Social success: think authentic blogs, crowdsourced pics and conversions

It is all very well developing a cool app, running a successful blog, and giving away US$1,000 prizes, but what should you expect back?

Social success: think authentic blogs, crowdsourced pics and conversions

It is all very well developing a cool app, running a successful blog, and giving away US$1,000 prizes, but what should you expect back? San Francisco-based Liftopia, an online retailer of ski lift tickets and mountain resort activities, shares some recent campaigns with EyeforTravel.com.

In recent months, Liftopia has run a number of successful social campaigns. From developing a new app, which helped substantially boost its mailing list, to a promo that secured 10,000 entries and crowdsourcing fantastic images, the company believes that engaging via social really does work. Katie Kearsey, Social Media Manager at Liftopia, gives us the run down on four recent projects.

Apps: to drive conversions
In November last year, Liftopia launched The Where I’ve Skied Challenge Facebook App. This allows potential customers to put together and publish a gallery of the logos of the ski resorts they have been to and compare your list against friends. There is also something in it for Liftopia. According to Kearsey, it’s a great way for the firm to engage with its current fans, grow its Facebook audience organically as a result of users challenging friends and sharing the app with them, and acquire new email addresses to drive more conversions. “Amazingly, one in three people have subscribed to our mailing list,” she said.

Blogs: for authentic tips
The Liftopia blog was relaunched in September 2011, and has grown tremendously over the past year and a half. The company has over 35 contributors which include both Liftopia employees but also guest bloggers who hail from across North America. Consumers are increasingly aware of how blogs are being used, so Liftopia makes a point of encouraging all contributors to keep their voices authentic. “We have a great variety of posts – from how to pick out the perfect pair of goggles to the different types of moustaches spotted on the slopes for Movember,” said Kearsey, “That sparks connections with skiers and riders from around the world of all ages and abilities.”

The blog is also closely tied to the company’s social efforts, and it consistently promotes the posts on all social channels, asking fans and followers questions related to the post.

…And blogs with a difference
The Mountain Collective Chronicles is a blog series launched in early January this year. Liftopia engaged New York Times writer and skier, Mike Ames, and his friend, Mike Sesko, who went on a two-week road trip to visit all four Mountain Collective resorts: Aspen/Snowmass, Jackson Hole, Alta, and Squaw Valley/Alpine Meadows. While on the road, Liftopia engaged its social media audience on Facebook and Twitter by asking them questions to help guide the trip – where they should eat, drink, ski, and sleep at and around each of these four resorts. Although their trip has come to an end, the pair has been documenting their entire journey on the Liftopia blog. “From early mornings to late nights, from snowy slopes to ski towns, from meetings with Mother Nature to close encounters of the local kind, they’ve been releasing bits and pieces of their story each week,” Kearsey said.

A world of images
It is well known that in the travel industry the use of great images really does excite and inspire people. “Our Shot of the Week Challenge on Facebook encourages fans to share photos taken on the slopes for the chance to be our featured Shot of the Week,” said Kearsey, “It’s a great program, because it keeps them coming back each week to see the winning shot, and it helps them to keep Liftopia in mind when they’re out on the slopes and taking pictures.” An added bonus is that it’s a useful way of crowdsourcing user-generated rich media.

Social promos spread with Wildfire
Our “Gear Up For Winter Sweepstakes” was a successful social promotion, which Liftopia ran late last year to give away two gifts worth US$1,000 and a GoPro camera. This generated more than 10,000 entries in three weeks, allowing the firm to acquire thousands of new fans and email addresses while also engaging with current fans. “We used Wildfire, and as a result were able to run the contest on Facebook as well as a microsite,” said Kearsey, “and we were also able to add Facebook and Twitter share functionality to help the promotion spread.”

To hear more insights from Liftopia’s Katie Kearsey, join EyeforTravel at Social Media & Mobile Strategies for Travel, 2013 in San Francisco from March 18-19.

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