook with a charitable tie-in to Dress for Success, a non-profit that promotes economic independence for disadvantaged women.  Fans on Puffs Facebook page can send ‘virtual kisses’ – images of lip blots on tissues with cute messages.  Running from February 1 to 24, there are 50 different virtual kisses to choose from, and different colors as well.  Puffs will donate $1 to Dress for Success for every kiss shared, up to $100,000.

Puffs is promoting the campaign to its nearly 515,000 fans on Facebook, and with #PuffsKiss on Twitter. “We’re looking to showcase all the different ways people use tissues,” said Puffs Communications Manager Laura Dressman (ClickZ). “Valentine’s Day was a moment in time to showcase the iconic lipstick blot and it is a fun way to engage.”

Macy’s new #MacysGoesRed campaign asks consumers to engage (using the hashtag) on social platforms to support the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign, which helps fight heart disease in women.  Users can participate on Facebook and Pinterest by sharing one of 11 red-themed images (or uploading their own) and on Instagram by uploading a pic and tagging it #MacysGoesRed.  On Twitter, users can create their own message or share this one: “43 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular disease. RT to lower the count with us! @GoRedForWomen #MacysGoesRed”

Macy’s will donate $2 per post, up to $250,000 (which means the campaign has a goal of 125,000 posts). The campaign is being promoted to the retailer’s 10.4 million fans on Facebook, 153,000 followers on Facebook, and 17,600 followers on Pinterest.  However, ClickZ reported that as of last Friday (halfway through the campaign), the promotion had only earned 2,000 posts – will traffic pick up significantly in the final week?

Were there any Valentine’s Day social media campaigns that caught your eye?

Runaway Holiday Hashtag Campaign: Lidl’s To Donate $260K in Christmas Dinners

Lidl Hashtag Campaign Donates Christmas Dinners (And Dessert) in BelgiumGlobal discount supermarket chain Lidl started a hashtag campaign to do some holiday social good – and may have been caught off guard when it quickly went viral.

The Twitter campaign – launched on Monday, December 10th – offered to donate five four-course Christmas dinners to food banks in Belgium for each tweet using the hashtag #luxevooriedereen, Dutch for “luxury for everyone.”

The company had been expecting to hand out about 1,000 of the meals (worth 20-euros each), according to Reuters.  After local newspapers picked up the offer and promoted it, people started retweeting the hashtag.

When the 24-hour campaign was over, 1500 people had tweeted – which meant 7,500 meals.  Amid rumors that the chain had been “caught out” by its campaign, Lidl rounded the number of meals up to 10,000 and “branded the campaign a success.”  That means a total bill of 200,000-euros ($260,000) for Lidl in donated Christmas dinners.

What’s on the menu for those benefitting from the donated meals?  Tomato soup, vol-au-vents (savory-filled puff pastry) with chips, an ice-cream cake and chocolates, according to a spokesman for Lidl.

The company spokesman said “We’ve learnt quite a few lessons over the past 48 hours, to say the least.” It’s not clear whether the company plans to repeat the campaign next year.

The hashtag campaign was quite successful, and it garnered a ton of media and public attention – though certainly not all positive.  Was this a good move for the brand?  See below for some mixed reactions from Twitter users, and then add your own to the hashtag.

[tweet https://twitter.com/ProNoob13/status/278263462260514816]

[tweet https://twitter.com/b_aerts/status/278399950260408320]

[tweet https://twitter.com/WBoesman/status/278383054190419968]

Durex #1Share1Condom Campaign Helps Fight AIDS

In support of World AIDS Day, Durex created the #1Share1Condom Twitter hashtag campaign to help fight the spread of HIV.  From November 26 through December 1st, Durex offered to donate one unused condom for every tweet with #1Share1Condom and for every share of the World AIDS Day image or video on Durex USA’s Facebook page.

[tweet https://twitter.com/Durex_USA/status/274597268529745922]

These condoms were donated to global and local charities that work to prevent the spread of HIV.  The effort is capped at 2.5 million, and the live ticker on 1share1condom.com shows that Durex is very near to reaching that limit (new tweets are being shown on the ticker, even though it’s past Dec 1st).  The 2.5 million figure represents the 2.5 million people newly infected with AIDS in 2011, according to UNAIDS (AdAge).

Durex USA Supports World AIDS DayBased on AdAge’s calculations, that equals over $600,000 worth of condoms at retail prices, or $0.24 per tweet, like or share.  Kevin Harshaw, marketing director of personal care at Reckitt Benckiser, said “This year, we have decided to use our global market presence to create an initiative that will get the world talking and sharing.”

With over 2.1 million shares in one week, it appears to be working.

Dunkin’ Donuts Promotes New Mobile Payment App With Halloween Contest on Twitter, Instagram

Dunkin' Donuts contest entry by mikewernsingjr via InstagramDunkin’ Donuts new mobile campaign engages consumers with a Halloween-themed contest and mobile gift cards, making use of mobile and social platforms Instagram and Twitter.  The effort is designed to get consumers excited about Halloween themed menu items and to educate them about the brand’s new mobile payment options.

The mobile payment app – launched in August and available on iPhone and Android – lets consumers purchase beverages, food and merchandise at the point-of-sale.

