Skift Take

Pure Michigan's combination of prepared content calendars and diligent real-time engagement is the powerful recipe that led it become one of the most talked about destinations on social media today.

When thinking of U.S. destinations that have a handle on innovative social campaigns, states like California, Colorado, or New York might come to mind. But it’s unlikely that many would point to Michigan as the social media maven of U.S. marketing agencies.

Michigan Economic Development Corporation‘s ‘Pure Michigan’ branding campaign first went national in 2009. The majority of marketing dollars was being funneled into traditional media channels and the destination marketing group was just starting to play with its presence on a number of social media accounts.

Fast forward five years to today and Pure Michigan is among the top ten destinations for its social media efforts, according to SkiftIQ’s analysis of more than 400 destinations worldwide.

Pure Michigan is now active on eight different social networks and touts achievements like being the first state destination marketing organization to host a Google+ chat, winning a U.S. Travel Association award for best use of social media, and having the most visited state tourism website for seven years.

It tweets an average of six times a day, updates Facebook twice a day, and posts on YouTube almost 15 times a month.

Pure Michigan puts a photo on Instagram almost every day and gets almost 3,000 “Likes” per post.

The keys to its success?

“Aligning the social strategy to business objectives,” says Chad Wiebesick, Pure Michigan’s director of social media and interactive marketing.

“The ultimate goal is to drive people to the website; to turn that experience on social media into a trip to Michigan.”

One of the primary ways that Michigan does that is through sharing user-generated content. About 80 percent of the photos that Pure Michigan shares on social media are taken by fans and shared with the #PureMichigan hashtag.

Pure Michigan also tries to turn popular topics on social media into blog posts that subsequently drive more traffic and tend to catch the attention of larger media outlets.

Earlier this month the organization compiled photos of frozen Michigan waterfalls in a blog post that drove traffic to the website and generated 11,600 page views.

A similar phenomenon occurred in 2011 when Pure Michigan launched a ‘Mittengate’ campaign in response to Wisconsin using a mitten-looking state in its own ad campaign.

When Pure Michigan isn’t responding to real-time events, it follows a monthly editorial calendar and “create once, publish everywhere” policy.

SkiftIQ data shows that 83 percent of Pure Michigan’s tweets are sent through Hootsuite.

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Tags: michigan, skiftiq, twitter

Photo credit: Pure Michigan sends an average of six tweets every day.

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