With all the bickering between candidates vying for president of the United States I’m surprised no one has mentioned the national travesty of selfie sticks. Yes, that’s right — I’m anti-selfie stick. They should be illegal; anyone caught using them should have their selfie stick and phone confiscated on the spot.
And, yet, I’m now the owner of one of these narcissism-inducing contraptions as an attendee at the Florida Governor’s Conference on Tourism. The Governor’s Conference is designed and coordinated by VISIT FLORIDA, the Official Tourism Marketing Corporation for the State of Florida.
I’ve been attending the Governor’s Conference since I was appointed by then-Governor Jeb Bush to serve on the VISIT FLORIDA board of directors in 2006. Never before had I received a selfie stick in my conference bag, but this year it happened.
While having my own selfie stick in my bag did make me instantly feel superior and independent from others because I could now take photos of myself without getting my arm in the picture, that wasn’t the interesting part. What was interesting was how the smart team at VISIT FLORIDA took nothing for granted as they distributed these vanity sticks to each attendee as they registered for the conference.
Attached to the conceit pole was a little note that told you exactly how to use your brand-new selfie stick. Now come on — who can’t look at a selfie stick and figure out how to use it? Well, it’s important not to take anything for granted.
Brilliantly, the team at VISIT FLORIDA took nothing for granted by giving detailed, step-by-step instructions of exactly how to use the selfie stick they provided to all Florida Governor’s Conference attendees.
While the instructions clearly outlined exactly how to connect the selfie stick to your phone to take an actual photo, they also detailed how to post your ego-gram so you could see it on the “Social Media Wall,” a 12-foot high by 24-foot wide projection screen behind the stage at the conference.
The lesson for all of us is to not take anything for granted with our members. They need detailed, step-by-step instructions to help them make the transformation from community newbie to contributor.
Too many membership marketers leave holes in their programs for their members to try to fill in. This leads to frustration and churn. The team at VISIT FLORIDA took nothing for granted. Their conference consists of more than 1,100 people from Florida’s tourism industry, and you’d think they’d know what to do with a selfie stick without instructions. But when you are focused on engagement, you don’t make those assumptions.
While receiving the selfie stick was traumatic for me, there were some interesting points from the conference that’ll interest you. Florida’s tourism industry has continued its run of record-breaking tourism growth with a significant increase in the overall share of America’s travel market. Because this growth has created capacity challenges during Florida’s busiest seasons, VISIT FLORIDA is now focusing on marketing for travel during slower seasons. This will increase the tourism industry’s yield, as it is thought that the people traveling during the off-season would be those who can stay longer and spend more money when they travel to Florida.
I’ll have you know that I haven’t yet used the selfie stick. I hear that Disney has banned these hazards from their theme parks, and I’m with them. But even if you are catering to your customers’ vanity, it’s critical that you give them step-by-step instructions, or you won’t get the results you are hoping for.