Main Article Content
social media marketing, tourism destinations, destination marketing organizations, municipalities, Facebook, Greece
Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) have to redefine their marketing strategies, in order to meet current challenges in tourism, such as the emergence of new tourism destinations, the intense competition, the change in the motivations and preferences of tourists, as well as the global economic crisis. On the other hand, social media are gaining prominence, as a cost effective marketing tool with high returns. In this respect, the aim of this paper is to investigate the use of social media among 325 municipalities in Greece for destination marketing purposes. The results show that Greek municipalities just begin to recognize the added value of this new marketing trend, since social media exploitation is still very limited and largely experimental. Subsequently, the social media strategy of the Greek Municipality of Ierapetra – ‘Visit Ierapetra’ – is analyzed and presented. In the analysis, social media usage patterns were identified that could serve as good practices for other municipalities in Greece, at a time when public sector cuts in their funding are requiring them to seek greater value in the way marketing budgets are spent. Findings and discussion of this study are useful to industry practitioners and academic researchers interested in the use of social media in destination marketing.