|By Nicholas Huba, Asbury Park Press,
N.J.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Aug. 24, 2009--SHIP BOTTOM -- In an effort to get a younger audience, the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce has taken to social networking Internet sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, to better sell Long Beach Island as a tourism hot spot.
During the last couple of months, the Chamber has completely overhauled its Web site, created a blog and added Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages, in order to attract a younger crowd, said Lorry Pepenella, destination marketing coordinator for the chamber.
"The social networking allows us to get the word out about Long Beach Island all over and not just one area," Pepenella said. "The response that we have gotten has been great so far."
The new Web site, www.visitlbiregion.com, went online in late June, Pepenella said, adding that everything was in full swing by the busy July 4 holiday.
The increased Web presence had led to different groups taking an interest in coming to the barrier island, Pepenella said.
"Our traditional demographic is families that have been coming for years," Pepenella said. "But now we are starting to get requests from a younger demographic, for things like girlfriend getaways and other events."
Pepenella said the way businesses are advertising is changing.
"The way people do business is always changing. You have to stay up on what is going on," Pepenella said. "We are trying to hit markets outside of the area. We have gotten responses to some of the stuff that we have posted from people from Tennessee and California."
In addition to adding social network sites to its marketing campaign, the chamber also is trying to get its members involved.
During the Aug. 11 Chamber meeting, the chamber invited Rita Christensen, owner and operator of iColorsStudios and Poducator, to speak about the importance of social media in advertising.
"E-mail is becoming a thing of the past," Christensen told the group gathered. "Now everything is being done through social-networking sites."
It's not enough for a business to just have a Web site, Christensen said.
"It's all about keeping things up to date," Christensen said. "Twitter and Facebook allow businesses to get the word out about changes, and even hold contests to give away free products. Businesses need to be Web savvy."
ON THE WEB: www.visitlbiregion.com, www.twitter.com/lbiregion, and www.facebook.com/lbi.region
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