Mount Airy recognized for social media efforts


First Posted: 6/17/2009

There are several ways to reach Mount Airy and they dont necessarily include car, plane, bus or foot.
In fact, Mount Airy is growing globally and its social networks make it reachable by the touch of keyboard at Myspace.com, Facebook.com or Twitter.
The 2009 Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina recognized the Greater Mount Airy Chamber of Commerce in Concord at its annual meeting for its social media, specifically, its E-newsletter, which received the Gold Award in the category of Destination Constituents Communications.
What does that mean?
Mount Airy stays in touch with more than 60,000 people bi-monthly through an electronic newsletter sent via e-mail that keeps them updated on different events going on in the area tailored to their interests.
We are excited that we have been recognized by the Destination Marketing Organization of North Carolina for our award. This award proves that our E-newsletter and marketing efforts are effective in luring people to our area and we appreciate the recognition for this achievement, said Jessica Icenhour, the director of tourism at the chamber of commerce yesterday.
The E-newsletter started in October 2007, when the chamber revamped its Web site: www.visitmayberry.com. There, people can register for the e-mail and join Mayberry on Myspace, Facebook or Twitter. The E-newsletter is e-mailed to those who have opted into receiving the E-newsletter along with upcoming events. These events and information changes each month target different types of visitors to gain interests in coming to Mount Airy.
The E-newsletter consists of upcoming events in our area. It is an important component of our marketing as it is directly tied into our Web site promotions and advertising. Our E-newsletter directly ties into our Social Media Promotions including Twitter, Facebook and Myspace, Icenhour said.
Our E-newsletter project has been very successful as we have been able to lure more visitors to our social media Web sites as the links are listed on our E-newsletter to visitors on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and our Web site, www.visitmayberry.com. We have also been able to send this out at meetings or events to those who are coming to town the following weekend. (It) allows them to see what all there is to see and do in the area. It has also been successful with promoting our events to local hotels, attractions and locals who live in the area to promote what all is going on in the area.
The E-newsletters are targeted toward different audiences and markets. Every E-newsletter sent out has a new focus such as planning a wedding, planning a family reunion, pet-friendly lodging, motorcycle events, outdoor recreation, car shows and festivals. In the past, E-newsletters have also focused on lodging packages, golf packages, girlfriend getaways, romance getaways and family value vacations.
Icenhour said the E-newsletters have been a helpful tool for both visitors and residents.
We have received great feedback from the E-newsletter including local residents who now have outlets to submit their upcoming festivals and events to our Web site at www.visitmayberry.com. All links lead each user directly back to our Web site through the E-newsletter at (the site). Many visitors have commented on the helpfulness of the E-newsletter and how they were able to find so many things to see and do while visiting our area, she said.
Icenhour will teach the social media tools that she has implemented at chamber through the Corporate and Continue Education department at Surry Community College. The class is called Social Media: Beginners Guide to Facebook, Twitter and Others, and will focus on the popularity of social media and how it allows people to connect in the online world to form relationships for personal and business use. The class is Aug. 25 through Sept. 8 on Tuesdays from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Workforce Development Center. The cost is $50.
The chamber will also be sponsoring a social media workshop on July 14 at the Museum Annex at the Mount Airy Museum of Regional History.
The Mount Airy Tourism Development Authority and Chamber of Commerce will continue to participate in online marketing and Web site marketing including our E-newsletter. I am currently working on changing the format of our E-newsletter to allow more targeted efforts in the future, Icenhour said. Our efforts in social media and viral marketing have allowed us to form relationships with those one and one and make them aware of what all there is to see and do in Mount Airy and the surrounding region.
Contact Erin C. Perkins at [email protected] or 719-1952.

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