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A Partnership Worth "Liking"

Social Media Marketing in Mikumi 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

Kellie McMullin
International Learning Associate
NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 07:26 Archived in Tanzania Tagged travel tanzania tourism marketing nova scotia media social facebook Comments (0)

To Mikumi and Beyond. . .

Bringing Social Media Marketing Strategies to Tanzania

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When thinking of cost-efficient and effective ways of marketing today, the use of social media is at the forefront. When challenged with the need of marketing tourism in rural East Africa, social media once again, is where we landed.
NSCC has been partners with the Vocational Training Centre in Mikumi Tanzania (VETA Mikumi) for three years now through an EFE project building capacity in tourism training. Through this project, the students, faculty and administration at VETA Mikumi have established a Tourist Information Centre (TIC) on campus to help provide information on their conference centre facilities as well as the surrounding tourist attractions and amenities. The challenge then became how to attract tourists to the TIC and Mikumi in general.
Although there are still several network problems in Tanzania and internet and electricity can’t always be depended on social media sites, especially Facebook, are in high use. The first phase of the marketing strategy thus became establishing a Facebook page promoting the TIC at VETA Mikumi. Faculty and students will add content to the page and help administer it. Links, photos and videos of local hotels and restaurants as well as information on the nearby national park will be added to the page. Eventually we hope to have the Facebook page linked to other websites such as Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet to help drive potential visitors to the page.
During my time in Mikumi in early June, I was able to share the Facebook page with the faculty and administration as well as the plans for future social media marketing. I also had the pleasure of spending some time with a dynamic young woman, Grace Kabogo, who is newly in charge of marketing for the entire VETA system in Tanzania. We were able to discuss a strategy for her to use Facebook, blogs and Twitter to help promote the VETA Centres around the country to potential and current students. Let’s just say it wasn’t long before Grace and I were friends on Facebook.
Overall our mission was a success and I left Mikumi a little dusty and tired but encouraged by the potential we have to share information with an institution such as VETA Mikumi through social media. Tanzania and Nova Scotia may be geographically far apart, but I’m feeling incredibly connected after this experience. Join the VETA Mikumi TIC Facebook group today at www.facebook.com/MikumiTourism

Kellie McMullin
NSCC International

Posted by NSCC Intl 11:47 Archived in Tanzania Tagged tanzania marketing nova scotia media social facebook Comments (0)

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