How Heritage Organisations Can Engage with DMOs on Social Media

What are Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs)? How can heritage organisations engage with them on social media? Why should they?

In June 2022, Vanessa Wegstein of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (and former Digital Marketing Officer at Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott) answered these questions and more.

What Do DMOS Do?

DMOS (or DMMOs – Destination Marketing and Management Organisations) help grow the local economy through tourism in line with collective goals. These may include promotion and brand building for a destination, providing information to visitors and facilitating collaboration and development.

Vanessa’s activities include creating marketing materials, curating information and inspiration through brand campaigns, content planning and development (podcasts, videos, e-books, etc), coordinating press, PR and influencer activity, and managing a photo/video bank. She also covers promotion through the DMO’s channels, such as the website, Scotland Starts Here app and social media. The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) are particularly big on digital, including blog posts, newsletters and user-generated content (UGC).

Why Should Heritage Organisations Work With DMOs/DMMOs?

Destination marketing and management is all about collaboration – and local input and representation is crucial to achieving these goals.

DMOs/DMMOs can also offer heritage organisations representation in terms of marketing and help amplify their work. The SSDA, for example, has a sustainable travel guide and leaflets that feature heritage organisation as well as an image bank with over 500 images for heritage organisations to use in their own materials to promote the region.

In addition, many DMOs/DMMOs offer expertise as well as offline and online knowledge exchange.

How Can Heritage Organisations Work With DMOs/DMMOs?

A lot of DMOs/DMMOs offer additional benefits through membership, but this isn’t the only option.

Non-members can still contact their local DMOs/DMMOs about content development, for example, you could collaborate on a blog post or send them photos and videos which they can share through their own channels to help you read a wider audience.

Vanessa also stressed the importance of sending stories to DMOs/DMMOs. It’s these facts, legends, tales etc that help bring destinations to life online (as Vanessa said, “there’s only so much you can do with a nice image”). Plus, it’s a great way to plug into Scotland’s Year of Stories.

Many DMOs/DMMOs also run campaigns that you could get involved in through social media interaction or hashtag use (such as #CuriosityStartsHere). Vanessa noted that participating in these campaigns keeps you at the front of a DMO/DMMO’s mind, particularly if you use hashtags and tags in relevant posts and align with their campaign activity and themes.

She also said that being approached by a heritage organisation makes a big difference and urged people to send their DMO/DMMOs emails sharing recent, relevant blog posts and upcoming plans. Sending regular content and updates helps them gauge what’s going on for the season. For example, you could email them a list of annual or quarterly events, but also keep reminding them every couple of months.

Finally, you can provide feedback and input with regards to the destination’s needs and priorities which helps the DMOs/DMMOs align their strategies.

What Kind of Content are DMOs/DMMOs Interested In?

Vanessa recommended publishing shareworthy content which gets your heritage organisation and the destination noticed. This includes engaging blog posts, quirky stories and facts, stunning photos and videos, and inviting participation from audiences.

She also suggested showing what’s around your organisation in terms of the landscape, town, city or coastline – don’t just limit your content to the inside of your building or a close up shot of one object. Why not show the building on a nice day or a local business that’s connected to yours? In other words, look at how you sit within a destination and show the “bigger picture”. Vanessa used the Galloway Hoard exhibition in Kirkcudbright as a great example as it was discovered it just around the corner from the museum.

Ready to get started? Museums Galleries Scotland has a great list of DMOs/DMMOs across the country.

You can also click here to read more about the SSDA or here to follow Vanessa on Twitter.

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