How Lonely Planet juggles social media channels with success

The travel guide publisher treats Facebook quite differently from its own forum, Twitter and, most recently, Pinterest.

Lonely Planet’s no stranger to mixing online interaction to offline thrill seeking. The travel guide publisher’s forum, Thorn Tree, which launched in 1996, is one of the longest-running travel forums on the Web.

In the last few years, the company has delved into social media—Facebook, Twitter, and now Pinterest—and has taken its own approach to each destination.

Contests and discounts

Photo contests are a recent addition to Lonely Planet’s Facebook page, says Andy Murdock, United States digital editor for the publisher, but they’ve become a staple of the company’s Facebook strategy.

In October 2009, Lonely Planet aimed to create some Halloween spookiness by asking people to post pictures they took in cemeteries around the world. People were happy to share—and they had lots of travel photos, Murdock and his team discovered.

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