No matter where you are on our globe, chances are that right now business is slow. That means that this is a good time to take care of some of those projects you have been meaning to do for a long time but haven’t gotten around to. For many of us, one of those projects is social media. Whether you already have semi-active accounts or are starting from scratch, now is the time to take your social media presence to the next level.
Why it is important
In 2019, 72% of people in the United States were using social media, with 74% of this group checking their Facebook account every day. As people maintain social distance, social media has only grown in popularity. More and more, people use social media to find activities, organize events, and support charities and businesses. In the tourism sector, displaying visuals of your tours via social media is a key marketing strategy. Is your business making the most of this important and relatively low-cost resource?
Maybe you are on some major social media platforms but missing others. Maybe you have social media accounts, but life is busy and you haven’t been as active as you would like to be. Maybe all of this is entirely new to you. Follow this guide, and you will become your business’ social media guru. We promise that both your customers and your bottom line will thank you!
Where to start
Begin by profiling your target audience. Take a look at who comes on your tours, who purchases your products, and who is engaging with your current social media presence, if you have one. What is the age and gender of these people? What language do they speak and where do they live? Having a clear image of your target customer will help you to write posts that they want to engage with. It can even be useful to give a name to your amalgam ideal patron. Cynthia is a 65-year-old female in the greater Seattle area, looking to learn about her upcoming vacation destination. John is a 25-year-old adventurer, hoping to climb the world’s gnarliest rocks.
Knowing your audience will allow you to apply real-world data to reach them on the networks they use the most. Especially when it comes to social media, data exists and is readily available, so use it. A carefully focused post can dramatically change the pace of a marketing campaign. Make sure you are looking at the numbers and not basing your plan on assumptions. For example, it may feel like millennials have all moved to Instagram, leaving Facebook to their parent’s generation. In fact, Facebook and Youtube remain the two most widely used networks across all demographics.
Next, take a look at what your competitors have been up to. This is a great way to get ideas on what is working well and what you might want to do differently. It is also important that you understand what is expected within your industry on social media. You want to make sure that your social media strategy keeps up with the industry standard. Finally, it can be useful to know where there might be a hole you can fill. Perhaps your competitors all have strong Facebook presences but no one is taking full advantage of Twitter. That might be a space for you to channel additional energy.
Build your profile
You might be starting from scratch or working to improve on what is already there. Either way, this is a good opportunity to make sure your social media profiles represent you and your business. All major platforms have the option for business accounts and if you are marketing a business, that is what you should be using. This is a profile for your business as an entity, as opposed to an individual account. This will allow you to post adds and provide you with more demographics of your viewership. In most cases, you will need an individual account from which to manage your company page or pages, if you have more than one business.
Decide what networks are going to be the most effective for you. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the major players. But if the majority of people who come on your tours live in China, WeChat might be worth considering. If your target audience is Gen Z, perhaps it is time to get on Snapchat. Check out this previous Tourism Tiger blog post for further insight on the major social media platforms, and why you should care about each one. Remember that it is better to select a couple of platforms and perform well on them than to stretch yourself too thin trying to cover all the bases.
For each social media platform that you choose to use, write yourself a mission statement. What is it that you hope to accomplish on that platform and why. Try to set measurable, achievable, and specific goals for yourself! Keep these goals in mind when setting up your profiles and when you start posting. Make sure to fill out all the available fields, providing as well rounded a view of your business as possible. Use keywords and format your photos to the appropriate size for each platform.
Make a schedule
Now that you have optimized your profiles, it is time to start posting. We recommend that you build a calendar for yourself. Once again think about your goals for each platform. You also want to make sure that you are posting on the most advantageous days of the week and times of the day to reach as much of your target audience as possible. You can use data here to see the timings of your best-performing posts. You might want to employ a social media management service such as Buffer or Hootsuite. These services allow you to schedule posts ahead of time, so you can always publish at the ideal moment. Both offer free and paid plan options. This will also help to prevent a lag in posting, which will make people question the credibility and modernity of your company.
Finally, building a calendar will help you ensure your posts are balanced. You want to provide posts that are informative, beautiful, curated, and sales oriented, in an even mix. If your content is 100% “buy my product” or “read my blog” followers will lose interest fast. If you only share cat photos, you won’t meet your marketing goals. Diversity is key. There are a variety of strategies out there. Set percentage performance goals for your content aimed at brand reinforcement, and customer engagement, and shares.
Share, share, share
Now that your social media is up and running, get it out there! Are your social media platforms linked in your newsletter? They should be! Do you have social media integration set up on your website? If you aren’t sure what we mean by that, contact us, we’ll be happy to help. Have you invited your Facebook friends to like your page? Do so! You have worked hard to make a social media strategy, you should take pride in sharing it with the world.
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