Get a Leg Up: Try CCT’s Social Media Marketing Program Today

Have you heard about our Central Counties Tourism Learning Lab yet? For those in the know, this online resource portal is a one-stop shop designed to help you level up your tourism game. If you are one of our region’s businesses, municipalities or organizations with a stake in tourism (or stakeholders, as you are collectively referred to), then we’ve designed this free portal to support you on your skills development journey so that you will thrive within the visitor economy. That’s what we’re all about here at Central Counties. Your success, after all, is our success, which is why we want you to take advantage of the courses our CCT Learning Lab offers.

Wait… what? Courses? Screeeech! Pound the breaks! You want me to take a course?

Okay, let’s back up a bit. So… yes. These are courses in the technical sense. And we don’t blame you if your first thought is, “Ya! I am way too busy actually running my business. I do not have the time!”

Fair point. (And may we add: Congrats! That’s the best kind of busy.) But hear us out. In addition to being informative, these online courses are fun and interactive. They target the key areas of business from a tourism lens which we at Central Counties hear our stakeholders need help with the most. And so, allow us to introduce you to one of our flagship courses, our Social Media Marketing Program, so that you’ll see what we mean when we say “valuable resource.”

Welcome to the Learning Lab’s Social Media Marketing Program

We all know that social media is important to business in this age of digital technology and instant information. But did you know that when it comes to engaging and interacting with social media, those stakeholders who use it and those who don’t exist on a vast spectrum of social media knowledge? Some may be intimidated by, or uninterested in this newfangled digital world, while others never knew a time without it and are true blue digital natives. Most exist somewhere between the two, but no matter where you fall on this spectrum, our Social Media Marketing Program has something for everyone.

Our Director of Industry Development, Adriana Barbary, has had some interesting feedback from stakeholders who have taken the time to work through our Social Media course. “We are getting a sense that people think they already know what they’re going to learn,” she says. “They think that, while it might be a good refresher, they’re ultimately not going to learn anything new. This is especially true for the folks who work regularly on social media as part of their job. But we can’t stress enough that there is lots in this course to learn about. From those people who completed it and who use social media regularly, what we’re hearing is that they didn’t even realize some of the things they didn’t know.”

Our own Lisa John-Mackenzie, Industry Relations Manager for Durham Region here at Central Counties Tourism, has found this to be exactly the case. She has been working her way through the Learning Lab, here and there as her busy schedule allows, so that she can better assist her region’s stakeholders. She has discovered some interesting takeaways. “I thought I knew social media,” she says. “I’ve used it regularly in my career in tourism with quite a bit of success. But as I’ve been working through the course, I’m finding that I’m learning things which I wouldn’t have known to look up, or tactics that it never occurred to me to implement because I just didn’t know. I feel like I’ve learned some things that I can use going forward; it’s been a really helpful resource.”

The best part is that, not only is our Social Media Marketing Program informative, but it is fun and interactive, too. You’ll have small opportunities throughout to test your knowledge and make sure you understand what you’re being shown. And the content is definitely not dull. With colourful graphics and engagingly narrated, you may forget that you’re even taking a course in the first place.

At this point, you might be thinking, “That’s great, but like I said, I don’t have the time.” We hear you. You’re busy (and once again: You Rock!). It’s true that our Social Media course takes about four hours to complete, but not to worry. Like Lisa John-Mackenzie has been doing, you don’t have to complete the whole thing in one sitting. We recommend that you make at least an attempt to complete a full module each time you sit down if you’re able, but you can break the course up into chunks as your schedule allows. Maybe sit down on your lunch break and work through a section. Perhaps once the kids have gone to bed you can curl up on the couch with your laptop and refreshment of choice and spend a little time enriching your social media knowledge. Stuck on the bus on your way to your office? Perfect time to sneak a module in!

Work on your schedule. We want you to succeed, after all, and we value your time as much as you do. But we’re certain that you’ll be glad you invested the time to work your way through this course once you look back and have a better understanding about what social media is, and how you can use it effectively in your tourism business.

The CCT Learning Lab Social Media Marketing Program Modules

Each of the four modules in our Social Media Marketing Program are comprised of a series of videos, and each module becomes progressively more advanced. You’ll be invited to complete short and focused activities which reinforce your understanding of the material. You’ll also be provided with a workbook so that you can apply what you’ve learned to your own situation, and additional resources if you choose to dive deeper into the material at your leisure.

Module 1 – Get Social Media Ready

This is indeed the shortest of the four modules. The video and interactive portion will only take you about fifteen minutes. But whether you’re an absolute beginner or a seasoned pro, it’s worth it to work through this content. If you’re a newbie, you’ll get a good overview of what this whole social media thing is about, an intro to terminology, and how all the different aspects of this technology connect to one another. If you’re a pro, you might find that you already know most of this content in the general sense, but didn’t quite understand the technical definitions of the phrases and concepts you’ve been working with—the semantics of social media, in other words. For example, do you know the difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web? Or what is the difference between social marketing and social media marketing? Remember: knowledge is power.

