Missoula is in the running to host a Social Media Tourism Symposium.
The event, known as SoMeT, could draw as many as 300 tourism professionals from across the country.
Cities compete to host this event because it draws individuals who specialize in spreading the word.
For six days, these tweeters and bloggers fire off blurbs about the city they are visiting.
Word spreads through millions of mentions of the city through social media.
Each social media mention of the city is called an impression.
Last year’s SoMeT took place in El Paso Texas and generated 10.7 million impressions.
“You can’t buy PR like that for a community,” Executive Director for Destination Missoula Barbara Neilan says.
It’s free to the competitor with the most votes.
Voting takes place in three rounds, and eliminations are made much like the NCAA’s sweet sixteen playoffs.
Right now, Missoula is in a sort of ‘Sweet 13,’ and if they make the ‘Elite Eight,’ as they are calling it, voting will go back to zero.
Cities then compete against each other in twos, the first place going against the eighth, and so on down the line.
The first round of voting starts Wednesday, March 13 at 10 a.m., and ends Friday morning at 10. Further rounds will be announced Friday afternoon, if Missoula advances in the competition.
Voting takes place online, and you can cast yours at Destination Missoula’s Facebook page or by going to their website www.destinationmissoula.org. Folks from Destination Missoula have been leaving fliers around town with a scan code on them.
If you have a smart phone that is scan capable, you can access the voting that way as well.