The music is unmistakable and will transport you to a serene lakeside town, boats rocking calmly at anchor. You’ll have the irresistible urge to drive up north immediately. Every time I hear Tim Allen’s voice luring me into a Pure Michigan commercial I become lost in a sea of memories.
In my youth I lived on Mackinac Island every summer, running luggage off the docks for the droves of tourists who flock to the island each year. Attending Northern Michigan University gave me the ability to explore Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and really find out why people call it “God’s Country.” Our state is home to some of the greatest outdoor options in the nation and has more coastline than Florida. It is so easy to forget about all of the potential activities while we bounce through potholes and wonder if there was an accident on I-75.
Michigan is not Detroit. Our city’s popular image around the country is not the greatest to say the least, but people are coming around. One place that has managed to bolster our state’s popularity on a national scale is Pure Michigan. It is a social media project unseen in most of the ever expanding universe of online media.
The funny thing is I didn’t even know about Pure Michigan when it first launched. A girl from Mississippi who I was friends with where I lived in northwest Colorado told me about it. She would always say things like “Michigan looks so nice. I wanna go there.” She actually showed me the first one of those spectacular commercials. The phrase “Pure Michigan” became a sort of euphemistic joke we used to describe my behavior. From then on I would always shush people when I heard the music and boast about how nice my home state was. If you haven’t figured it out, everyone in Colorado thinks it is bar-none the most beautiful state. It was fun to disagree.
That said, it would be easy to assume that some our of more “popular” states like Colorado or Florida would have the market cornered in terms of social media, but we all know what happens when we assume. When the Michigan Economic Development Corporation branding campaign ‘Pure Michigan’ was first set into motion I doubt anyone outside of Michigan would guess that it would become one of the most popular and widely circulated online campaigns out there.
Of four hundred, yes that’s right, 400 destinations worldwide Pure Michigan is in the top ten in terms of its social media output and popularity according to Skift, a travel intelligence company that offers news, information, data and services to professionals in the travel industry and professional travelers.
Pure Michigan is pumping content out on eight different social networks, has won numerous accolades and can claim the the most visited state tourism website for years.
How did Pure Michigan do this?
First off they are a social media powerhouses period. They have on average 212 new followers a day on Twitter and they tweet almost 6 times a day.
Their YouTube channel has a 95% approval rating on videos and almost 2000 views per day. I can’t lie, I have watched every single video on there.
On Facebook, the key component of social Media they average 311 new likes every day and have a 31 fans posting on the site daily as well. That is a huge element of their success. Engaging their audience and letting them contribute to the site has helped them garner a ton of traffic. I am sure you have seen the #PureMichigan hashtag.
Every time they put on picture on Instagram something close to 3000 people like it.
“The ultimate goal is to drive people to the Michigan.org website; to turn that experience on social media into a trip to Michigan.” says Chad Wiebesick, Pure Michigan’s Director of social media and interactive marketing said to Skift.
In our minds the big winner here is Michigan itself. The state has benefited in untold ways from this marketing campaign. Pure Michigan is no longer just a joke to describe my shenanigans, it is a phrase that has entered the vernacular. The marquee success of a marketing campaign is getting the catchphrase to occupy a space in most people’s every day life. Anytime someone is headed up north, there will be one friend who says “oh nice, a little Pure Michigan this weekend. I wish I could go.”