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Trends Q: How does current social media growth compare to 2011 and 2010 for resorts?

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Social media has been exploding over the last couple of years. Fan and follower counts shot through the roof with little or no effort from social media managers. This pace, however, couldn’t last, and the slowdown has already begun. So how much has fan and follower growth shrunk since this time last year and two years ago? The answer is, a lot. Here’s the details.

The Setup
We pulled growth stats for the top 38 resorts in North America (ranked by fan and follower counts) from the SlopeFillers database for June 18-July 18 2010, 2011, and 2012. Growth is significantly lower in Summer for resorts, but with little money going into fan acquisition, it should give us a solid comparison of how each year compared.

The top 38 resorts on Twitter represent 12% of all resorts using the platform and 49% of all Twitter followers of ski resorts. The top 38 resorts on Facebook represent 9% of all resorts with Facebook fan pages and 47% of all fans of ski resorts.

So, how does monthly growth compare for each of these months? After starting at 3.4% monthly growth in 2010, Twitter fell to 3.2% in 2011 and 1.6% in 2012. Facebook started at a whopping 5.5% in 2010, slipped to 2.6% in 2011, and was only 1.0% in 2012.

But that’s growth, what about average number of new fans resorts are gaining, regardless of total fan counts? In July 2010, top resorts were averaging 92 new followers a month on Twitter. In 2011 that number grew to 156 before falling to 143 in 2012. For Facebook, July 2010 saw 634 new likes for each resort that month. In 2011 that number slid slightly to 627 then dropped significantly in 2012 to 455.

Although Twitter’s performance looks slightly more encouraging than Facebook’s, the trend is clear: growth is slowing on social media.

Why This Matters
We first started looking at this trend late last year and these numbers simply confirm the original theories. Fan and follower counts are slowly starting to become saturated. For social media managers with goals surrounding an aggressive increase in fans, it will be important to watch how your numbers compare to peers and the rest of the industry to truly know how well you are performing.

Additionally, social media managers simply cannot rely on massive growth to appease higher-ups. Additional metrics that align with your social goals – engagement, reach, referral traffic, etc. – will be the key indicators to watch and rely on going forward.

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Tyler Maynard
SVP of Business Development
Ski / Golf / Destination Research
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Doug Kellogg
Director of Business Development
Hospitality / Attractions
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