Sheila Guides You to the Good Stuff

May 26, 2009

Bring the money home: launch a Shop Local campaign

Filed under: Economic Development — Sheila Scarborough @ 8:26 pm
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Sheila Scarborough, Liz Strauss and Becky McCray at SOBCon09, ChicagoThe publication of my Social Media and Tourism ebook yesterday marked the start of an exciting business collaboration with Oklahoma-based entrepreneur and small town business expert Becky McCray.

We are going to work together as speakers, trainers and consultants, showing others how to use social media for economic development.

There are a number of ideas and products in the works including interactive training packages and possibly paid membership to a Web-supported community.

Here at the beginning, Becky will focus largely on small town entrepreneurship and I’ll focus on what we call “Tourism 2.0” – how travel and tourism can use social media tools to raise awareness of their destinations.

We see them as part of a greater economic development whole for any size of town or city, anywhere.

As a small town entrepreneur herself, Becky noticed lately that many “Shop Local” campaigns seemed to be targeted to larger cities, and she had specific ideas about how to execute such a project in a small town.

Being Becky, she went ahead and wrote the book on it:  a step-by-step guide to starting a “Shop Local” campaign in a small town.   I recommend it for any business person, especially in this tough economy.

I assure you that as we launch the rest of our business, you’ll hear about it on this blog, from me on Twitter or from @BeckyMcCray on Twitter.

Thanks for your support!

May 25, 2009

Social Media and Tourism: An Ebook to Get Started

I love to combine travel and social media. Here's an ebook to get YOU started, too! (photo by Sheila Scarborough, taken at Jelly Coworking Round Rock TX)Confused about the exact definition of social media, and how it can apply to your travel and tourism organization?

You’ll be happy to know that one of my own goofy definitions of social media is “blogs and stuff,” because I like to explain things to folks in plain English.

Want more help in navigating the two-way Web 2.0 world? My ebook is now available:

Social Media – What It Is and Why It Matters to Travel and Tourism

It’s the first in a series of ebooks I’m writing that will help bring focus to the power of Web-based communities in the world of tourism.

In this one, I explain:

**  Why —  why social media is a powerful communication tool.

**  What —  what are some of the social media platforms and tools, with examples of tourism organizations that are using Facebook, Twitter, etc. right now.

**  How —  how to get your tourism organization started in social media, either with baby steps or what we call in Texas “going in whole hog.”

The ebook only costs $9 because I want to make it affordable for the smallest travel and tourism company. I’ll take PayPal or any major credit card.

Please see the payment button below to buy it. Thanks!

May 24, 2009

So Much More Hawaii – talking travel story with blogs

Beach Office (courtesy Scott Ableman on Flickr CC)Next week, my 9-year-old son and I are heading west from Texas to spend 10 full days in the Hawaiian islands, all because of blogging and Twitter.

Through my tweets, writing and particularly my travel blogs, I’ve gotten to know Christine Lu of Cilantro Media and several people who work in tourism for the state of Hawaii.  They’ve gotten to know me and my enthusiasm for social media in tourism.

To connect digital creatives with a beautiful place, the Hawaii Tourism Authority is bringing a group of prominent bloggers to Hawaii to “talk story” about what we find on Kauai, Maui, the Big Island and Oahu. I’ll be the blogger who mostly covers family travel.

The tour is called So Much More Hawaii (full Web site up in the next day or so. Meantime, add your best pics to our Flickr pool.)  (Update – here is the So Much More Hawaii blog/microsite that includes our content plus that of local bloggers.)

I was on Christine Lu’s China 2.0 tour in November 2008,  and social media is a common theme in her life for creating those connections.  She writes:

“The upcoming ‘So Much More Hawaii’ tour is meant as a proof of concept that through social media, first-hand insight of Hawaii can create content and outreach that influences those to understand Hawaii better and want to visit the islands…key bloggers in different vertical niche markets [will] experience the islands as a group, with separate sector focuses. Each one has a sector they are known for covering and their visit to Hawaii is meant to share this with their audience.”

Other bloggers on the tour include:

As we all know, the economy is down around the world. The Hawaii tourism industry is in crisis right now and the outlook is grim.  I applaud Christine and others for seeking new, more effective ways to use social media to showcase the islands for potential visitors.

Here are some of the blog posts already online about So Much More Hawaii:

Keep an eye not only on this blog but also on the Perceptive Travel Blog, my Twitter stream and the @HawaiiHTA stream (we’re using hashtag #HawaiiHTA.)

Just So You Know Disclaimer:  The Hawaii Tourism Authority through Cilantro Media is paying my way to Hawaii, and also paying most of my expenses while I am there including lodging.  I am contributing to my son’s expenses. The point of the trip is to bring experienced bloggers and communicators to the islands to talk about what we see; my primary focus will be on travel with kids. No one has told me that I cannot post negative information. No one has told me that I must say positive things.  I will be as objective as I can possibly be.

May 14, 2009

Share your virtual cookies with your imaginary Internet friends

Sheila shares a social media cookie in Hutchinson, Kansas (courtesy Becky McCray on Facebook)As soon as our gaggle settled in for the first meeting on the blogger’s tour in Hutchinson, Kansas, we started whipping out the laptops, cameras and other geek accoutrements.

That’s what those who are wired into the social web do – we start connecting immediately.

Bloggers are natural connectors, but we do it differently than some, and we use Web tools in ways that seem strange to the unplugged.

Sitting around the table, we introduced ourselves and ate box lunches while we yakked, tweeted and photographed everything.

At one point, I pulled this enormous cookie from my lunch and made some joke about it, and small business whiz Becky McCray pulled out her camera to take a photo.

You could sense that our Hutchinson hosts thought we were a bit silly, photographing everything, but I said, “Just you wait, this cookie can get around, and we’ll use it to talk about your town.”

  • The “Hutch cookie” lives on Becky McCray’s Facebook profile under Photos. More importantly, it’s in the Hutch Blogger Tour set. That set shows people some of the neat stuff we saw in Hutchinson (and every time she uploaded something to it, everyone in her Facebook network saw it.)
  • I tweeted about the cookie after the “Share your cookies with your imaginary Internet friends” was posted.  Because the post was hashtagged with #Hutch (the Hutchinson-related hashtag) it also shows up in Twitter Search.

Yes, it’s only a cookie. It’s a seemingly pointless photo; but, it will live on forever, and so will our words about Hutchinson, Kansas.

THAT’S why the Web is powerful as hell.

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