SNOW HILL – Tourism officials outlined the importance of social media as a method of promotion during a meeting with county leaders.
At last week’s meeting of the Worcester County Commissioners, Worcester County Tourism Director Lisa Challenger and Mark Huey, her department’s social media coordinator, shared the various ways they use social media to promote the area.
Huey, a photographer and graphic designer, was hired in 2013 as the tourism department’s first social media coordinator. He manages the county’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest accounts.
Huey said the county’s “Beach and Beyond” Facebook page had close to 16,000 followers. He uses the page to share high quality photos as well as a listing of local events and relevant articles. He said many of the photos he shared were ones he took himself.
“People want the latest,” he said. “They want current. Creating native content is the best approach to that.”
He said the county’s Twitter and Instagram accounts each had more than 3,000 followers. Though the county only has about 300 followers on Pinterest, Huey said that like the other social media accounts, it was still a way to generate interest in Worcester County.
“You start telling this story,” he said. “People are more inclined to visit a place if they have a story and a narrative to go with it — if they can imagine themselves spending a day there. It’s a lot harder to convince people to go somewhere if there’s no visual offering to give them.”
Huey said that when he was generating content for the social media platforms, he tried to put it in a format that could also be used on the county’s tourism website.
“If we’re going to create this content we might as well find a way to present that content on our website, in an article or in a format we can link to,” he said. “We can drive traffic to our website.”
Huey told the commissioners one of the key benefits to social media was that it provided opportunities to market to specific audiences.
“You can select the audience in a much more targeted way than traditional mass media would allow,” he said.
Challenger praised Huey’s dedication to his position as social media coordinator and told the commissioners that in addition to taking photos and writing articles to promote the county, he’d also designed the new “Beach and Beyond” logo.
“He’s the total package that I love having to work with,” she said. “During the budget hearing a few years ago, when someone stood up and said ‘why do we need to pay a kid to play on his phone’ … as you can see it’s a lot more than that.”