To the editor:
Researching and planning are underway at the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau for the annual sales and marketing plan, and this year we are adding another dimension to our strategy: You! We hope you, your staff and your customers will be the stars of the show this year. Specifically, we want photos of your properties, attractions and businesses to play prominently in our marketing efforts.
If you utilize Instagram personally and/or professionally, we encourage you to post photos of our beautiful destination with the hash tag "#inspirelee." We will use these photos in our marketing efforts via ads, social media and website. Consumers trust and delight in user-generated content. This means they will share your shots much more than staged professional photographs. That's why photographs and social media posts from you and your guests will factor prominently in our marketing strategy.
I'm pleased to offer another incentive to jump on board. We will be giving away prizes in a variety of categories to partners who post photos of our destination on Instagram at #inspirelee.
I realize that to some of you this comes very easy, while others shy away from digital tools. So, to help you become more comfortable with posting photos and using social media, we will begin in September hosting a monthly "Social Media Meet Up" at locations throughout Lee County. Our in-house experts will meet with industry partners in an informal setting to help you become more digitally savvy. These are informal chats, not formal presentations. With your smartphone in hand, we'll experiment with postings and help you learn to respect that power of this marketing medium. The first Social Media Meet Up is scheduled for 9-10 a.m. on Sept. 3 at Six Mile Cypress Slough Preserve, 7751 Penzance Blvd. in Fort Myers.
The ultimate goal is to give you the tools to enjoy social messaging personally to keep in touch with friends and family, professionally to benefit your business and globally to market The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel to prospective visitors.
As for other elements of our 2013-2014 sales and marketing plan, we look forward to unveiling the details at our annual meeting scheduled for Oct. 3. We hope you join us then, and in the meantime, don't forget to post photos on Instagram of our many beautiful and entertaining assets.