WHERE DID THE US$50,000 GO FOR SOCIAL MEDIA INVESTMENT BY THE JAMAICA TOURIST BOARD (JTB)?

By now you have heard the Min. of Tourism state the following;

Minister of Tourism, Edmund Bartlett, has said that social media networks like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, have become an integral part of Jamaica’s tourism marketing strategy

From YouTube, Twitter, Facebook boost tourism By Jamaica Observer

The agency spent $250,000 to revamp its website. The YouTube project is estimated at another US$50,000 ($4.5 million).

JTB to invest more in social media Published: Sunday | January 17, 2010 By Jamaica Gleaner.

If you have not read the following article I suggest you do so now.

Did Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) Waste $85.5 million on websites? If so who are they accountable to? By The Kingston Chronicle

(The revamped website with a world Alexa.com ranking of 215,116 and a Alexa.com US ranking of 104, 2092 Online Since 17-Oct-1998)

The $250,000 is not local currency people, but hard cold USD.

Now the Minister is not to blame for any of this nonsense as one cannot expect the Minister to have the real low down on this sector.

So let us look at the facts and try to come up with an objective conclusion.

1. The JTB facebook page was created a few years ago in 2008 by a Jamaican kid. Prior to the JTB assuming control of this page it had already attained 50,000 fans. The page currently stands at 89,898 People Like This or 90,000 to round it off. This would mean an increase of 40,000 People Like This facebook page after coming under JTB control.

Now attaining 40,000 fans is nothing hard on facebook if you have a half decent product or a half a brain. There are several Jamaican celebrities with 40,000 fans and as high as 100,000 fans who like their page and have not invested US$50,000 or a portion of that.

In fact singer Jah Cure facebook fan page has 237,896 fans.

The JTB would have been wise to partner with all Reggae artist with fan pages of 20,000 or more. This would have seen easily a combine fan page reach of over 500,000 and possible at no cost or if a cost a minimal cost.

2. JTB Twitter page has 1,174 Following, 1,364 Followers, 120 List.

3. JTB YouTube Video Channel launched since May 29, 2009 has

Channel Views: 18,055, Total Upload Views: 78,427.

Twitter is free, facebook is free unless you spend thousands of USD to target fans to like your page and YouTube is free.

4. JTB Blog “Island Buzz Jamaica
(Alexa.com rank of 1,939,164) Launched July 15, 2010.

TOTAL FANS, FOLLOWERS, & CHANNEL VIEWS

Facebook

90,000

Now we know for a fact that facebook page had 50,000 fans prior to the JTB taking over the facebook fan page. So let us add up the numbers. So in all reality their efforts attained 40,000 new fans.

Twitter

1,364

YouTube

78,427

Now lets assume that 18,055 are not the same as the other YouTube views listed above.

The Grand Total = 40,000 + 1,364 + 78,427 + 18,055 = 137,846 in respect to Social Media and New Media at a total cost of US$50,000.

So my question again is this what US$50,000 went towards? Was it worth this cost? And with such a cost was this good value?

Facebook, Twitter and YouTube the last time I check are all free. Once again I do not expect the Minister to know much of anything in this sector.

Who was the people approving and actually contracted to carry out this job? I call it a slap in the face of the Jamaican people to see US$50,000 go towards what I consider to be a total waste. That being a overpriced job with a less below average ROI.

Any high school student with knowledge of Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube could have uploaded all the content already readily available from the JTB.

Or was it US$50,000 to produce some new videos for YouTube the real hidden cost? If so why was it so high and what value did we get from it?

I guess David Shields of the JTB may be able to provide some light into this matter and some clear answers to all the above. All I simple want to know is how do you explain such dismal numbers in respect to social network and new media performance and a high price tag of US$50,000?

I will not got into the $85 million spent on two websites. That has been addressed in my research article, but has yet to be answered by the JTB.

What is Jamaica coming to? Are we so rich that we spend as such? Who is there to keep these people accountable?

How do you explain Jamaica’s #1 Blog The Kingston Chronicle Blog attaining visits from 201 countries and better success than that of all JTB social media and new media efforts combined?

The Kingston Chronicle Blog total unique unique visitors: 153,613 along with its Flag Counter has been viewed 347,950 times? All with no paid advertising or advertising promotion in less than 22 months?

The data for the blog being quoted above is not that of the total data since the blog’s inception on April 12, 2008. But the data collected by a reputable independent company which owns and operate the Flag Counter widget installed on the blog on November 19, 2008.

The total page views for the blog is over 500,000 and the total unique visitors over 300,000 from 201 countries in less than 24 months making it Jamaica’s number one Blog in Jamaica.

What is even more amazing is that the above data on The Kingston Chronicle Blog is not the same as that of The Kingston Chronicle online newspaper.

The Kingston Chronicle Official Online Newspaper located at http://kingstonchronicle.com redirected to http://csmebiz.com was launched in November 2009 roughly 10 months ago.

From launch until present the official online newspaper has obtained almost excellent traction and reach within the Jamaican Diaspora and has performed as equal or even better than the JTB entire Social Media and New Media campaign.

The official online newspaper for The Kingston Chronicle is primarily dominated by readership from the USA along with other parts of the world and less on local readers. The Kingston Chronicle Official online newspaper did not use paid marketing or paid advertising to attain success in getting the brand out to the market.

Home Page for the official online newspaper of The Kingston Chronicle Ltd.

Since March 2010 Total Unique Visitors of 26,411. Total Page Views of 1,336,507. And Total Hits of 3,024,493.

Some may argue that there is a ecosystem in respect to twitter and facebook. But the fact of the matter is regardless of untraceable reach. The object is to lead back to increase in traffic to a new media and social media properties.

I should go on the record that attempts were made to the JTB to justify their press release prior to them committing to work on their social media efforts at the tune of US$50,000. Needless to say such request or assistance to save funds were ignored.

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