What are the best ways to leverage social media in the travel and tourism industry? Social media can feel overwhelming sometimes, but don’t despair! It’s not as complicated as it seems to promote your travel and tourism brand if you stick to some simple guidelines. Here are seven key tactics that are sure to create a buzz and get people excited about visiting your region and your business!
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1. Provide Exciting Content
Content is king! What does that mean? In short, great content=traffic to your website=sales! Content is everywhere, and not all of it is worth reader’s attention. In order to get visitors to pay attention to your content, it is important that you provide them with exciting content that is relevant to their needs. Your writing needs to reflect your own voice, and the voice of your business. Provide original content that readers can’t find anywhere else. Make sure your text is keyword rich and reflects your brand image. Include #hashtags on your social media posts to help people find your content as well. Above all, always provide photos with any content you share. Videos are becoming even more popular than ever before, so share videos on your posts and social media accounts whenever possible.
2. Share your Local Flavor & Favorites
When people visit your website they don’t want to see an ad page in the newspaper. People are visiting your website because they want information. They not only want to know what you offer and what your rates are, but they also want to know what other fun things they can do in the area. Include easy to find pages about the best places to visit, where to eat, where to stay, what to do, local weather and news, sample itineraries and upcoming events. Places to eat and stay can be a simple list on one of your pages with links.
For the love of the outdoors
Many travelers love the outdoors, which provides another opportunity to make your website stand out among the rest! Is there a fantastic hiking trail nearby that your visitors might enjoy? How about a beautiful roadside waterfall that would be perfect for a picnic? Share these local outdoor favorites with your visitors! Turn each location into a single blog post with photos and videos. Make the post a review of the destination including difficulty levels for hiking trails, any gear they should bring (in Maine, bug spray is always part of our essential outdoor gear!), how long the trails are round trip and any other important information. Here is an example of a blog post I made for my website showing visitors what to expect when visiting the Debsconeag Ice Cave. It includes driving and hiking directions, photos and a video I made from my visit.
3. Share Everywhere! (mostly)
I have found a great way to bring traffic to my site is through writing a blog post, then sharing that post to my social media channels. I write the post, include great photos and embed any relevant YouTube videos, publish my post, then share it to my relevant social media channels either through WordPress (Publicize from Jetpack) or through HootSuite. For my site, relevant channels are Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. Depending on the post type, I don’t always publish to all channels. Consider the audience for each social media site and publish accordingly.
4. Stay Engaged with the Conversation
One of the most important ways to gain followers (which lead to sales!) is through staying engaged with the conversations on your website blog and social media channels. Communicate frequently with your followers, answer all of their questions, and show them that you are a real person, not an auto-responder. Staying engaged shows your visitors and followers that you care about them and what they think. It helps to build brand trust as well as brand ambassadors. Unlike paid endorsements, brand ambassadors believe in your product or service so much that they promote and recommend it on their own. Staying genuinely engaged in online conversations with your audience is a great way to gain brand ambassadors.
5. Create Loyalty Programs for Social Media
Another great way to leverage social media in the travel and tourism industry is through offering loyalty programs for social media interactions. Encourage travelers to “check-in” online or share their experiences, stories, and interactions with your brand on your social media pages as a contest or loyalty program. Maybe after a visitor has stayed at your hotel three times and shared their experience online you can reward them with a free one night stay. By rewarding visitors for their shares on social media you will create a loyal following, and begin to gain brand ambassadors as well.
6. Encourage Visitors to Share their Experiences
People love to be a part of a fun group. Travel and tourism industries are all about fun, exciting experiences which your brand can easily build on. There’s a lot of room for creativity here, including everything from encouraging photos with your staff posted to your social media sites to painted plywood cutouts with your brand logo and an “I stayed at the [brand] hotel in [location]!” labeled sign that people can share.
What’s your “thing”?
Make it a “thing” that is fun to do and others will want to visit your business and join in on the fun! Maybe your restaurant offers a gigantic burger with a local name, or you have a really huge chair that sits in front of your business with your logo on it encouraging people to share a photo of them sitting in it to their social media sites. You can create your own hashtags (#WhitewaterMegaBurger, #GrandLakeGiantChair) and post them around your business to encourage visitors to post photos with your hashtags. Unusual and iconic things, clubs or cultures are always fun to share online, especially for Millennials!
7. Connect with Travel Influencers
Travel influencers are people who have a well-established online presence and a huge following on social media channels. These people are usually very easy to find because they are very well known. Quick searches on Twitter or Facebook will turn up lots of results. Reach out to travel influencers and offer to host them in exchange for a blog article or social media posts about your business. The benefits are tremendous when you connect with travel influencers. Their posts will be seen by thousands of other people who love to travel, plus trust the recommendations and travel suggestions from the influencers they follow. You’ll get exposure, more website traffic, and more sales.
Top 7 Best Ways to Leverage Social Media in the Travel & Tourism Industry:
- Provide exciting content
- Share your local flavors & favorites
- Share everywhere! (mostly)
- Stay engaged with the conversation
- Create loyalty programs for social media
- Encourage visitors to share their experiences
- Connect with travel influencers
What are some ways you have leveraged social media to promote a travel & tourism brand? Share your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas in the comments below!
Category: Blogging, Social Media Marketing 201