VCVB wins Governor’s Award for social media

Published 11:18 am Monday, October 5, 2015

Social media is a skill Vicksburg exceeds in.

The Mississippi Governor’s Conference on Tourism wrapped up Tuesday with the Governor’s Awards Luncheon where the Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau was awarded with the Social Media Strategy of the Year Award.

The Mississippi Tourism Association gave out awards at the luncheon in 18 categories for different achievements in the hospitality industry including individual accomplishments. Travel media, governmental friends and community volunteers were recognized in addition to members of the Mississippi Tourism Association for their contributions to tourism.  Every CVB in the state was eligible to submit themselves for awards.

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“Special recognition should be given for their outstanding accomplishments.  We are happy to have the opportunity to honor the winner of this award as we truly appreciate their dedication not only to our organization but to the entire tourism industry,” Kappi Allen, president of MTA, said in a press release.

MTA acknowledged the VCVB’s effective marketing plan, which integrates social media to develop relationships with users.

“Our social media strategy was mainly built around building good content and making sure that we could tell our story on all of our platforms,” VCVB communications manager Laura Beth Strickland said.

Members of the VCVB staff work together to create entries for their blog along with their active presence on multiple social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. While likes and follows are growing each day on each social media platform, the VCVB’s main focus is on the blog, which has garnered about 5,845 sessions since its inception in February 2014.

“We have been very aggressively working on building content which we have done through video insertion into our social media strategy and through concept building through blogging,” VCVB executive director Bill Seratt said.

The blog won an Award of Excellence designation in April from the Public Relations Association of Mississippi Prism Awards and is the hub with which the rest of their online strategy extends. The VCVB also contributes to the #TeamVicksburg blog.

As for what set them apart from others, Strickland said it could have been the results they have gotten from their Internet presence. The numbers on each social media network are growing steadily every month with them getting over 1,000 likes, 600 follows and almost 700 newsletter subscribers in between August 2014 and August 2015.

The VCVB has over 10,000 total Facebook likes, and BAD Consulting has named the VCVB’s Twitter and Pinterest in their Top 100 Destination Marketing Organizations to Follow.

Strickland said it is a joint effort.

“Our full marketing team works on the blog and on all of the strategy behind our marking effort,” Strickland said.

The VCVB staff is excited and proud the award covers more than just one marketing campaign but the entire strategy behind their effort.

“This whole industry functions on social media,” Seratt said. “The greatest amount of our inquirers come from personal devices, and to have that strategy out there that is so effective just means the world to me.”

Strickland, a Vicksburg native, is passionate about her job, and she is proud to be able to shine a positive light on her hometown.

“I love my city, and I’m glad that I’m able to make that stamp and really promote Vicksburg,” Strickland said. “I’m just really excited to see all that hard work recognized.”