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Six Flags Twitter Accounts For Every US Park

By on 10/30/2012

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Six Flags Twitter accounts exist for every park in the chain. However, they are each being used in completely different ways. Even though this site primarily focuses on Six Flags Magic Mountain, I still like to keep my finger on the pulse of the entire theme park industry. The easiest way for me to do that is through social media, using tools like Twitter, Facebook, and RSS feeds. It recently occurred me that I was seeing lots of Twitter activity from other theme park chains, but very little from the Six Flags Twitter accounts, with the exception of one park. Below is an overview of how the different Six Flags parks are using Twitter to engage with and communicate with their guests. I chose to focus on Twitter because of its popularity and widespread global use.

The below statistics are from all eleven U.S. Six Flags parks, including The Great Escape. I left out La Ronde and Six Flags Mexico because I didn’t want to get into any potential cultural differences. These numbers are very dynamic and fluctuate all the time, but this shows where each park was at as of the morning of Saturday, October 27, 2012. I also included the corporate account, just for those who are curious.

Twitter Followers

The first table is sorted by how many Twitter followers each park has. There is a certain amount of natural bias based on the size, geographic location, and popularity of each park. Well known companies often don’t need to do anything to attract followers other than create an account. Based on that, I would have expected Magic Mountain and Great Adventure to have held the top two spots. However, Great America beat them both out for the top honors, besting Magic Mountain by a little and Great Adventure by quite a bit. For the most part, the list pretty much looks like you would expect, given the size of each park:

Six Flags Twitter Accounts by Followers

Twitter Tweets

Since we know the number of followers can grow without any involvement from the park, we should next look at how many tweets they’ve put out. As this is exclusively controlled by the park, it’s a great indicator as to how active they are on Twitter. A high volume of tweets shows a park engaging with their guests and a low number indicates little to no involvement. Again, Great America is at the top of the list, by a long shot:

Six Flags Twitter Accounts by Tweets

Great America has almost four times the number of tweets of Magic Mountain, despite having not that many more followers. I’m constantly seeing tweets from Great America, whether it’s promoting in-park specials, giving weather updates, or even playing in-park games and giving away prizes. I just don’t see that from the other parks. It’s this level of engagement that I believe put Great America on top of the followers list and will keep them there. Fiesta Texas should take notice. Perhaps if they start engaging their guests more on Twitter they can increase their follower count as well.

Twitter Following

The number of people each park follows on Twitter doesn’t have much to do with enhancing the guest experience, but I still thinks it’s very telling. If a park isn’t following anyone on Twitter, how can they possibly be keeping tabs on what everyone else in the industry is doing, including their own sister parks? You could argue that there are other means besides Twitter to keep current, but nothing is as quick or convenient. Take a look at this breakdown:

Six Flags Twitter Accounts by Following

Based on what we’ve already seen above, it should come as no surprise that Great America is once again at the top of the list. Not only do they follow every other Six Flags park, including the corporate account, they also follow hundreds of other accounts. They follow others in the industry, enthusiasts (including @TheCoasterGuy), and many businesses in and around the Chicago area. They definitely have their finger on the pulse of their community.

St Louis may only follow 12, but they’re the only other park besides Great America to follow every single Six Flags park. For example, Fiesta Texas doesn’t follow Magic Mountain, Over Texas doesn’t follow The Great Escape, etc. Magic Mountain doesn’t follow any other park, but they do follow corporate. Great Adventure only follows one person, and it appears to be some random account. The Great Escape doesn’t follow a single person.

Facebook

Besides Twitter, Facebook is also a huge social networking platform, and all the Six Flags parks have Facebook pages. But Facebook is used differently than Twitter. It’s great place to post photos and share things with your friends, but it doesn’t have the speed and immediacy that Twitter has. For example, if I want to see a photo gallery of the Lex Luthor: Drop of Doom ride, I would go to Magic Mountain’s Facebook page. If I wanted an immediate update of breaking news from within the park, I would use Twitter. Magic Mountain might not post anything official to their Facebook page for quite some time, if ever, but if I’m following the right people on Twitter, I’ll get the news as it’s happening live. Therefore, I consider Twitter the more valuable and important tool. Despite that, here is how many Facebook “likes” each park has for their Facebook page:

Six Flags Parks Ranked by Facebook Likes

I’m not sure what Great Adventure is doing on Facebook to get their fans so engaged, but it’s working. They have almost 200,000 more likes than Great America does in second place, which itself has more than 200,000 more than Magic Mountain does in third place. Four of the parks don’t even have 200,000 likes, so we’re talking about a decent sized following.

Six Flags used to have a Director of National Social Media, but I’m not sure if that position even still exists within the company. David McKillips, Six Flags’ SVP of Corporate Alliances, gave a speech last year about their social media strategy. He said each regional park may look the same, but they all have different local personalities and you can’t market to them all at a national level. He said each park has a unique individual tasked with representing that park through all social media channels. I completely agree with this approach, but you still need a solid and consistent framework for each park to work from. My personal opinion is that this corporate framework is missing and each park has been left to do their own thing, leading to an inconsistent user experience from park to park.

