West Virginia’s Birthday social campaign last week reached more than 26 million social media users, thanks to thousands of fans of West Virginia who shared their love of the state.
The state is top-of-mind for travelers this summer, thanks to record-breaking participation in the West Virginia Tourism Office’s West Virginia Week Challenge, according to Commissioner of Tourism Chelsea Ruby.
“West Virginians sure do know how to celebrate the state they love, and our 156th birthday celebration was truly record-setting,” Ruby said.
“In just one week, West Virginians from near and far posted beautiful pictures and shared their stories using #AlmostHeaven. Together, you helped shine a national spotlight on West Virginia.”
In thousands of comments, people from all over the U.S. provided instant reactions to the campaign. Across all Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, #AlmostHeaven posts received more than 237,000 likes, comments, and shares during the week.
The high volume of engagement earned West Virginia third place in Facebook travel promotion last week, just behind Florida and Michigan, Ruby said.
Research shows that 86 percent of people become interested in a specific destination after seeing something posted by another user, she said.
The campaign resulted in large-scale wins across social media as well as upticks in web traffic on WVtourism.com, where more and more users took an additional step and clicked from the social platforms to learn more about West Virginia online.
“Your participation helped us fill your friends’ social media newsfeeds with thousands and thousands of ideas for their next vacation," Ruby said.
"Within hours of the campaign, we started seeing more interest in West Virginia, and we knew it was working.”
Throughout the week-long social challenge, the Tourism Office saw increases in new online users, travel-guide requests, and calls.
The Tourism Office led a similar campaign in 2017, which reached 15 million social media users in the span of two weeks.
Last week's campaign nearly doubled the overall reach in half the time.
“West Virginia Day may be over, but that’s no reason to stop posting your West Virginia memories,” Ruby said.
“Summer is the perfect time to explore and show the world all that’s great about #AlmostHeaven.”