Using social media for tourism marketing is a very sound investment. Even without a sizable marketing budget and little time available, you can easily reach millions of people with just a few clicks. You can utilize social media for your business to build brand awareness, expand your online presence, and convert potential customers to actual paying ones.

Keep on reading to learn more about how social media marketing works, its pros, and how you can leverage it to your advantage even if you’re on a tight budget.

Know Your Audience

We can’t stress this enough! You must define your tourism business’ target market — the particular group of customers you’re aiming to sell your product or service — so that you can focus your business’ resources on reaching them. The marketing mistake most businesses are likely to commit is aiming for a large target market. While it’s easy to assume that the wider you cast your net, the more customers you’ll attract, the opposite is true.

It can feel a bit counter-intuitive, but you will find greater success in reaching your audience by breaking your market down into manageable groups rather than trying to be everything to everyone.

Doesn’t Narrowing Down My Target Market Mean I Lose a Lot of Potential Customers?

When you become specific with your target audience, it doesn’t mean you are turning down customers who don’t match it 100%. You’ll still be attracting customers who don’t resemble your target as per usual. You will just be significantly more effective in attracting your target audience compared to before.

Your Social Media Strategy

A social media strategy is everything you hope to achieve on your social network. It guides your actions and lets you know whether you’re succeeding or failing. The more concise your plan is, the more effective it will be.

When doing destination marketing, you might have some concerns with using social media such as —

●      “I’m not sure what to post.”

●      “I have trouble posting consistently.”

●      “I’m not getting any engagement or results.”

●      “I’m scared to create any posts.”

— but by answering a set of questions, these worries can be resolved.

Goals (What Do You Want To Achieve Through Social Media?)

There are two types of main strategies around social media that you can choose from: being active or passive. First, you need to figure out what you want out of social media.

Are you on social media to promote your destination? To drive traffic to your website? To generate new leads? Or to provide social customer service?

What matters is that you set a few realistic social media goals.

Active social media is a more dynamic and interactive approach. You want to create high-quality content to gain awareness, followers, inquiries, leads, and sales from social media. Using social media to exponentially grow your business by generating more customers and revenue requires more attention and effort on your part because of the need for frequent posts to gain more results.

Meanwhile, passive social mediastill involves creating and distributing social media content on your social profiles, but it is not your priority and requires less effort.

Platform (Which Platforms Will You Share On?)

Once you understand your goals, you need to choose which platforms you want to use. Understanding your target audience will help you decide the best place to share.

Study your target audience to find out what age group they are in, what their interests are, which social media platforms they frequent, which network they’re apart of, and what content they want to view.

Keep in mind that your business doesn’t have to be on every social media platform.

Facebook

Facebook is the biggest social media site. With more than two billion people using it every month, it’s a must-have for all businesses.

Even if your social media strategy isn’t on Facebook, it’s still good to have a Facebook page and create relevant content to keep it active for your community. It’s easy to get started on Facebook because almost all content formats work great — images, text, videos, live videos, and Stories. When it comes to demographics, Facebook has users of all ages and backgrounds.

More than six million advertisers actively promote their business on Facebook, which makes it a pretty safe bet if you want to have a social media presence.

Instagram

Instagram allows you to share a wide range of content such as photos, videos, stories, and live videos. Instagram has a relatively large following, with millennials as its primary audience.

To be successful on this platform, you must produce high-quality images and video content. Instagram also offers paid advertising options.

For instance, if you are targeting potential tourists to come to your Lancaster Hotel, this platform is a perfect place to promote it. You should also utilize travel hashtags and consider creating your own to maximize the popularity of your content.

YouTube

YouTube is a video-sharing platform where users watch one billion hours of videos every day. You can create a YouTube channel to upload videos for your subscribers to view, like, comment and share.

Make sure that your videos are engaging and have high-quality content to stand out against the wide selection of videos posted by other accounts.

Twitter

Twitter is a social media site used to share stories and anecdotes, news articles, or links of interest every day. Twitter has a strong emphasis on concise, real-time information, making it popular for businesses, journalists, celebrities, and people interested in knowing what’s happening at the moment.

When it comes to using Twitter for business, you need to stand out from your competition by consistently engaging with your audience and sharing valuable content with all of your posts.

Tired of Investing in Random Acts of Marketing?

Get a Marketing Strategy You Can Count On!

Optimizing Your Social Media Page

A properly planned social media profile can provide countless opportunities for any business. The thing is, too many businesses don’t know how to get the most out of their accounts.

Schedule (When and How Often Will You Share?)

Consider the behaviors of your target audience to determine the best times to post on social media. Then craft a schedule you can stick to and take advantage of any pre-scheduling features that may be available. Batch content creation is a great way to take advantage of pre-scheduling features.

Plan (Create a Plan for Your Social Media Content)

Once you identify what type of content you want to post where and when the next step is to create an actual plan. Laying things out can help put everything in perspective. It can reveal holes in your strategy or push you towards a promising direction.

There are many planning apps on the market, but you can also keep it simple by drafting your plan in a calendar, writing it out, or creating a spreadsheet. Choose the method that suits you best.

Implement (How Are You Going To Implement And Automate This?)

To automate this process, you have three options:

DIY Without Software

●      Free

●      More time-intensive

●      Use social media’s scheduling system (like Facebook — you can schedule your post for another time or post right away. Facebook also allows you to post simultaneously to Instagram, but be sure to check the format to get the best results.)

DIY With Social Media Scheduling Software

●      Costs $10-40/month

●      Semi-automated

●      Some software lets you load in all of your posts and choose platforms you want to post in

●      The software posts for you consistently

Hiring A Professional To Do It

●      Costs the most of the three options

●      Requires minimal effort on your part

You may need to revise your tourism marketing strategy now and then to keep up with trends, but starting with an effective tourism marketing strategy gives you a strong foundation for boosting your business and guides you in the right direction.