Module 2 – Get Media Savvy

The second module in Central Counties’ Social Media course will help you get familiar with how social media works to support your web traffic. You’ll learn how to put content where people are hanging out online so that they follow the trail back to your website (where they’ll have a chance to buy your product or sign up for your experience). As our course narrator says, “This is the stuff you need to think about before you shoot that viral video, or write that brilliant blog post.” Discover which sorts of consumers are using what social media platforms—along with how and why. If you’re a social media pro, then this is a good time to focus more deeply on some of the marketing concepts discussed such as digital demographics and social media mapping.

Module 3 – Get Tourism Ready

There is an art to producing engaging social media content without it taking up all of your precious time. In the third module, you’ll learn how to more rapidly produce social media content, how to write for the web, how and why to create infographics that people notice, and how to master audio, video and photo images. Simply put, you’ll learn how to make cool stuff real quick and real easy. This is a course that we think will interest even you pros out there, because there are tips and tricks that you may not be aware of (this is sure to be one of those times where you’ll find out that you didn’t know the things you didn’t know). If you’re brand new to social media, you’ll find this module easy enough to follow now that you’ve completed modules one and two. With a little practice, you’ll soon be calling yourself a pro as well!

Module 4 – Tell Your Tourism Story

Do you remember the meme of that cat with the caption “I can has cheezburger?” It’s a funny pic, sure. But it is also the foundation of a recognized social media method called the Nakagawa Formula. In this final Social Media Marketing module, you’ll learn the Nakagawa Formula, and what are the three steps for how to compete for attention in a noisy online environment. You’ll be introduced to what makes compelling content, several online publishing best practices, all about your website and paid advertising, and exactly what storytelling is. Admittedly, this is quite an advanced module. But hey—you’ve breezed through the first three. You’re all pros now. When you’re done, you’ll be heads and Cheezburger-Cat tails above your competition.

Andria Louca, Culture and Tourism Coordinator, Strategic Initiatives for the Town of Whitby is one of our stakeholders who has taken the time to complete our Social Media course. “It was excellent,” she says. “As an intermediate level social media manager, I appreciated that no assumptions were made about the level of skill and knowledge of the student and that the course began from grassroots and up. The content was clear and engaging and the courses flowed and were easy to follow. As the courses progressed, I felt challenged with new information and learned some new social media strategies. I gained extensive knowledge of social media practices, lots of very useful links and downloadable materials and got much more than I expected. I would highly recommend this course to anyone who is looking for a refresher or for an update to their social media knowledge and strategy.”

Consider This: Extra Benefits of Taking CCT’s Social Media Marketing Program

Recap: Above all, we’ve created this Social Media course to help you advance your skills and knowledge. That has always been our main priority—to help you succeed. That being said, there are a few more benefits that completing this program provides. Just a few things to consider as you head on over to our Learning Lab to get started.

First, let’s talk resumes. Yours, specifically. Whether you’re a business owner with no plans to sell up and change course, or you’re brand new to the workforce and are intent on climbing the corporate ladder, we feel that everyone should keep their CV in the back of their minds, as none of us knows what opportunities the future will bring. Now, consider yourself competing with a similarly skilled and experienced individual for an opportunity you really want. You took the time to complete a well-structured and informative course offered by a recognized industry expert. Your competitor did not. Who is more likely to look the better choice at first glance?

Now, just to be clear—we’re not making pie-in-the-sky promises. But we are humbly suggesting that showing initiative and taking our Social Media course might just give you a leg up when you need it… in addition to building valuable social media skills, of course. Food for thought. [Insert casual shrug here]

Second, we’ll let you in on a little secret. We at Central Counties are noticing an interesting trend when we look at who is taking our Social Media Marketing Program. Would it surprise you to learn that a large portion of them are local college students? We are thrilled that the next generation of tourism superstars are looking to us as thought leaders when it comes to social media. They are, after all, the up-and-comers in the workforce, and in a few short years, they will join your ranks. If it’s true that a rising tide lifts all boats, then why not take this opportunity to further develop your social media skills too? This way, we can all rise in tourism together.

Get started with the Central Counties Tourism Learning Lab Today

So, what are you waiting for? Log in to the Central Counties Tourism Learning Lab today. Create an account if you haven’t already (it’s free!) and get started with our Social Media Marketing Program to help you on your tourism business journey. As we mentioned, you don’t have to commit the entire duration in one go. Work through it at your own pace, and take the time you need to fully understand and engage with the content, workbook and additional resources. Then, let us know what you thought. Reach out to our B2B Marketing Manager, Sandra Quiteria (squiteria@centralcounties.ca), or our Director of Industry Development, Adriana Barbary (abarbary@centralcountiestourism.ca) to share your feedback and insights. Also, with your newfound knowledge, consider hopping over to social media and posting about your experience. Don’t forget to tag us with @centralcountiestourism (on Facebook and Instagram) or @CCT_RTO6 (for X/Twitter). We’re on LinkedIn, too! We love hearing from you.

Katherine Ryalen is a freelance content writer, published novelist, and local tourism enthusiast. Connect with her at www.katherineryalen.com, or on social media at @KatherineRyalen.

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