Challenges : The beginning of the pandemic in March of 2020 prompted a shift in the social media landscape. While the world went into lockdown all at once with city-mandated quarantines and restrictions, people turned to their phone screens to cultivate human connections; and with that came an explosive rise of social media interaction.
Communication Tool we are used : PR, Events, Social Media, Advertising.
Result : The hospitality and tourism industry took a hard hit due to the pandemic. Back in March, when it dawned on most of us that all travel plans were canceled for the rest of the year, the same question was raised for all hospitality-focused social media experts: How to increase and maintain engagement without a call-to-action to travel?
For social media accounts like @visitebarbadosand @calalunahotel, we particularly wanted to be cautious of our messaging. Eliminating call-to-actions, we delivered more hopeful messaging about travel. With taglines such as “We’ll see you soon” and “Reminisce about travel,” we created a feeling of nostalgia and empathy towards visiting a destination. As for content, we stayed away from photos showing groups of people and delivered more nature shots and photos, which represented the essence of each location. Content that seemed to keep people in positive spirits, including cocktail recipes, virtual happy hours, Live DJ sets, yoga classes, and mental health tips, all worked to keep the minds of our audience distracted from the travel restrictions and virtually connected with our clients. To keep our audience engaged, we used interactive Instagram Stories using Instagram Stickers and always kept a conversation going by asking questions and encouraging followers to comment and share travel stories.
The strict lockdown period also raised initiatives to support small businesses during both a health and economic crisis. To show our support, our team at CIIC launched the internal social media initiative, #LoveFromaDistance, to showcase how we support local businesses in our homes of Miami, New York, and San Diego. Every week, a team member made a purchase from a local small business and highlighted the brand on our social media platforms. It gave us a chance to feature some amazing brands while encouraging our followers to shop and #SupportLocal.
With the shift to virtual events, clients like Florida Wine Academy, which have annually hosted Miami Champagne Week at signature Miami locations, now we’re adjusting to hosting their weeklong event in a virtual setting. Our social media team’s challenge was synonymous with our initial challenges at the start of the pandemic: How to reach a social media audience and keep them interested in attending (yet another) virtual event. To map out a month’s worth of content in Miami Champagne Week’s preparation, we brainstormed what our audience of wine aficionados would like to see on their feed. This resulted in going back to some of our proven tactics which worked well at the start of the pandemic: interactive posts on the feed/stories, videos from industry professionals, and light-hearted, inviting content. To expand our audience, we worked with like-minded social media accounts through the use of hashtags and geo-tags. A simple act of engagement, like commenting or “liking” a photo, increases brand visibility and the chances of gaining organic followers. The conclusion of Miami Champagne Week brought our team new insight and strategies to apply for similar events in the future.