Original Post

Slopefillers: Hidden Headline From Mountain Collective Breathes Optimism For Smaller Resorts

09/06/2012 by Gregg Blanchard

I typically focus on a generic, one-size-fits-all approach to many of my posts. This week, I’ll be focusing more on the smaller mountains and sharing some insights and ideas specific to them. It doesn’t mean you big guys can’t benefit, but I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for the little guys.

A few weeks back, four major resort brands (along with Liftopia) launched a new pass product called The Mountain Collective. The Tuesday morning launch was timed to perfection as a quiet social media morning soon exploded with dozens and dozens of posts, comments, RTs, shares, etc. all surrounding this one promotion. This synchronoization of efforts was impressive, but there was a hidden headline in the melee that I didn’t catch until almost two weeks later.

The tweet that caught my eye read:

"Hands down the greatest pass offer in the history of skiing and snowboarding. (via @liftopia) http://www.liftopia.com/mountain-collective …" via @sacca

Why is this a big deal. Chris Sacca, one of the investors in Liftopia, tweeted it. Why is that a big deal? On the day of the Mountain Collective launch, Chris Sacca had 1,350,000 followers. Let me put that in perspective.

A Drop in the Social Bucket

When the pass was launched, these five resorts plus Liftopia had a combined 45,117 followers on Twitter. That one tweet by Chris had a potential reach that was 30x greater than Aspen/Snowmass, Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Alta, Jackson Hole, and Liftopia combined.

Think about that for a second... 30x the reach of the combined reach of some major resort brands.

Even if every resort in the country had been so excited about the pass that they all tweeted about it, Chris’s single tweet still would have had twice the reach of the entire industry combined.

Small Resorts, This is Big

I think there are a handful of lessons to learn here, but the main one is simply this: how many fans you have is not as important as how many fans other people have.

Let me say that again with a dash of prognostication. The future of social media reach is more about how many fans and followers other people have than how many you have. Does that mean a small resort can brush off the fact that they have 2,200 fans compared to the 50,000 fans of the resort down the road? Maybe. Maybe.

Over and Over and Ov...

Here’s the thing about your fans. They’ve hear your spiel before. They’ve seen your photos, read your witty updates, and watched your videos. They are in a holding pattern of top of mind awareness.

But somewhere out in the world, there are millions of skiers that haven’t. They follow other pages, other people, other companies. The divide that separates the ability to have them tweet something about you compared to a neighboring resort, is likely not as big as the difference between the two resorts’ follower counts.

The key, I believe, going forward, will be to do things that get them to share your content. Whether that’s sharing/RTing theirs so many times they are guilt-tripped into it, creating mini partnerships to cross promote each others sales, interviewing them with the hope they’ll promote content about themselves, or awesome ideas I’m just not coming up with at the moment, small resorts should look at Chris Sacca’s tweet and say:
"Hey, I may only have 1,500 followers, but there are thousands of people with a hundred times that many. The Mountain Collective’s reach was magnified 30x by one tweet. There’s no reason that same thing couldn’t happen for my promotions as well."

This applies to all sizes of resorts, but I think it carries an especially optimistic tone for the little guys.