That social media became an important part of most peoples lives is almost an understatement nowadays.
More then half of the world population is using social media and more then 90% of all internet user.
Short said, an incredible place to meet your customers and where there is always an audience for your niche, no matter how narrow it is.
Many people get their first images about a destination through social media and more then 70% of people are somehow influenced by Social Media, making it a very important platform for a tourism company to be present on.
But what do you need to get more then a few likes here and there.
How do you turn a channel into a powerful communication tool between you and the travel community.
How do you make sense of the many channels available ? And where do you get the time from to make a channel successful.
Because social media is not just posting, it's about being a helpful and entertaining resource for your audience. Where you are not only sending messages but really try to be part of a bigger community.
What can a travel company achieve with social media ?
Social Media can bring 3 big benefits towards your travel company
- Brand Awareness / Preference for a destination
- Engagement with and learning from your customers / community
- Customer services - another communication channel to help your customers to get most out of their travels.
Social Media is used to interact with potential clients, to tell your brand story (who you are) why to buy from you vs others, you can also use it to help customers get the most out of their holiday with practical tips and to convince people to buy your product because its to good to resist.
Because social media is network where friend / family / relations interact with each other its a great place to share experiences from customers on a trip with you, which is super power full. Not only for all people to see but especially for people who are already in the network of your customers. They might also be interested to go to your destination.
Getting the right followers, that fit within your community / tribe should be the main focus. Get a following of like minded people who share a passion about the things you do and preferable your brand.
And you can only do this with putting your audience central, that means talk about the why your product is excellent for them. Contexts they love. Give them valuable information they can use, or be entertained with.
Be human, on social media be empathetic, show you understand your customers, and share their concerns, feelings and desires but also solutions for that.
First focus on one channel and post frequently
Start with one social media at a time, does it work for your travel company go for the next.
If you start, post regular, work on the quality and start boosting your post to your targeted audiences that you defined in your strategy, preferable as narrow as possible like for example to cities where satisfied clients live that have recently booked your products. You have a nice way of boosting and supporting the natural word of mouth from your clients.
Most important when working with social media is that you have to be clear, with your messages, you need to grab attention quickly, people don't have time and act with a split second.
But also post frequently, its better to focus on only social media channel and do this channel good then spreading your attention over several social media channels.
If you don't post regular a social media doesn't work, because its about 2 way communication, building an audience, if you are silent for long times, you are like that friend that never calls back.
Emphasize on regular, this doesn't have to be daily if you have nothing of value to post, if you can only post one great post per week, that is fine. Just make sure its regular and has value for your customers. A bad post ruins more then no post. Algorithms reward good quality posts, if there is a lot of engagement more people will see your post.
A good way to achieve regular posting is to work with fixed time slots to work on a content calendar to plot your post, to work on stories you want to tell on social media, to develop the posts and to interact with the community. If you plan them its easier to do all pillars of social marketing properly.
What to post on Social Media
The end goal is getting a traveler to visit your destination or book a night, experience, car or tour with you.
To get someone there you need to lead them to several stages. First you need to get noticed. Then you need to build trust with helpful information, show proof others love you and lead them to the several options to get into touch with your sales team.
Most of your posts will be centered around inspiring and helping your community, try to let the proof be done by the community itself where, you can curate the the best posts of your community and repost them. Make it easy for your audience to contact you and give special deals but avoid to put to much focus on selling your products.
Watching your social media channel should be entertaining. With a mix of things arouse curiosity, are cute to see, educate and let people admire. Preferable small stories that lead to a bigger message that triggers action in your audience.
Getting new audiences to you social media is done with inspirational post that are entertaining and provoke our curiosity.
One of the difficult parts of social media is that you want your content to be seen, by the right audiences.
Because of the enormous amount of content on social media and the fact that your audiences scrolls there needs to be a reason for the traveler to pose a brief moment and judge to engage further with your post or not.
You can only do this if you stick with some basic principles
- High quality photos
- One message per post
- Something that has instant value for your audience
You need to stay inline with your strategy to carve your brand.
The trick to get your "full" message that comprises your vision, usp, values, key messages and top destinations and experiences out there is careful planning.
Thinking in story themes or maybe even a story world that take your traveler into your "world" where you are the expert or guide to unlock more of the amazing things the destinations have to offer and that will enrich the traveler.
Social Media Post for Destination Marketeers
As a destination you can inspire by curating the best of what is happening in your destination. Focus on your persona's and the niche products you have identified in your strategy.
To help your audience you can provide tips that get the most out of your destination, insider novelties, practical travel tips etc.
To show you the difference between a post that just shows a beautiful photo and tries to get engagement and a post that really uses a frame work of Inspiring, Helping and Selling to a traveler i chose these two Instagram posts of New Zealand (the top) and Australia bottom.
