Related Document: Columbia-SC-Social-Media-Leader---3.2011.pdf
View the social media release on PitchEngine.

Kelly BarbreyShorty Awards

COLUMBIA, S.C. - (March 24, 2011) - Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau (Columbia, SC) has been recently recognized as a leader in social media among destination marketing and travel organizations, as a Shorty Award finalist in travel and one of "The Top 25 Most Influential Tourist Boards and DMOs Online." Although its marketers prefer not be labeled as "gurus," Columbia, S.C. stands out among tourism organizations as it boasts almost 35,000 Facebook fans, 13,000 Twitter followers, and 1.5 million YouTube video views.
Shorty Award Travel Finalist (#4)
The Shorty Awards are "hailed as the ‘Oscars of Twitter' by The New York Times, and honor the best people and organizations producing short-form, real-time social media content," according to the Shorty Awards website. Winners will be determined by the Real-Time Academy of Short Form Arts & Sciences, and announced at the Shorty Awards ceremony on Monday, March 28, 2011 at The TimesCenter in New York City. Judges include celebrities such as Alyssa Milano, MC Hammer, Whitney Port, and co-founder and CEO of foursquare Dennis Crowley. Columbia, SC (@columbiasc) and the state of New York (@I_LOVE_NY) are the only destinations named finalists in the travel category. Other categories' finalists include big names such as Barack Obama (@BarackObama), Justin Bieber (@JustinBieber), Britney Spears (@BritneySpears), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (@ajc), NASA (@NASA), J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) and Sesame Street (@sesamestreet).

The Top 25 Most Influential Tourist Boards and DMOs Online (#4)
"The Top 25 Most Influential Tourist Boards and DMOs Online" is published by Influencers in Travel and maintained by Brilliant Travel Media in cooperation with DataArt's custom travel software team. The ranking system utilizes Klout's API, the standard for online and internet influence. The list compiles the internet's most influential travel users in one location, with the idea being to increase visibility and access to potential travel customers, products, services and sponsors.

"While social media is only a piece of the marketing mix and our efforts, it is becoming more important for the travel industry to embrace, as statistics show travelers are becoming more tech-savvy, using social media and mobile devices to research travel plans and find things to do once they arrive," said Mandi Engram, director of marketing of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism, the supervising authority of the convention and visitors bureau. "Engaging in social media is an easy way for cities like Columbia to connect with visitors and compete on the same level as big brands with mega marketing budgets."

Columbia, SC consistently ranks in the top 10 destinations on Sparkloft's monthly "Destination Twitter Ranking" of nearly 500 tourism accounts, even placing second to the entire state of New York, Chicago and New York City. Other social media achievements include recognition in CheapOair's list of "Top 10 Twitter Friendly CVBs" and Tourism Tech's "Creative Uses of Twitter Lists," and recent recognition as a top 10 finalist destination to host the 2011 Social Media Tourism Symposium. The convention and visitors bureau is also creator of YouTube's top "How to Tie a Bow Tie" instructional video, featuring Lucky Levinson of Brittons.

"Social media is a tool that allows us to leverage our phenomenal local support and highlight our region's world-class attractions, hotels, restaurants and unmatched Southern graciousness. Our recognition has distinguished Columbia as a superior Southern destination," said Ric Luber, president and CEO of Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism.

With Internet traffic on mobile devices expected to surge 26-fold by 2015, according to Bloomberg and Cisco, Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau is working to launch a new mobile site packed with social media integrations and geolocation features. The site will allow users to find nearby hot spots using the "what's nearby" feature, share and connect with their favorite locations on Facebook and Twitter. The site is tentatively set to launch next week. To connect with Columbia, SC, or for more information, visit


About Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau
The mission of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention & Visitors Bureau is to strengthen the area's economy by marketing and selling Columbia, its accommodations, restaurants, facilities and attractions as a destination for meetings, conventions, tradeshows, special events and leisure travel. For more information, visit, "like" Columbia, SC on Facebook and "follow" @columbiasc on Twitter.