We are announcing the top 10 winners of our 2014 Statesman Social Media Awards every day this week, leading up to the announcement of our big winner this weekend. Keep checking Digital Savant for more profiles of our winners!
Social Media Awards Top 10: Austin-based travel site, HomeAway
Why they were chosen: “HomeAway has blossomed online with its smart use of services such as Pinterest and its strong focus on customer care. Lots of service-based companies work to please customers, but HomeAway has done it in elegant ways that are consistent with its brand and business.” – Omar Gallaga
Q&A with social media manager Jennifer Stafford
How long have been using social media? I started all of the accounts back in 2008. Probably 2009 is when we really picked up in preparation for the Super Bowl campaigns that we started running in 2010 and 11. There was a heavy social media component with those ads, it was the year we did the Griswold ad and brought back the truckster and Chevy Chase and Beverly DiAngelo and we built up accounts for the Clark Griswold persona in the months leading up to it.
And with all the tech industry here, it's always important to be at the forefront of what's going on. For our customer base, we target women in the 35 to 50 age range, and Facebook has grown there – and Pinterest. Those two are our main bread and butter.
Favorite project/campaign: (The Griswold Super Bowl campaign) was really fun. I think really just working on Pinterest is probably, in the recent year or two, my favorite. We've run a couple campaigns on there that have been really well received. And it's really fun on Facebook, we run photo contests and ask people how they use our services to make their vacation experiences better and how it has impacted their families. The culmination of all of those really enriched the program and gave us a better opportunity to know how our customers use our product.
What do you think is the next frontier of social media? Is there something you’ve been wanting to try? I think for us, the thing we're working on internally is how to leverage more of the Instagram and Vine-type services with our business. We don't have a physical product and our audience is a bit older, so it's a little harder to be an early adopter on some of those. We want to be creative and reach people who may not be direct customers of ours, but we want to reach out. We want to be on the forefront, but also connect with the people who are our customers and like to travel and just look at beautiful pictures.