Common Pitfalls

Social media is a great tool for boosting your tourism marketing without having to spend a lot. You don’t even have to allocate a social media marketing budget because it can all be free. Still, it’s really important to leverage these platforms and do it right. Here are some things you might want to avoid.

●      Putting too much thought into posts, leading to decision paralysis. This is when you spend hours contemplating what to post, and if it’s good or not.

●      Completely outsourcing the posts. People outside your business will know less about your business than you do, so there’s a tendency for content to be too generic. Keep your posts unique to you and your business.

●      Not posting at all. There might be worries whether your post will generate no engagement or maybe incite negative reactions. If you’re a business posting reasonable content, you’re not likely to encounter this, but if you do, you can retract your posts at any time.

●      Being too corporate or safe with your social media. You want to put some personality into your business and build an emotional connection to be more relatable to users. Travelers typically want to go to a destination because they feel connected to that place.

●      Not experimenting and innovating. You must continue to evolve and improve to keep your audience interested and build your relationships with them.

●      Not responding to comments, messages, or inquiries. Quickly responding to users gives a sense of reliability. You want potential travelers to trust you. You won’t be able to create this connection if you’re not conversing with them.

Observe Your Competitors

Visit your competitor’s page or similar pages. Look at pages of bigger companies — they don’t have to be direct competitors.

Study the content of other tourism businesses that are appealing to a similar audience and see which posts are generating engagement. Pay attention to the type of media (images, video), the format of the media (multiple images, images with text, video length, with captions or without), type and length of copy, tone of voice, social media ads they may be running, and frequency of posting. Use these for inspiration.

Post Ideas

Don’t be afraid to post and try new things on your page because this is the only way to know if they’re effective or not. Even if they don’t work the first time, don’t give up and try again.

When it comes to creating the actual post, make sure that every detail in your copy is accurate and catchy, and your image as visually appealing as possible.

Take Users Behind the Scenes

Behind-the-scenes photos help you stand out from the competition by humanizing your tourism business. Today, more businesses have been doing this and are getting more engagement.

Create Original Images

Use tools like Canva to create original images that’ll make your page unique. If you don’t have a social media marketing budget, no worries. You can definitely do it yourself. With the current state of cell phone technology, you don’t even have to be an expert to take and edit a landscape photo of your Amish guest house.

Post Photos of Your Destination in Action

Instead of using generic photos of your destination, post something that shows it in action. Show people how your travelers are enjoying your hillside bed and breakfast. Use images that make people picture themselves in their dream vacation. Seeing others enjoying themselves will make them want to do so, too.

Use Live Video

Live video content is an effective way to build engagement. It gives your viewers a sense of inclusivity and connection with the destination. You can shoot a short video tour of your property, an interview with a delighted customer, or a behind-the-scenes video.

Ask Questions

You can ask users questions to encourage engagement with your content, like questions you know they’d want to answer in the comments section. For instance, if they were to stay in your luxury inn and spa, would they want to enjoy a relaxing massage or a scrumptious meal the minute they get there?

Offer Promotions

At times, a good sale or promotion is just what users need to interact with your post. These promotions can be a great way to advertise your business while still getting good engagement.

Post With Purpose

Examples of this type of post are:

●      Tips on how to traverse your humongous golf course

●      Tutorials and lists on how to best enjoy your restaurant’s specialty dessert

●      How-to’s for booking a room in your countryside hotel

●      Industry-related news or content

●      Local event promotion that can boost bookings for your destination

Repurposing Content

Reposting photos or blog post quotes that have done well or got great engagement in the past is perfectly fine — just be sure to use a different caption every time. You can also repost testimonials from TripAdvisor and other platforms.

If your guests sign waivers, consider including a waiver for photos and videos. This way, you can shoot images and use them without having to chase people down for permission later.

How Do You Measure Your Success?

There are several ways to determine if your destination marketing is working. Here are some of them.

Engagement Metrics

With social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you can easily view the number of likes, comments, and shares you are getting. These are very helpful but may not tie back to actual bookings.

Long-Term Metrics

Another route you can take is focusing on longer-term metrics like the number of your followers. If your followers are growing, take it as a good sign. These gained followers are gold. They provide a consistent audience you can interact with, and their activity with your page can also generate more followers.

Consult With Peers

There’s nothing like the feedback of your own friends and family. They give honest opinions because they want you to succeed. Ask them to assess the quality of the posts you’re putting up. They also represent various target audience groups so it’s like hitting two birds with one stone.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is a web analytics service by Google that tracks and reports website traffic. It is used to keep track of your website and marketing performance, as well as your visitor count. It also shows you which of your posts get the most views. The best part? Google Analytics is absolutely free.

With this tool, you can make smart marketing decisions based on actual data rather than gut feeling.

Final Tips

Tourism marketing and social media are a great pair. Use it as a means to show your authenticity, engage with people, and turn them into guests. The possibilities with social media are endless, so be sure not to miss out on it. If you’re ready to start creating a digital marketing strategy for your business, schedule a discovery meeting with one of our team members, and start the process of growing your bookings today.

Meet the Author:

Carl Lefever

Carl Lefever, Founder & Strategist

Carl is the founder of Improve & Grow, LLC, where his primary passion is helping businesses grow by improving their online marketing. He leads the team and is involved in developing and executing internet marketing strategies for our clients. Carl's background is in continuous improvement disciplines, focused on sales and marketing operations. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt. He is a proud father of 4 girls and loves traveling and supporting missions work.