Where New Zealand is show a beautiful picture it doesn't give much context, it purely goes for social media theories that learn you to present, fun facts and to let the traveler engage with you.
While Australia, Inspires, shows me to learn more about the experiences, where the experience is when its a good moment to go (when I'm in Sydney) and tips to get the most out the experience. Brilliant !! They added value to me, in multiple ways.
Social Media Post for Travel Companies
As a company show your human side, your vision, why is the company doing what they are doing. How are experiences created, what are your expert tips, show customers in action, the partners you work with etc.
Reuse content you have already made and use your social channels to promote content with long lasting value like a blog or a Youtube video. Most of the time a blog or video will get you visitors for a longer period of time.
Use pieces from these blogs and videos to publish them on your other social media's. For example a blog about a destination can have four small teasers which you can post on your socials.
You can also use Youtube and blogs to make summaries of the best social media posts in that way you can work much more efficient.
Besides creating your own content stimulate travelers to share under certain hashtags like for example my destination that Dubai did with #MyDubai which shows how people are experiencing highlights of their holiday, inspiring others to also add that destination on their travel wish list.
Creating Captions for Social Media
When creating captions for social media you want to identify the story from your visual content and give the right context that is needed for the traveler to act upon what they see.
For defining a story you look at the visual and identify the setting, characters, important items and events.
You try to link them with your story themes and story lines and the vision, values, usp's and value proposition of the experience or destination you are selling.
You draft a small story and throw that into the content framework ; Inspire, Help, Proof & Sell.
Where you are using the context w's ; why should traveler do this, what is it, where is it, when is it to make sure a traveler can act upon your visual.
Using Hashtags Strategically
Using Hashtags strategically, where a lot of digital marketeers like to use hashtags to let travelers find there posts, i prefer to flip that idea and try to focus on my reader. How can i use hashtags that engage them with the topic of the post but also bring them closer to a booking, because they know more.
Having the confidence that if they are convinced in the destinations, experience etc they will come back to buy my products. As a destination marketing organization this is the only way because the more people know, the higher the change a traveler will come one day.
- A hashtag of a place (to help them find out more about the place)
- A hashtag that shows a lot around a festival to let them learn more about the event
- A hashtag of an activity plus place - hikingnepal - cookingnepal
- A hashtag of a community ethnicity #newari
- A hashtag of a community attribute - newaridress, #vajra etc
Following the above strategy not only helps your reader but surely also will get you better noticed, because you generate engagement.
Working with influencers
Social media connects communities centered around shared interests, giving rise to influencers who influence travel decisions. Collaborating with influencers aligning with values and vision is strategic, whether big or small. Micro-influencers, though with fewer followers, offer cost-effective niche access.
In influencer marketing, content is vital. Influencers create engaging content, often through barter arrangements. The Meta and Netflix partnership in Vietnam exemplifies innovative influencer-driven marketing, fostering creativity and engagement within travel communities.
Read more about working with travel influencers
Which Social Media Channels should i use ?
Which social media channels to use depends on your target market, older people might not watch Tiktok for example. But is also depends on what you and your team feel comfortable with. Social media is about communities and you and your team should be part of an online community where you feel at ease and home.
Are you comfortable with short movies and you earn your money with a younger public, then TikTok is definitely a place for you to be. Even when you are a beginner with some good videos where you can see people enjoying holiday experiences. Can attract an interested public relatively fast, because the algorithm works based on content and less on followers. Instagram Reels and Youtube short work in a kind of same manner, and when you love doing video, these 3 channels should be on your list.
Optimizing your social media profile
If you choose for a social media channel its important you do a proper set up. Upload the profile picture and fill in all possible fields and of course where possible a link to your other assets. Eventually you want to drive people to your own website and or make them a member of your newsletter. Digital assets you fully control and will always be yours.
Using social media to communicate with your customers
Not only send information, interact with your customers, share their posts, like what they do and comment back on their reaction or write something nice on their posts.
How to measure success in Social Media
While the ultimate goal of your success is extra bookings or visitors to your destination. Metric like engagement; how many people like, share or comment on my posts and reach which means how many people saw my post are good things to look at.
Do try to break them down to your target audiences so you can check the difference of your success with different target groups.
Advertise what works
Once you know what works and what doesn't its a very good strategy to amplify what works in your target markets and towards your persona's through boosting.
Think focused, you can't conquer the world in once, think more city by city. Defining a whole country as your target market only works with really high budgets and or a very niched persona.
Value Through Passion and Social Media
Do you want to learn more about how Value Trough Passion can help your travel organization grow to its full potential. Then please send us an email.