Date of Award

Summer 2019

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management

First Advisor

Simon Hudson

Abstract

Social media has experienced quick and expansive growth since its beginnings. While the initial users were individuals, social media has become a melting pot of businesses, brands, and celebrities all vying for engagement from followers in the hopes of increasing likes, engagement levels and sales.

Destination marketing organizations (DMO’s) have been slow to adopt social media platforms and integrate them into their marketing strategies. The goal of this study is to analyze what kinds of social media content produces the highest levels of engagement in order to make specific social media strategy recommendations to the Columbia DMO, Experience Columbia. An empirical analysis of data from DMO Twitter accounts was done to determine what types of content achieved the highest engagement levels, while an observational analysis was performed to determine characteristics of successful accounts. The findings showed that tweets with media had the highest engagement levels, while tweets solely containing URL links decreased engagement levels. These results showed that engagement levels are affected by the types of content posted as well as several other subjective factors.

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