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Social Media and UGC

[Interview] Eric Cortes: Social Media Manager, Atlantic City Alliance

With the growing trend of brands leveraging user-generated content to create more personalized marketing experiences with customers, marketers are constantly looking for new ways engage their audiences. This week we sat down with Eric Cortes, the social media manager for the Atlantic City Alliance, to learn more about their recent #ShowUsYourBling campaign.

The #ShowUsYourBling social media contest ran from January to March and asked for user generated submissions showing off customer and fans’ engagement rings. The winning couple won an exclusive Bachelor/Bachelorette Package in Atlantic City.

The contest was a huge success, garnering over 3,000 unique submitters and nearly 5,000 picture and video submissions. Fans were able to participate in the contest by posting hashtagged content to Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or by email.

Below are some of the highlights of that conversation:Question: What were your goals for your #ShowUsYourBling social media marketing campaign. How do you think the campaign went?

Eric Cortes: The Atlantic City Alliance’s goal for #ShowUsYourBling included driving image and group leisure business to Atlantic City in the winter months. Our peak season is summer but in order to increase visitation in winter, this was the perfect campaign. We also wanted to brand AC as a destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties, engagements and wedding locations. Who wouldn’t want to be proposed at the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey or have a wedding on the beach with fireworks?!

The campaign was a huge success!

We were able to garner media coverage before and during the contest, host a secondary prize package with 15 bachelorettes and their “besties” for a getaway to Atlantic City, produce close to 5000 entries and make one couple-to-be extremely happy.

Question: What do you think made the campaign successful?

Eric Cortes: This campaign was successful because it included so many elements to help promote the campaign. It wasn’t just social but we had advertising partnerships with David’s Bridal,theknot.com and the DailyCandy.com. We also placed an ad in the New York Times wedding second on Sunday, January 5 to help launch the campaign.Question: As a marketer, why is UGC appealing to you?

Eric Cortes: User Generated Content is very important to Atlantic City. It has been shown that consumers and visitors often trust UGC (SPECIFICALLY THE OPINIONS OF FRIENDS AND FRIENDS OF FRIENDS) more than a print ad. But they do have to work together. We’ve taken lots of the community photos uploaded by our friends and fans on Instagram and Twitter and shared them across all our platforms.

Other elements included public relation stunts in Baltimore and Philadelphia where we partnered with radio stations. Listeners were asked to listen to the radio at certain times, be randomly selected to dig for bling and engage on the spot!We received the most entries when we would push messages via our social channels; including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. There were consumers that would tag their friends asking them to enter…the domino viral effect.

Question: Where do you see more brands taking advantage of opportunities to create social campaigns in the future?

Eric Cortes: Because photos and videos tell more of a visual story than words, brands should take advantage of creating visual content. Brands are also allowing influencers and bloggers to tell their own story. With platforms such as Pixlee, brands are able to showcase (and moderate) so much content and repurpose it for whatever reason. There are tourist destinations and other experiential brands that use UGC for print, online and television advertisements.

The Atlantic City Alliance is a newly-created, non-profit entity funded and overseen by the city’s casinos. The mission of the ACA is to revitalize and rebuild Atlantic City’s reputation and to broaden the destination’s appeal beyond a gaming area to a multi-night, year-round destination in order to drive increased visitation.

Andrew Higgins
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