First thoughts on Tweeting for a holiday destination

First published on LinkedIn 

Balloon over Lake Bled on Monday morning

I have spent the last 5 months working on @BledSlovenia and@SlovenianAlps Twitter feeds – and loved it. Not only because there is so much – for want of a better word – “fan” content on the web, but I have the ability to compare and contrast performance of Tweets for an international audience in two different types of “Brand”.

Just do a search for “Lake Bled” on Google, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Flickr and Twitter. The result? Thousands upon thousands of photos, videos and blogs, largely not “professional”, but put there because people who come here love this place. Then there are the daily RTs, conversations with the community and it leads to a very active feed with strong commitment by a surprisingly large percentage of the “Followers”. In this instance I think “Followers” is not the right word. “Followers” implies passivity; this is not a passive group. A very good number get involved sometimes every day.

@SlovenianAlps is a bigger geographic area than Bled taking in a number of towns and villages in Gorenjska (Upper Carniola). It is popular during the summer but comes into its own as a winter destination. I have found it harder to build the community during the summer, but I have been able to research and plan a winter campaign to hand over to my successor.
Now, we are not talking about big numbers here. When I took over @BledSlovenia it had 555 followers. Next week it should reach 2500. @SlovenianAlps was in mid-double digits in June and should reach 1500 next week. I fully expect it to get to 3000 by the end of the winter. OK it’s not Coke or Justin Bieber, but compares well with others in the area such as @VisitLjubljana and @SloveniaInfo.
[Incidentally if there was a paid advertising campaign (which we can’t do on Twitter in Slovenia – it is not a qualifying country), there would be 5 or 10 times more. But what I know for sure through personally building the community that the “Followers” are indeed interested and will participate when they want to. And I have got to know several hundred of them.]
I am gathering lots of information about good practice using Twitter which I hope to publish later. For example, afternoon is supposed to be the best time to Tweet. Well, if you have an international audience

  • speaking around 10 languages (English, French, Spanish, Serbian, Russian, Arabic, Croatian, Italian, German and oh Slovenian) using at least 4 scrips – Roman, Gregorian, Japanese and Arabic)
  • stretching from West coast USA to Japan

then there is no afternoon. (And you get to use Google Translate a lot!)
I can also confirm is content is king then the Image is an Idol.
This was just intended as a quick note – getting a bit long. But I shall add more to this another time.

Done properly you only have 93 characters

93The question was “What can you say in 140 characters?”. In reality, you only have 93 characters. Not every tweet is perfect and tweets really should not be uniform, but …

A Tweet, well done has a Hashtag, Link (I use Bit.ly to help count clicks-through) and a photo. I schedule on Tweetdeck (Hootsuite is fine, I schedule RTs on Hootsuite. I must give Buffer another go. I was using it just after its release).

All the elements in place together will allow you only 93 characters. Choose them – and your link and your photo – carefully. And hone your editing skills.

Create2014 Conference and KickStarter

I am very proud to have been invited to speak at Create2014 in Derry~Londonderry September 17 as part of CultureTECH week.

With in 24 hours of launching their KickStarter, the reached 50% of their goal and are as I write £311 short of their £2,500 target with 25 days left to go.

You can Back them on KickStarter here: kck.st/1sBjqtL 

 

Dinner at A l’Art Bled – Vila Istra

This is a review written for Trip Advisor

This was the most inventive and memorable dinner I have had in many years. A good dinner is not just about sitting down and eating; it is about the whole experience and the company.

Dawn and I arrived a little early – no problem a cold glass of Slovenian Champagne with mint “from the garden” was our welcome as Dejan asked whether we preferred to sit inside or out. We were briefly tempted to sit inside the stunning 1878 Austro-Hungarian house on the edge of Lake Bled, but it was a warm sunny evening so we sat outside on the veranda overlooking the lake.

Miha the chef came out to talk to us about what he had been preparing. A proper conversation about food, ingredients, and source.

Dejan talks in detail about each wine on the list; there is an emphasis on Slovenia – a country which produces some excellent award winning wine, but like much else about Slovenia, not well known, or at least not known well enough. Miha came to the table at each course to tell us about what he had prepared. His ingredients included flowers and herbs from the hotel garden, and mushrooms from the surrounding forests. After the main course we invited both of them to join us for a glass of wine. We talked about food and dreams and ideas. This was a table for dreams and plans as the sun set behind the Slovenian Alps.

Dejan brought us a glass of the best desert wine I have ever had – I tend to avoid desert wines – and local pear brandy. I should have taken notes – I’ll have to go back to find out what they were.

Expensive? Not compared to any northern European city restaurant with such high standards of cooking, welcome, presentation.

By the end of the evening we were exchanging email addresses and links to Facebook pages and promising another visit. It can’t come soon enough.