It’s 2018. The question is no longer, “Should I incorporate social media in my tourism marketing?” We’re even beyond why you should (although we will go over that). The question is more about what you should be putting out there and where it should live to deliver results. So, whether you’re new to crafting a social media strategy for your destination or you feel like your social game is strong—we have answers to the why, what and where to help take your efforts to the next level.
The why (benefits)
For its annual report, Social Media Examiner surveyed 5,700 marketers to take the pulse of the industry. When these respondents were asked about the benefits of social media, 87% stated that their efforts have increased exposure for their brands and 78% reported that they increased traffic. It’s equally as important to note that these very real benefits are not a flash-in-the-pan—they’ve been the top two ranking responses in this survey four years running.
- 70% of Generation Xers are likely to buy from a brand they follow on social
- 60% of Baby Boomers are checking social media for promotions
- 30% of Millennials engage with a brand on social at least once a month
So, whether you want to increase your destination’s exposure, boost traffic or meaningfully (and profitably) connect with every generation of traveler, social media should play a major role in your tourism marketing.
The what (content)
The Social Media Examiner Report also shared that 80% of all respondents use images and 63% use video content, with 77% saying they want to increase their use of video. Because travel is a visual sell, the use of inspirational images and compelling video is a no-brainer for destinations.
In fact, we recommend that all of our tourism clients build and curate a dense library of attention-grabbing visual assets for use in social media posts and ads. When crafting your content calendar, we also emphasize the 80-20 rule—meaning that 80% of your organic posts should be inspirational or educational in nature versus only 20% that should push promotional offers. You don’t want to lose followers by being too salesy. Remember, social media users are looking for enriching, entertaining content—so even your ads should look right at home in between posts from friends and followers.
Partnering with social media influencers provides another source for content that creates a deep connection with a highly engaged audience. It’s crucial, however, to ensure that the selected influencer’s thoughts and actions are in alignment with your destination’s brand. Otherwise, the content can come across as inauthentic or—in the worst cases—offensive to your already loyal residents and visitors. (Read more on that here.)
Of course, the most compelling social posts don’t come from your destination at all. They come from your visitors through user-generated content. According to Statista, 63% of all adults have taken and posted a selfie on social media in 2018. Now multiply that by all of the person’s friends, family and followers seeing that selfie with your destination tagged—it’s an endorsement from someone they know and trust and has the added benefit of triggering a little FOMO. You can make it even easier and more fun for Snapchat users to create user-generated content that plugs your destination with a sponsored geofilter. (Read more on that here.)
The where (channels)
The mix can vary from destination to destination, because you want to be on the social media channels where your target audiences are most active and engaged. That said, we do generally recommend that our tourism clients focus on these three channels:
Facebook | The most widely used social media channel, 68% of all adults in the U.S. are Facebook users with three-quarters of them visiting the channel on a daily basis. The platform lends itself well to both image and video posts—even live video.
YouTube | Although it’s not technically a social media channel, YouTube has proven itself as the go-to for video publishing with 73% of our adult population visiting the site.
Instagram | Although Pew Research only reports 35% of adults on the channel, it’s very visually-driven (perfect for destinations!) and attracts up-and-coming Millennial and Generation Z travelers so you can keep filling that sales funnel with visitors.
Of course, other social media channels can also deliver value for destinations. Pinterest is a solid tool for posting inspirational content for weddings and dream vacations. As a true B2B platform, LinkedIn can be used to reach planners of meetings, conferences and conventions. Twitter is the perfect channel for delivering newsworthy content—especially if it deals with a timely #trending topic. And Snapchat—to an even larger extent than Instagram—can help you reach the youngest travelers as the most popular channel with the digitally native Generation Z.
If you’re looking for expert guidance on the “how” to implement social media and tourism marketing, Dana Communications is your “who.” Reach out to Lynn Kaniper at 609-466-9187 ext. 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.