To bring attention to the new mobile payment and gifting app, fans can purchase limited edition Mobile Dunkin’ Donuts cards, featuring several “unique Halloween themed designs.”  Dunkin’ Donuts VP of global consumer engagement, Scott Hudler, told Mobile Marketer that the brand “is the only national coffee retailer to enable people to send virtual gift cards via text, email and Facebook Connect.”

Dunkin_ Donuts contest entry by sugarbutterbaby via InstagramThe campaign also features a social media contest: participating fans can “dress up” their coffee cup for a chance to win a $100 Dunkin’ Donuts Card.  To share photos of their cups in Halloween costumes, fans must use the hashtag #DresseDD when they tweet @DunkinDonuts or post to Instagram.  Hudler sees the social media contest as a way of “putting our fans first” and providing an outlet for the brand’s “highly engaged, creative fans on both Twitter and Instagram.”

On Halloween, the brand will share the photos of five winners – selected for their “creativity and Halloween spirit” – who will receive their $100 gift cards.

The contest just adds incentive to what fans are already doing; according to Hudler, “Our fans regularly submit us photos of doodles on their coffee cups, so we felt this contest tied in perfectly with their loyalty and passion.”  The brand hopes that this engagement will also remind fans about the Halloween-themed items on Dunkin’ Donuts menu.

Mobile is key for Dunkin’ Donuts, as brand that markets itself to consumers who are always on the go (and probably using their mobile phone.)  “Mobile and location-based promotions will continue to be an important part of our overall marketing efforts in the future,” said Hudler.  And to keep fans engaged, the brand plans to “continuously surprise and delight” them with unique content and promotions.

#LoveCapeTown Campaign Shakes Up “Fam” Trip With Crowdsourced Tips for Travel Bloggers

Cape Town Tourism’s most recent marketing initiative used a clever combination of travel blogging, crowdsourcing and social media to draw attention to the city, ranked 23rd among the top 25 travel destinations worldwide in TripAdvisor’s 2012 list of Traveler’s Choice Destinations.

Cape Town's #LoveCapeTown crowdsourcing campaign (via Cape Town Tourism)Cape Town — #1 on that list of destinations, just after hosting the 2010 FIFA World Cup — has worked to sustain high visitor growth, capitalizing on the approximate US $1.8 billion the city invested to welcome over 1.5 million soccer fans back in 2010.

Cape Town Tourism worked hard to convert “Soccer Fans into Cape Town Fans”: a year after the World Cup ended, the I ♥ Cape Town Facebook page reached 100,000 fans.  The page now has over a quarter of a million Facebook fans.  And even before the 2010 event, Cape Town Tourism was no stranger to crowdsourcing and social media, having produced a city guide with content crowdsourced using Facebook and Twitter.

Cape Town’s most recent effort looks to deconstruct the typical traditional press trip (or “fam” trip) – often described by the press (those being “familiarized”) as being herded like cattle, at breakneck speed, from one tourist attraction to another, from one meal to the next. Locals? Local cuisine? No guarantee.

This year, as part of its larger “iAmbassador” campaign, Cape Town Tourism invited four international travel bloggers for a stay in Cape Town. The bloggers (Keith Jenkins– @velvetescape; Melvin Böcher– @traveldudes; Nellie Huang– @WildJunket; and Matt Long– @landlopers) had among them 136,000 Twitter followers and reach “millions of readers each month” through online channels. Then, Cape Town Tourism invited Capetonians to a “Welcome to the Bloggers” Twitter chat on Sunday, July 29th, asking locals to share tips for the bloggers’ itineraries using the hashtag #LoveCapeTown on Twitter (via eTurboNews).

Cape Town Tourism Crowdsourced Press Trip (image: The Happy Explorer blog)The hour-long chat resulted in 1,500 tweets. After that, locals followed the four adventure pros via the hashtag on Twitter and their individual Facebook pages. (“Calling all Capetonians, we’re looking for tips on offbeat things to do and see in the Mother City so if you have a suggestion, be sure to tweet us … we’ll follow up on the best tips and feature them (and you),” posted @velvetescape to his blog.) Later in the week, one of those suggestions may have caused him to be in position to witness a seal stealing the catch at the waterfront:

According to a recap report from Fazielah Williams of Cape Town Tourism, the kickoff chat and week-long use of the #LoveCapeTown hashtag produced more than 23 million tweet impressions. Williams goes on to quote Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism;

“We know that this campaign was a success from many points of view. It was instant – and yet there are still many more blogs and tweets that will follow ….  The campaign was followed with interest by traditional media, but the biggest success of this campaign was the citizen engagement it led to. For us, it proves that often we should just initiate and guide the conversation, setting up platforms where it can unfold.”

Du Toit-Helmbold also quotes blogger @Traveldudes’ opinion of the new improved “fam” trip model:  “The engagement of Capetonians in the #LoveCapeTown campaign was really impressive, I haven’t seen this in any other blog trip campaign so far.”

So locals become the virtual tour guides, providing a list of visit-worthy places, restaurants and experiences, while the bloggers “play a vital role, sharing their experiences via social media in real-time and providing destinations with easily-searchable online content,” according to iAmbassador Keith Jenkins.  Will other cities embrace crowdsourcing as tools to promote tourism?