For this month’s First Friday Interview, we thought it was most appropriate to acknowledge someone who is not only making a large footprint behind the lens, showing off Philadelphia for everything it has to offer, but who is also playing a large role in this year’s NFL Draft.
Christina Cassidy is the Social Media Specialist at Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB), managing social media content and community engagement for PHLCVB’s owned social channels. She is also the lead for the NFL Draft’s Social Media Command Center while they’re in town. Learn more about Christina, her responsibilities during the NFL Draft and how to get in on the action!
PPRG: Tell us about your role as Social Media Specialist at Philadelphia Convention & Visitors Bureau (PHLCVB).
CC: Besides managing social media content for PHLCVB, I also specifically work on targeting meetings/convention business and attendees, domestic group tours, and overseas leisure travelers. We also have social presence via our international representation firms across the globe so I’ll work with their teams, as well as our internal Tourism division in crafting appropriate strategies that align with our overall social media efforts.
PPRG: What does a “typical” day look like for you?
CC: To be honest, there is no real “typical” work day. We’re a small marketing and communications team, so we all wear many hats. A typical day for me could include anything from crafting content for our social platforms, attending restaurant/attraction events, going out around the city to capture photography, and/or working with influencers.
PPRG: What is your favorite part of working at PHLCVB?
CC: My favorite part of the job is working with influencers and seeing their photos. Photography is kinda my thing. I want to work with people who love this city as much as I do, and you can really tell that from what they capture with a camera.
PPRG: Congratulations on being the lead for NFL Draft’s Social Media Command Center (SMCC). Can you share what the SMCC entails and what your responsibilities are for this role?
CC: As the PHLCVB’s customer, the NFL came to our team asking us to staff and manage the Social Media Command Center housed at the Franklin Institute in effort to assist visitors the 200,000+ visitors we’re expecting in Philadelphia over Draft weekend. Essentially, our team will intercept Draft Experience and general Philadelphia destination-related questions being directed to the NFL’s social channels and respond via our social media accounts. We are working closely with Philadelphia’s hospitality and tourism partners as well as other social media savvy individuals to staff the Command Center on a volunteer basis. In addition to this, we’ll have a team of content creators who will be out capturing the excitement throughout the Draft footprint and all around the city. We’ll be managing the Center so everything from setting the social volunteer shifts, content approval process and communicating information to NFL/City officials.
PPRG: Philadelphia definitely gets a chance to shine during this anticipated national event. Which aspects are you most looking forward to showing off in our city?
CC: Events like the Papal visit in 2015, the DNC in 2016, and the upcoming NFL Draft are incredible opportunities for our city to shine in the international and national spotlight. The NFL Draft Experience is actually a free, three-day, family-friendly festival. (Yes, we definitely know it’s a fun tongue twister!) Visitors and locals alike will get opportunities like ziplining down the Parkway – how cool is that!? Beyond the footprint of this event, I’m excited for people to dine in our restaurants, drink at our bars, and really immerse themselves in our culture. Philadelphia is a fun city to live, visit, and explore. Events like this let us show that off to the world!
PPRG: Where can we find you in Philadelphia in your spare time? What are some of your favorite spots?
CC: Spare time? What’s that? 😉 I try and get out to run as much as I can. While it definitely does help clear my head – I mostly do it to (try) and stay in shape. I eat like an animal and have equal parts sweet as carb tooth. As for my favorite spots and where you’d see me around the city… I absolutely love Reading Terminal Market. McGillin’s is, and will forever be, my guilty pleasure. For that matter, the entire 13th Street corridor is awesome. Walking around Rittenhouse Square on those rare lunch breaks in the spring and summertime gives me all the happy feels.
PPRG: Are you involved in other organizations and programs across Philadelphia?
CC: I serve as the social chair for the Philadelphia Public Relations Association (PPRA), where I manage their social media presence. I’m also on the Young Friends Committee for an incredible local cancer respite foundation, For Pete’s Sake. I don’t think anyone knows someone who wasn’t impacted by cancer in some way. This foundation helps families take a break from the treatments and stress in their lives and just escape it all for a little bit – it’s really a beautiful thing.
PPRG: What sparked a career in social media for you? Did you have an “a-ha” moment?
CC: I’ve always dabbled in our social media, but it was only recently that we brought it in-house. I’ve managed our Instagram account for a while now, and we’ve really grown a strong community on there. I admire the Philadelphia Instagram community and love that photography drives it. There are such strong photographers that capture jaw-dropping moments in our city.
It was probably on the second or third time I was almost hit by a car because I just “needed a quick photo,” or when I realized after hour 3 of interacting with our Instagram community going into the wee hours of the night – that it dawned on me that I really love showing off Philadelphia through social media. (If you’re ever walking around the city and see a tall blond girl stopping traffic by being crouched on a sidewalk or in the middle of the street… that’s just me.) So basically my a-ha moment was either getting hit by a car or running up my data consistently.
I believe that photography is the strongest aspect of social media, it’s what evokes a feeling and potentially an action – in our case, the action of booking that trip to Philadelphia. Our team has hosted countless international press trips over the years and I’ve learned that photography is a universal language, there is no translation barrier. It’s straightforward and helps tell a much bigger story.
Everyone is invited to come down to the Parkway to take photos and share on social with others! To get in on the action of the 2017 NFL Draft, be sure to use the hashtags #NFLDraft and #DraftinPHL. Local restaurants, attractions, etc. are encouraged to use #DraftDeals in order to reach both local residents and visitors.
For more information on all the great things going on during the Draft Experience, visit draftinPHL.com