North Carolina’s LGBT law: State tourism takes heat on social media in Q1

by | Jun 9, 2016 | Social Media, Travel and Tourism

For any U.S. state, the travel and tourism industry is key to maintaining and elevating economic well-being.

Organizations spend millions of dollars a year in direct and blanket advertising to not only attract people to visit their locales, but to also build their state’s brand awareness on social media. What’s key to a successful tourism campaign? What gets people talking about your brand? A Twitter handle called TweetHomeAla, maybe?

We used our media monitoring and analysis software to analyze the Twitter handles of U.S. State official tourism offices and agencies for the first quarter of 2016 (Jan-Mar), tracking both posts and mentions. We’ve summarized the findings of some of the top performers in this report (available at the bottom of this post).

We learned things that you probably already know (people typically have a great time on their vacations, no matter what state they visit), and some you maybe didn’t (a major unifying factor across the U.S. is people really love sunsets).

But while most of the content was overwhelmingly supportive of the various states and their attractions, we also came across a more controversial aspect involving some states including North Carolina: that being that several Twitter users used the state’s tourism handles to voice their objection to political and social actions taken by their state and municipal governments.

While falling just outside of the top 10 amongst tourism office mentions, North Carolina’s tourism office VisitNC was also mentioned briskly on Twitter — but for perhaps the wrong reasons.

While initially garnering a relatively normal amount of positive mentions during the first part of the quarter, with words like “beautiful” and “perfect” being some of the most popular, things gradually took a turn towards the end of the quarter.

The Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act, passed by the state at the beginning of March and more commonly known as HB2 (House Bill 2), is a highly controversial law that quickly turned North Carolina’s tourism mentions into a quagmire. Soon after it passed words like “discrimination” and “boycott NC” began trending in relation to the state office’s handle, with both cracking the top 15 most mentioned words for the quarter.

As seen below, three of the top five hashtags for the quarter for North Carolina were all associated with the above issue.

north carolina

As a result, the level of negative sentiment associated with the NC tourism office on Twitter was significantly higher than any other tourism office analyzed across the country.

north carolina chart

Unfortunately for North Carolina tourism, this doesn’t appear to be an issue that’s going away anytime soon. But fortunately for most U.S. tourism offices, at least during Q1 2016 anyhow, their mentions were much closer to what you’d expect from tourism-related tweets.

Top 5 US Tourism Offices (Report)

Download the report by filling out the form below!

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