Why Allan Jenkins and I are going to Coos Bay

by Lee Hopkins on April 6, 2009 · 13 comments

in micro-blogging,nonverbal communication,pr,tools,video

My colleague in crime, arch rival and nemesis, and international man of mystery Allan Jenkins has penned an absolute bottler of a post about how by simply ‘staying awake’ to the new communication landscape a picturesque hamlet on the west coast of America is about to be a lot more famous.

Because I’ve been tied up writing a huge manuscript (and still writing it, so yes I missed the deadline), I’m taking the massive liberty of re-posting Allan’s exposition in its gorgeous entirety.

If you are a student of written communication you will have before you the writing of a Master Communicator — take note of his clarity, conciseness and erudition; he constructed a story in far less words than I would have rambled with (as indeed I am doing now).

Over to Allan:

Why Lee Hopkins and I are going to Coos Bay, Oregon

When Lee Hopkins and I decided to “road trip” from Seattle to San Francisco this year, we turned to social media – Twitter, Facebook, Tripadvisor – to help us plan the trip (which we are still planning). Since neither of us has been to the Pacific Northwest, it seemed sensible to ask our networks. Where to go? What to see?

We also asked “What towns should we stop in?”

One respondent on Twitter was @travelcoosbay of Coos Bay, Oregon (pop. 15,000), who suggested we drop into that town for the night.  I thanked @travelcoosbay & made some offhand remark that if Lee Hopkins podcasted from Coos Bay, it would become a famous(er) place.

Here’s where our road trip planning started becoming a case study in novel ways to use social media.

Many towns confronting the prospect of a couple of social media nerds passing through would simply point the way to the Motel 6 about an hour down the road.

But @travelcoosbay replied that Coos Bay, Oregon is a pretty attractive place & that we would be simply cheating ourselves to miss it. To prove the point, they set up a Flickr account dedicated to demonstrating to Hopkins how beautiful the area is.

A wave at Coos Bay, part of the 'Bring Lee Hopkins and Allan Jenkins to Coos Bay' campaign Well, fair enough. Except Hoppo and I are not strangers to “pretty” places. He lives in the glorious Adelaide hills, in South Australia, and I live right on the ocean on Denmark’s prettiest island. We can show you natural beauty from here to Christmas.

We asked, in some roundabout way, if the people were as nice as the local scenery. After all, social media is all about communing with people. Their reply was to take it to the streets.

A public sign at Coos Bay, part of the 'Bring Lee Hopkins and Allan Jenkins to Coos Bay' campaign

They thoughtfully included me (and rightly so, since I am driving and can take us to Boise, instead, if I have a mind to. Which I don’t).

coosbayrocks - A public sign at Coos Bay, part of the 'Bring Lee Hopkins and Allan Jenkins to Coos Bay' campaign

What are we to do? We are self-confessed social media enthusiasts – companies even hire us to advise on social media – and here an entire town is using Twitter and Flickr to get us to show up for a night.

Well, we did what anyone would do. We hemmed and hawed. Didn’t commit ourselves. Kept our options open. Kept our powder dry.

Then they took it to YouTube.

 

Well, I don’t know about you, but I’d feel churlish and dead to all human emotion if we didn’t go to Coos Bay after that volley of invitation. Truth is, we were pretty warm  on Coos Bay from the start – I won’t say “You had me at hello,” but we were warm. After that blast, we just rolled over and submitted.

And that’s why Lee Hopkins and I are going to Coos Bay this summer.

Social media at its small town best

While we are there, we are going to give a talk about social media to local businesses. But it seems to me Coos Bay’s promoters have a pretty good handle on social media already:

1. They were watching Twitter for any reference to the Oregon coast by potential tourists.

2. They responded immediately with a very low key “you might be interested in us, if you are passing through” approach. Enough to pique my interest without “selling” me. (And this is not just me… this is routine).

3. When I responded and added a “wink,” they were ready to add Flickr to the equation – and ask locals to get involved. And locals started Tweeting me.

4. A big sense of humor, but always on message — “you’ll love it here.”

5. And a “coup de grace” – taking it to YouTube with an ironic, fun on-message invitation. We may not meet any of those people this summer , but we want to meet all of them.

6. @travelcoosbay (and the person behind @travelcoosbay, on her own twitter account) have become a part of my daily Twitter stream on topics far removed from this trip. Through @travelcoosbay, I have “twittermet” several others who are, like me, interested in using social media to promote small town and rural tourism.

What has this cost Coos Bay? Not a dime, really. Some time on the part of @travelcoosbay, of course. What has it cost Hopkins and me? Not a dime, really.

Benefits? At the very least, Coos Bay gains two new fans and whatever we spend there (and I should add here that some of our expenses will be covered in Coos Bay in exchange for our presentation).
Hopkins and I get to stay in a town where the welcome mat is already out for us & meet some people we never would meet “just passing through.”

For a few 140-character exchanges on Twitter and a YouTube video, that’s not bad going for either side.

del.icio.us Tags: coosbay,leehopkins,allanjenkins,tripadvisor,bluehighways

Technorati Tags: coosbay,leehopkins,allanjenkins,tripadvisor,bluehighways

Posted by Allan Jenkins on March 31, 2009 at 12:46 AM in Social Media, Travel | Permalink


  • Susan Moore

    What a lovely story. It really is small, innovative actions like this (mixed in with plain old fashioned good customer service) that make small towns (and small brands) famous.

  • Susan Moore

    What a lovely story. It really is small, innovative actions like this (mixed in with plain old fashioned good customer service) that make small towns (and small brands) famous.

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    I totally agree, Susan. This new landscape that folks like me have been banging on about for years really DOES make reaching out that much simpler — it just takes someone with the courage to ‘listen’, ‘learn’ and have the authority and responsibility to ‘do’.

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    I totally agree, Susan. This new landscape that folks like me have been banging on about for years really DOES make reaching out that much simpler — it just takes someone with the courage to ‘listen’, ‘learn’ and have the authority and responsibility to ‘do’.

  • http://www.IntraTeam.com/ Kurt Kragh Sørensen – IntraTea

    I met Allen in person for the first time in March and he told about Coos Bay and it’s just fantastic.
    I’ve heard you on FIR several times and one day I hope that you will come to Denmark too.
    What do we need to do?
    We run a conference on intranet in March 2, 3 and 4 next year. Where you a potential speaker?

  • http://www.IntraTeam.com Kurt Kragh Sørensen – IntraTeam.dk

    I met Allen in person for the first time in March and he told about Coos Bay and it’s just fantastic.
    I’ve heard you on FIR several times and one day I hope that you will come to Denmark too.
    What do we need to do?
    We run a conference on intranet in March 2, 3 and 4 next year. Where you a potential speaker?

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    G’day Kurt,
    I’d love to be a speaker there, but unless someone is willing to meet all the expenses then it probably won’t happen, alas. But thanks for thinking of me and remembering me! :-)

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    G’day Kurt,
    I’d love to be a speaker there, but unless someone is willing to meet all the expenses then it probably won’t happen, alas. But thanks for thinking of me and remembering me! :-)

  • http://www.IntraTeam.com/ Kurt Kragh Sørensen – IntraTea

    What are the expenses? :-D

  • http://www.IntraTeam.com Kurt Kragh Sørensen – IntraTeam.dk

    What are the expenses? :-D

  • http://leehopkins.net/ Lee Hopkins

    The usual things: airfare, accom, meals, taxi, speaker fee, etc…

  • http://leehopkins.net Lee Hopkins

    The usual things: airfare, accom, meals, taxi, speaker fee, etc…

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