(CHICAGO) June 6, 2012 – Sarah Best, the award winning former social media and content strategist for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC) joins Chicago-based web and digital marketing firm Mightybytes as Content/Social Media Director. The former client contact, now employee, is responsible for project management, content/social media strategy for both Mightybytes and its clients, and new business development.
As web manager for ExploreChicago.org, the city of Chicago’s official tourism site, Best was responsible for making all major business decisions for the $1.5 million dollar web project during the site’s development. The site was designed to promote Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers and provide unique visitor programs and services. In late 2011, the site passed six million users. The North American Travel Journalists Association named the site “Destination Website of the Year” in 2009.
Mightybytes worked with Best on three projects for the COTC. The company created a new web based application to simplify and expedite processes for the Chicago Greeter website, which matches visitors with enthusiastic local volunteers for two to four hour guided visits of Chicago. Mightybytes also co-developed ChicagoForKids.org, an animated interactive tour of the city that helps kids from different countries learn more about Chicago. Finally, it created two engaging web activities in preparation for COTC’s 2009 summer tourism campaign “Eat, Play, Love Our Neighborhoods”:
- The Neighborhood Express, a simple CTA-themed animation that randomly loads Chicago neighborhoods and gives users links to explore them.
- Picture Yourself in Chicago, an interactive activity that allows users to upload photos and create accessorized avatars that can be placed in any one of dozens of Chicago neighborhoods.
“Sarah is a national expert on Foursquare and SCVNGR and her content marketing, social media strategy and measurement experience complements and strengthens our existing capabilities,” said Tim Frick, principal and Mightybytes founder. “She also shares the same passion for promoting Chicago, its cultural destinations and arts organizations and has unique interests outside of work that make her a strong cultural fit.”
Best negotiated one of Foursquare’s inaugural business partnerships and pioneered the use of Foursquare and SCVNGR in destination marketing. She also negotiated more than one million dollars worth of free services, launched four Chicago-specific badges including the world’s first “city” badge, which drove over 45,000 people to Chicago’s neighborhoods to engage in fun experiences themed around the city’s unique cultural traditions. She also helped national brands like Apple, Michelin, SCVNGR/LevelUp, and local brands like The Art Institute of Chicago, Metromix, Hancock Observatory and Chicago Theatre connect their products and services with local communities through strategic partnerships. Through her efforts, she produced more Foursquare badges and attracted more geo-social followers than some Fortune 500 companies.
Her technology partnerships were profiled in numerous media outlets, garnering more than 100 media placements in media outlets like Crain’s Chicago Business, Mashable, TechCrunch, Chicago Tribune, National Geographic Traveler, WGN and NBC5. She received the 2011 Illinois Excellence in Tourism Award, 2011 and 2010 Communicator Awards, a 2010 North American Travel Journalist’s Association Award for Social Media Marketing for her efforts and a 2012 SMITTY (Social Media In Travel and Tourism) Runner Up Award for “Best Use of Social Media Platform, Tourism Board/CVB, U.S.” from Travel and Leisure Magazine.
”I’m always looking for opportunities to engage consumers around a brand and help companies achieve their marketing goals through content that is strategic, fun and most importantly sharable across multiple social media platforms,” said Best.
Best, a former staff writer for Gapers Block and freelancer for Time Out Chicago, has written strategic content for arts organizations, destination management organizations, culinary, healthcare, brands, and publishing, among others.
“Mightybytes has a unique culture,” added Best. “Professionally, they work with clients in an extremely positive way because they’re concerned about every step of the customer experience. Internally, the employees are interesting, multi-faceted people that have interests outside of work, which makes them deeply creative and engaging and since I am already friends with most of the people there, the transition should be really easy too.”
Best is a graduate of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University and an alumni of the University of Chicago. When she’s not tweeting, organizing meetups, blogging or checking in somewhere, Sarah’s putting her creative talents to use as an artist and film curator at venues like Hyde Park Art Center, Links Hall and the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Mightybytes, an Illinois B Corporation, executes design-driven marketing communications and online interactive solutions. The company employs smart design and clever storytelling as the underlying forces that drive its process while its technical expertise cuts across media formats and platforms to set it apart. Mightybytes works primarily with cause-driven clients, helping them prosper, grow, and achieve measurable business results. For more information, visit http://www.mightybytes.com.