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The Always Social South

The South has always been social, but technology today has made traveling throughout this region more fun now than ever.

In recent years, many museums and attractions have begun using social media to give visitors a more interactive and personal experience. Through social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, guests can participate in contests, share memories and post hashtags of the event or venue.

The following organizations have shared some of the creative ways they have used technology to engage their local communities and visitors from out of town. If your group travelers love a good selfie, include some of these socially savvy attractions in your next tour of the South.

Arkansas Repertory Theatre

Little Rock, Arkansas

There is no question that the Arkansas Repertory Theatre has developed a loyal online following over the past few years. Since 2014, the theater’s Instagram feed has increased from 55 followers to 5,000, and the 11,000 likes on its Facebook page now exceed 23,000.

“Social media is huge for us,” said Allyson Gattin, director of marketing and audience engagement.

The source of this expanded reach might surprise some: Facebook contests. Partnered with several local eateries, the Rep often sponsors production-inspired ice creams and beers, and people who follow the company on Facebook can participate in a naming contest for the product.

“We wanted to do more than offer these products to our patrons. We wanted them to actually be a part of naming them,” said Gattin.

Initially, the theater promotes the contest through social media as well as local media networks. After people submit their entries, theater representatives pick the top five to post on Facebook, and the online community votes on their favorite. The winner receives his or her name on the product, a sample of the ice cream or beer, and two free tickets to the show.

The most recent contest involved naming a production-themed ice cream for “A Christmas Story”; more than 400 people voted. Some favorite submissions were “You’ll Shoot Your Ice Cream Out, Kid” and “Triple Dog Dare Ya Spice Ginger Bread.”

Guessing games are another fun way to engage locals. During the production of “Spamelot,” the Rep posted pictures on Facebook of the Holy Grail in abstract locations throughout the city, and the first person to correctly name its whereabouts in a comment won a poster from the show. Likewise, when “Mary Poppins” was playing, the theater photoshopped images of her flying into different parts of the city, and people had to guess where she was.