Let’s be real. When you use Facebook, I doubt you want to see your feed jammed with businesses trying to sell themselves. As a tour operator you have a cool advantage in that you can actually post interesting things up. Dental businesses don’t have that kind of good fortune, so make the most of it!

I’ve talked about what TripAdvisor wants. Now, let’s talk about what Facebook wants.

Facebook wants active users. Sound a bit like TripAdvisor? In fact, this is the main goal of all social media websites and the main metric that they are measured on in the news media.

Additionally, when Facebook sees someone interacting with something, their algorithm robot says “hey, let’s show them more of that thing.” Keep this in mind.

Are You Using Facebook’s Book Now Button?

fb-book-now

Electric Tour Company in San Francisco has direct links to their booking page from Facebook’s Book Now Button

 

Our Facebook Tips:

1. Facebook is meant to be fun. A place where you have fun and people can have fun with you. Make sure the photos you post up are either beautiful, quirky or funny. The whole goal of this exercise is to make people want to hang out with you.

2. Keep a track of what causes interaction. In your page statistics, you’ll have access to see exactly how many people have liked and seen a post. This is the gold right here – experiment with new types of posts and stop making the kinds of posts that people are ignoring.

The more engagement your users have with past posts, the more likely Facebook is to show your future posts. Focus on engagement.

3. Seek activity but in the right way. Knowing they need engagement, many business owners will often beg people for a comment and frame their posts in a needy, supplicating way. This is not the right way to do it: do everything to avoid coming across like this.

4. Don’t post too much. One of the most common questions I get is ‘how often should I post?’ There’s no answer to this question better than the statistics on your posts – likes, comments, views. Your fans will send the message to you louder and clearer (through their silence) than any guru! That being said, 3-4 times a week is a good rule IF you are posting up good stuff.

5. Give people a backstage pass to your business. The most valuable thing your business could ever create with someone is a personal connection. This is where someone knows who you are, what you do and likes you for it. Createthat connection by showing the hidden stuff in your business that other people might hide. For example, you could experience a vehicle breakdown, for example. People will empathize with you more than criticize and if you make light of it, you will be even more loved.

A great example from Carmel Food Tours

A great example from Carmel Food Tours

6. Respond to people’s comments – don’t just leave them hanging. When people comment they actually do respect a response – in any case, I know I do! As with TripAdvisor, when you respond to people be personal and real. Show some personality! Shake off the ‘cardboard PR persona’ that has infected gigantic Fortune 500s and too many hapless tour operators.

7. Post outside of peak times. Facebook expert Jon Loomer conducted a case study using his own page to see what were the best times of day to post. Posts that went up late at night got much more reach and activity. This is when many people are still online but nearly all ‘Official Pages’ have shut up for the day! Loomer also found that when people began to log on in the morning, the posts were still right up there in the news-feed, waiting to be seen. The other pages he would normally have to compete with were too busy eating their breakfast to be posting on Facebook!

Less people are online at that time but because there’s so much less competition in the Facebook feed you have almost exclusive access to them with your megaphone. You don’t have to stay up late to do it necessarily, either. It’s not too difficult to time your posts to go up when you’re not around using available tools.

*Update* Xola.com, the tour booking software, has released a fantastic post on finding the exact times your audience is online – to then post to them. Check it out.

8. Ask simple, engaging questions. Short, snappy questions that require no thinking are the ones that will work the best. If there’s one reason people are hanging around on Facebook, it’s definitely not to make their brains work.

Example: “What’s the ‘hidden secret’ restaurant in Chicago that you think EVERYBODY must know about and why? Leave a comment and share yours – and I’ll share a couple of mine too.” If you posted a question like that with a photo, you would definitely get engagement. Try it out and let me know how it goes (if it doesn’t work for you, I will personally buy you a beer.)

Again, the purpose of nearly all good posting is not to sell directly but to just put yourself in people’s minds. If someone is aware of you they’re much more likely to use your service and recommend you. Build relationships! That’s what Facebook is all about.

9. Avoid big gaps with no posting. For all social media, long disappearances make it look like your business is dead. It’s better to delete links to your account than to have no posting at all.

10. Use call-to-actions from time to time. Call-to-actions (or CTAs) are when you ask for someone to take a particular action. This could mean asking them to tag themselves in a photo, leave a comment or click through to your website.

11. Get their emails. Last but very much not least, drive them to your email list any way you can. The average value per email subscriber is always multiples (generally many multiples) of a Facebook fan or Twitter follower. Which leads us to the next chapter.

What Should You Post? (Answer: Photos, Videos, More Photos and More Videos)

Photos are the main attraction on social media. They’re also the easiest thing to upload and will help you stay in touch with past guests with much less hassle.

The best thing: it’s SUPER easy. During a tour just snap photos and upload them. It takes one or two seconds to do and you’re right there anyway. Take 8 second videos on Instagram or Vine and have them synced to Facebook, or you can upload the videos directly to Facebook where you’ll get much more engagement.

Take photos of people having fun but also be sure to upload great scenery shots or urban shots too. Make them wish they were there with you!

UPDATE – this is NO LONGER the case. A new study has just shown that Facebook has dramatically de-prioritized photos in favor of video!

Here’s a few more ideas:

1. New testimonials. Posting testimonials on an occasional basis will remind people how awesome you are.

2. Awards or press. It’s always exciting to see businesses that we like achieving success.

3. Upcoming special trips.

4. Articles about your area from other blogs or news sites. It’s not just about keeping your business front of mind – you need to keep feeding the desire to come back to your part of the world. It’s also a good way to maintain a relationship with fellow tourism businesses if you share their articles or the same with local bloggers.

5. Put links to your blog occasionally (if you have one).

6. Exclusive discounts.

7. Posts about your specialty. If you run a wine tour company, for example, you can share information and articles about wine. Easy!

8. Ask questions where people can share their own knowledge or preferences. Even play games with it such as ‘guess this building!’

Using Facebook or any other social media channel doesn’t need to be complicated. There’s no rocket science to it. Just post interesting stuff and do so regularly.

If you need inspiration, go and hit Like on 20 other businesses that are similar to yours from around the world. They’ll fill your feed every day with new ideas for your business to help you expand in all ways.

 

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