King of Prussia >> Just in time for the summer season, the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board is kicking off a new social media campaign touting all the great things Montgomery County has to offer.
Called “Snap Montco,” the campaign features some new technology — paired with some of the county’s most popular visitor spots — to be shared on social media. In this case — the tourism board’s Snapchat site VisitVF.
The technology — Snapchat Spectacles — was created for use solely with the Snapchat app. The glasses, which resemble sunglasses, allow the wearer to take video “snaps” — 10-second recorded video moments — from the wearer’s perspective.
Ed Harris, Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board vice president of marketing and communications, said the agency partnered on the campaign with Branded Productions of North Wales.
“In an early meeting with Branded Productions, they brought in the Spectacles and ran the idea by us. Having tested other technology over the years — we were eager to test it out,” Harris said.
He added that for the past 6-weeks a team has been traveling throughout the county capturing video at the first wave of attractions including: The Carousel in Pottstown; U.S. Hot Air Balloon Team in Limerick; Elmwood Park Zoo in Norristown; iFly in King of Prussia as well as other spots.
“We put Spectacles on visitors of all ages — kids at Legoland, adults at restaurants,” Harris added.
Harris compares the Spectacles to a GoPro camera, but with a different perspective.
“You can see what it’s like to build something at Legoland through the eyes of a 6-year old or climb up a really tall rock climbing wall at Philadelphia Rock Gym,” he said. “We wanted to showcase the variety of fun things there are to do throughout the county.”
The campaign, which Harris unveiled Wednesday night during a Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board Membership Speaker Series event at Legoland Discovery Center at Plymouth Meeting Mall, will feature weekly posts on VisitVF on Snapchat — highlighting various county locations. The campaign will also include six billboards in the Philadelphia region, along with a website — snapmontco.com.
The website will include contest information on how to win a pair of Snapchat Spectacles.
Between now and June 20, Harris said the agency is looking for people to post a snap of their favorite place in Montgomery County at VisitVF on Snapchat to be entered into the contest.
“It can be a video or quick photo. We just want to be able to see Montco through the eyes of the people who live here and love it,” said Taylor Tropea Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board marketing associate. A winner will be announced on the first day of summer — June 21.
“The initial wave of the campaign wraps up on the first day of summer, but our intent is that it will live on for the foreseeable future. We hope to continue to post from new locations throughout the summer,” Harris added.
Most Snapchat users are 18-to-34 years old, and on average, visit the app 18 times a day for a combined 25 to 30 minutes, according to statistics provided by the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board.
In addition, according to CNBC, 33 million U.S. users over the age of 35 used Snapchat in the last quarter of 2016, compared with only 10 million the year before — representing growth of 224 percent.
The Valley Forge Convention and Visitor’s Board is no stranger to using new technology and social media avenues to enhance its more traditional print products. The agency has created websites and campaigns within its main website www.valleyforge.org for restaurants, golf and shopping. In 2015, the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board introduced virtual tours of Montgomery County attractions through a partnership with Google that continues to evolve on the Montco360.net website platform.
Fresh in some memories is last summer’s PokeMontco campaign, which Harris said drove record traffic to view county attractions shortly after the new Pokémon Go app was introduced.
According to Tropea, 18-months ago the agency didn’t have a staff member dedicated to social media. Now, there’s a presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. Tropea adds the agency has 105,000 followers across the channels.
In January the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board passed the 500 mark for memberships, setting a new record for the organization.
Harris adds that the increase in members offers an increase in organizations with which the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board can collaborate. He would not go so far as to attribute the increase in members to the expansion of social media campaigns.
“A lot of it has to do with the growth in Montgomery County as a whole. We had a record 800,000 visits to our website in 2016 — which shows the interest level of people wanting to know what there is to do here. The quality of life here is spectacular,” he said.
Next Wednesday, the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board will be presented with a 2017 “Chamber Star” award at the TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner. The agency is being recognized as nonprofit of the year.
For information about Spectacles by Snapchat visit www.spectacles.com.
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