Social Media Marketing in Mikumi 2013
09.02.2013 - 22.02.2013
It poured rain last night but when I woke up this morning the African sun was shining and the VETA Mikumi Tourist Information Centre’s Facebook page had over 2,000 “likes”. I’m currently in Tanzania working with our partner institution, VETA Mikumi, on a social media marketing strategy through the “Building Capacity in Tourism and Hospitality Management” Education for Employment (EFE) project.
Before leaving Canada, my goal was to drive potential tourists to the Facebook page in order to increase the visibility of the Tourist Information Centre that has been established at the VETA Mikumi campus. At the time the page had 70 fans and not much engagement. I designed a Facebook ad targeting Tanzania and the U.K. and by the time I landed in Dar es Salaam two days later, the ad had driven almost 500 new fans to the page, almost all of them Tanzanian. This is exactly what I had hoped for, Tanzania loves Facebook and with the use of mobile devices most people here have it at their fingertips.
Last time I was in Mikumi doing social media training with students and faculty, we had very little access to the Internet which made things quite difficult. However, on this occasion, because of the great work of the library and technical services team I was travelling with, we were able to access Internet easily.
Mr. Ludovic Saronga (tour guiding teacher at VETA Mikumi) and I immediately got to work increasing engagement with our new fans. Mr. Saronga was able to reply to all of the comments and questions written in Swahili and he got the hang of it quickly.
One of the most innovative activities we did with the page was a discussion between International Tourism students and faculty at NSCC and Mr. Saronga. The students asked him questions about culture, tourism and wildlife in Tanzania and he was able to answer them on the Facebook page itself! It was a huge success and the fact that Mr. Saronga and I were sitting on an outdoor terrace in the jungle (with bush babies ready to pounce on us – we think they like Facebook too) was an incredible experience. This was truly international learning through technology.
I look forward to the continued partnership with Mr. Saronga and VETA Mikumi, even from my desk in Nova Scotia. I believe the Tourist Information Centre will receive more activity over the next year or so and that tourism in Mikumi will benefit from the work we've done with social media.
Oh, and if you have the time. . .www.facebook.com/MikumiTourism
International Learning Associate