I’m back with Destination DC, Washington DC’s destination marketing organization. And, really, what I want to do is help them with their social media efforts. If you recall, in my last blog post, 4 Best Practices Destination DC Should Do to Increase Social Media Engagement, I pointed out what they were doing right and what they were doing wrong. I conducted a social media audit on one of my favorite cities for a grad school project. I didn’t know that I would find a severe lack of two-way engagement on their top social media channels.
The average engagement rate across industries on Facebook is less than 1%.
The next project that was part of this Strategic Social Media Communications course was to conduct a mini-version of a competitive analysis. A mini-version because we only audited one social channel with the competitive examination. After researching the nation’s top cities for convention and tourism, and comparing social media numbers, I decided on Choose Chicago. The platform I chose was Facebook.
For July 2020, the top-performing post for Destination DC is a beautiful sunrise shot at the National Mall on July 18, with the caption, “There’s truly nothing like sunrise 🌅 on the National Mall.” The top post for Choose Chicago was posted on July 4, 2020. It’s a photo of the American Flag on the side of a building with the message: Wishing you and yours a happy 4th of July with a flag emoji. According to Social Insider, both of these blog posts follow best practices on social media as photos receive the most engagement for travel brands.
So, which image post do you think received the most engagement? The one on the left of the Wrigley Building or the one to the right of the National Mall.
If you chose Chicago, you’d be correct. Destination DC’s image post has an engagement rate of 19.7%. These are excellent numbers and fantastic engagement for Facebook.
A recent report published by Rival IQ has the average engagement rate across industries on Facebook as less than 1%. However, Choose Chicago’s post has an engagement rate of 42%. It might seem that, of course, an image of a flag would generate a lot of engagement on the 4th of July. However, there’s more going on here than the holiday. Choose Chicago’s high engagement rates is based on a deliberate plan to engage and deliver high-quality content.
Destination DC vs. Choose Chicago: Media Mix
Choose Chicago utilizes a mix of links, photos, and video versus Destination DC that posted links 93% of the time during the examination period. Out of 33 posts, 31 were links, and two were images. Hootsuite’s 14 Best Social Media Practices You Should Follow in 2020 suggests a rule of thirds media mix; 1/3 posts to promote the business (e.g., links to content on tourism site), 1/3 share ideas and posts from influencers, and 1/3 share personal stories. Honestly, many travel brands aren’t there in regards to engagement and media mix. However, Choose Chicago is closer to this practice than Destination DC. Destination DC is posting more often, but getting less engagement. A clear indication they need to change up what they’re posting. And, once they start posting higher quality content, they have to get social.
I’ve always been told a smile never hurt anyone, but it may brighten someone’s day. Social media is about being social, and socializing is a two-way process. Destination DC needs to engage with its audience. They can do something as simple as setting the goal of interacting with a third of those who comment by either liking the comment or responding to the comment or post. Sometimes it really is the simple things.
Leave me a comment below and let me know what you think of this comparison between DC and Chicago. Who do you think had the most engagement? Have you been to either of these fantastic cities?