Reaching a new audience with Facebook pages

So a while back I had established a new fan page on Facebook as a pseudo-experiment on social media for travel destinations. In the interest of full disclosure (for whatever it’s worth), I am employed at the Washington, DC CVB and responsible for their online marketing programs. Sure, typical programs could have been used like e-mail marketing, online advertising, or something else, but why be complacent with these programs? I wanted to explore the potential of Facebook in reaching out to the masses so I established a Washington, DC fan page and it subsequently grew. From posting videos to drive traffic to campaign microsites or continuing to gather a growing network of DC aficionados to help drive site traffic and ROI, the site was pretty helpful. Unfortunately the success of this site led to Facebook shutting down the page and issuing me a warning on abuse of their terms of use.

So what were the end results? In less than six months, the DC fan page resulted in over 600 “fans”. While not as many as pages like Barack Obama or The Food Network, the page did surpass some pretty decent pages like Mashable and National Treasure: Book of Secrets. The page also “hosted” events happening throughout the city like the semi-annual Restaurant Week, International Wine & Food Festival, and the ever popular Cherry Blossom Festival. Perhaps the most popular event hosted by the DC page, the Cherry Blossom Festival received over 6600 attendees and had over 150+ comments on the Facebook “wall”.

What would I have done differently on this page? Had I exerted some more resources to this social experiment, I probably would have explored the Facebook Ads to help drive more traffic and “fans” to the page, but with no promotions, the page received little viewership, but the  page still accumulated more fans daily – on average about 10 a day, sometimes 20. Not that significant, I agree, but for a travel destination to take on some sort of presence on social network, this gives me a little bit more ammunition to try again and make a case for why we should market travel destinations & services online.

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