If I were running Six Flags’ social media program, here are a few Twitter rules that I would implement to ensure consistency across all parks:

Consistent naming conventions
If you look at the Twitter handles for each park, some parks start with “@SF” and others with “@SixFlags”, either spelling out the company name or the individual park name, but not both. I would have preferred that all accounts were created using a similar format, starting with “@SixFlags” to both promote the brand and make it easier for people to find and follow the parks. However, since that ship has already sailed, I would require each park to use their official park name on the account. For example, some are labeled as “Six Flags xx”, some as “SF xx”, and others have no Six Flags designation at all, such as “Great Adventure.” I would require them all to be like “Six Flags Over Texas.”

Complete BIOs
Several of the accounts use the Bio area to indicate that it’s the “Official Twitter page for Six Flags xx”, which is perfect. However, some of them do not indicate they are the official Twitter page, and some don’t have anything in the bio at all. They should all have their bio information completed and be designated as the official Twitter page for that park.

Who to follow
At a minimum, I would require every social media person at each park to follow every other park in the chain. I’m not sure how often these people talk to each other, but I’m sure it’s a safe bet that they don’t all know everything everyone else is up to. By following each other on Twitter, they can get ideas from each other on things to try in their park. Additionally, they should follow businesses, media, visiting celebrities, and events in their local community. The more people they follow, the more other people are willing to follow them. This not only helps to establish yourself as a strong member of the community, but it provides a much greater platform to get the word out whenever you tweet something new.

What to post
Each park should be posting anything and everything about the park. People are plugged in 24×7 these days and always want the latest information. Tweets can be about the park hours for the day, what the weather will be like, the limited-time Maple Bacon Funnel Cake being sold, and the half-off t-shirt special in the gift shop. Fun tweets can be about historical events that occurred on that day in the park’s past, photos of rides and attractions, and any special event that may be taking place that day in the park. Some parks even hold “Twitter Hunts” where they hide prizes, like ride passes and free tickets, around the park and tweet out clues as to where they are. It’s another great incentive to get people to follow you on Twitter. There is never a shortage of things that can be posted by a park.

When to post
This is a tricky one because you want to keep people engaged, but you don’t want to flood their Twitter stream and have them unfollow you. At a minimum, each park should tweet something out twice a day, for every day the park is open. At a maximum, you really shouldn’t go over 10-15 tweets, spread out over the entire day. It’s ok to exceed that occasionally if you’re tweeting something like a live event in the park, but make sure you forewarn people so they know it’s only temporary. During the offseason, each park should still tweet occasionally, just to keep people thinking about the park. Construction updates/teasers, pictures of coasters in the snow, or just about anything about the park will do the trick. Just let them know you’re still alive and counting the days until the park is open again.

These are just a few things that I would do differently if I were running the social media program for Six Flags. Like I said earlier, every park seems to be doing their own thing right now. I just wish my local park, Magic Mountain, was as active on Twitter as Great America is, or even more so. What about you…do you use Twitter? If so, what would you like to see the Six Flags Twitter accounts do differently, or are you happy with what they are doing now?

6 Comments

  1. Bob Magana

    10/30/2012 at 11:49 pm

    What you said is spot on. Hours, specials, historical facts (even though we know most off them haha), asking what followers would like to see in the park(instant feedback for free).

    As far as a uniform twitter handles, whats the character limit on usernames nowadays? I think like 14/15. So using @sixflags would take up alot of space. So maybe sticking with just @sf or even @6flags(dont like the one).

    My band uses twitter to engage our fans with news and question like, “what songs do you really want us to play tonight” and “what are you listening to right now” also we post about our friends bands news so they can check out their stuff, our friends do the same.

  2. JIMMY TOVAR

    10/31/2012 at 6:54 am

    All I have to say is it pays to adverstise. Very important to let people know what’s going, changes, schedules etc. The one thing I wish they could post on twitter, facebook or even their website, is the list of ride that are closed on that day. I hate getting to the park (SFMM) and seeing that my favorite ride(s) is/are closed. But yes, the most important is the interaction between the parks and their guests. It just make me, the guest, feel more welcome and that they are doing every possible thing to make my visit a pleasant one.

    • Kurt

      10/31/2012 at 7:03 am

      There is absolutely no reason they couldn’t tweet out planned daily ride closures first thing in the morning, and then unscheduled ride closures live as they happen.

      • JIMMY TOVAR

        10/31/2012 at 11:04 am

        I agree. That would be an ideal thing which no other park does. I’m sure many guests would appriciate something like that.

  3. Byron Lopez

    11/02/2012 at 5:00 pm

    Kurt did roaring rapids close for the season

    • Kurt

      11/02/2012 at 9:46 pm

      Not sure, but I’ll try and find out when I’m there tomorrow morning.

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