The Tweet that Started it All

January 28, 2014

Have you been following the Super Bowl-bound Broncos recently?  If you have, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear how Broncos Quarterback Peyton Manning’s famous snap call of “Omaha” has garnered national media attention and interest in Omaha, Neb. as a city.

And while Peyton’s snap call has announcers speculating what plays he’s calling, the mystery we’re most interested in is how, with one simple tweet, the nation has become enamored with the idea of visiting Omaha, Neb.

You don’t have to be Sherlock to deduce the answer. What it comes down to is simple: Visit Omaha took advantage of real-time marketing to create one of the most effective Twitter-based place marketing campaigns to date.

“We’ve always based our strategy around one goal: showcase Omaha as a tourism destination,” said Deborah Ward, director of marketing communications of the Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Every post, tweet or share goes back to that goal.  To accomplish this, we make a point of listening and engaging across all networks to get our message out.”

The Omaha Convention & Visitors Bureau has a small marketing team of three people with one full-time employee dedicated to social media.

“What was meant as a genuine Twitter shout out turned into this phenomenal viral experience for the city –and it’s allowed us to share Omaha’s story with a whole new audience,” Ward noted.

One minute after the tweet went out, it had been retweeted 500 times and favorited by hundreds of users.  In less than two hours the tweet was trending in Denver, Indianapolis, Chicago and Washington D.C., with tweets highlighting an interest in Omaha.

original omaha tweet take 2

Here’s just a sampling of tweets that highlighted the benefit of visiting Omaha:

  • “I gotta go to Omaha, it must be a great place.”
  • “I’ll admit I googled Omaha tonight to learn more during the game, maybe I’ll attend CWS this year.”
  • “Next vacation spot?”
  • “I’ve been to Omaha once while traveling back to Utah from Iowa and Missouri, one of the prettiest cities I’ve ever seen.”

The fervor for Omaha provided the entire city an opportunity to spread the word in a variety of ways. Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo named a baby penguin after Manning and eight local companies donate $100 to Manning’s foundation each time he says, “Omaha.”

The campaign has been covered by national media including NPR, Forbes, ESPN, Time and stories about Omaha as a travel destination have appeared in online outlets including Travel Smart Blog and  In addition, even Denver-based Frontier Airlines hopped on the Omaha fan wagon by offering   one-way special to Omaha for as low as $48.

For a city that had a simple strategy, they sure scored a game winning touchdown. Are you a DMO who wants to take advantage of real-time marketing? Here are some key social media takeaways from Visit Omaha’s campaign:

  1. Be authentic: What was brilliant about Visit Omaha’s tweet was that it was genuine and real.
  2. Be useful: Provide relevant and helpful information for travelers or potential consumers who may travel to your destination. This makes your social media a resource.
  3. Be Responsive: If someone asks a question, respond in real-time. If Visit Omaha had sent a tweet out a day after the game, the relevance would have been lost. Remember, with social media it’s about what’s happening now.
  4. Listen to trending topics: One of the most effective ways to engage in real-time marketing is to listen to what topics are trending and if you have a voice or opinion to add to the mix in a relevant way, than make sure you get your message in there.
  5. Empower your social media employees. Don’t get caught up in the approval process. If you  have a strong social media policy in place, give your staff the freedom to react quickly. If all your tweets have a lengthy approval process, your opportunity could be lost.


Written by Genevieve Pritchard

Genevieve is the Digital and Social Media Manager for DCI. As a content marketing extraordinaire she helps set the digital strategy for DCI, create marketing collateral and implement tactics across multiple platforms. She’s also worked on digital campaigns for DCI’s tourism clients including US Travel Association, Visit, Finger Lakes Wine Country and Visit California.

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