Carnival Cruise Lines achieved a historic social media milestone recently, becoming the first cruise line to reach one million fans on its Facebook page. That’s a big deal but just one more win for a cruise line set on engaging it’s customers like no other.
“Facebook is so much more than just a social media tool to share company news and information. It is a terrific way to engage our fans with us and with each other in fun, entertaining and interactive ways that capture the essence and spirit of the Carnival brand,” said Jim Berra, Carnival’s chief marketing officer.
Carnival was among the first cruise lines to recognize the power of social media when it launched its Facebook fan page in 2007 but the line’s social programming has blossomed to include many other elements.
Senior Cruise Director John Heald’s blog is one of the most popular in travel and also started in 2007. Fans of the unflappable John Heald’s blog have added over 10 million views since it’s launch. Special “blogger” sailings on Carnival ships with fans of Heald along for the ride have become an annual event, now in it’s fifth year.
The turning point for Carnival, where they jumped in with both feet, happened on the last New Years Eve when the line threw its signature “Fun” hat in the ring as official confetti sponsor of the Times Square New Years Eve 2011 celebration. The sponsorship included multiple opportunities for the line to infuse its version of fun into the festivities including a free-cruise giveaway and the beginning of its wildly-popular ”Hey America, DidJa Ever?” promotion.
In what signaled the beginning of an even more intense social focus, the line collected the “Top 100 Firsts” from over 420,000 Facebook fans. Fans were encouraged to tighten up relationships by sharing experiences through photos and videos aimed to create events and memories. Carnival promised to help make those dreams come true for fans giving away anything from cruise vactions for four to appearing on stage with a favorite band.
Facebook also played a key role in the May 1 introduction of the new Carnival Magic, culminating in an innovative day-long social media event that chronicled the ship’s launch and naming through a series of 11 videos, providing viewers with a front-row seat to the festivities.
The page also serves as the venue for fun promotions and contests such as the current Fun-A-Thon sweepstakes awarding 24 prizes in 24 hours, including a free Carnival Magic cruise. Also featured are interactive weekly polls, exclusive videos, and links to the line’s popular YouTube, Twitter and Flickr pages and more.
But most of all, Carnival’s Facebook fan page provides the ideal venue for the line’s spirited fans to interact with the brand and share their own thoughts and experiences with fellow “Fun Ship” enthusiasts.
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