Social media is an essential marketing tool for a tourism brand or product. We had the pleasure of having tourism professionals Stephanie Hynes from Contiki Holidays, Bob Kronbauer from Vancouver Is Awesome, and Alicia Taggio from Flight Centre Canada join us in the discussion on, “Social Media For Tourism.” If you didn’t get a chance to watch the live panel, check out these the key social media tips from our panelists, as well as the recording.
Here are 6 Social Media Tips for Tourism
Tip #1: Use social media to generate two-way conversations with your customers
Social media allows tourism brands to build meaningful relationships with their customers. It’s an easy tool for the audience to start that dialogue with the brand, whether it’s used to comment on the brand’s customer service or ask about the latest promotion. Bob Kronbauer states, “Social media is built-in and is perfect for tourism.”
Tip #2: Encourage influencers and customers to tell their travel story on social media
This summer, a social media trend that can be highly advantageous for tourism brands is encouraging influencers, bloggers, and customers to tell their travel story through social networks like Instagram. For example, Contiki has invited bloggers to share their Contiki experience during a Contiki road trip by taking images and producing content from their perspective. Along with this, encouraging the use of a hashtag is a great way to follow your customers travels through Instagram or any other social network that supports hashtags. This is a great way to collect photographs for a contest, and to see people’s perspectives when they’re traveling.
Tip #3: Find success for your tourism brand on Facebook
There’s a pool of social networks tourism brands can use, but when the panelists were asked what social network they find the most success in, Facebook was everyone’s top choice. Facebook allows brands to cater their message to the right demographic and for any brand it’s important to make sure your communication is going out to the right people. For Flight Centre, Facebook allows them to get to know their audience very well, “kind of creepy and ‘Big Brother’-ish,” says Alicia Taggio. But in the end, a strategy that comprehensive, allows Facebook users to receive the advertisements that align with their wants and needs; which, in turn, leads to a higher engagement rate. Facebook also allows brands to grow their following; for example, Vancouver Is Awesome increased their following from 8,000 in 2012 to 36,000 in 2014, by strategically investing a small budget on promoted posts.
Tip #4: Align your social media strategy with your overall goals and objectives
The most important metrics are those that align with your overall goals and objectives, whether it’s the one for your entire business or for a specific campaign. For example, if your objective is to increase engagement, then your brand should focus on engagement metrics such as likes, retweets, mentions, comments, and shares. If your objective is to drive business growth, then you should focus on metrics such as click-throughs, website traffic from social, and conversions driven by social media.
Tip #5: Social media management needs a social army
Stephanie Hynes said it best, “You need to build a social army.” Social media management is a team effort, and an internal social media policy is a great way to build brand ambassadors. At Contiki Holidays, the entire team is involved in social media. From tour managers to content and community specialists, Contiki encourages their employees to share their travel stories through various social media channels.
Tip #6: Listen and engage with your audience
There are a few easy tactics a tourism brand can use to engage their audience on social media. One of them is creating a consistent hashtag; Bob Kronbauer encourages people to use #vancouverisawesome on Instagram and Twitter, so their posts about the brand are more visible to him. Another important step is getting know your audience. Social media is a great market research tool, and with so many different social media analytics tools, there’s no excuse for not being familiar with your audience’s interests and desires. Lastly, Alicia Taggio advises tourism brands to “listen, listen, listen, and engage with your audience.” Showcase your brand’s great customer service by listening to your customers 24/7 on social media, and always respond to their comments, even if they happen to be negative.
Learn more social media tips in this recording of our Social Media for Tourism online panel
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