How to Create a Social Media Strategy to Promote Your Tourism Business
Tiktok, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube… Oh my… There is a lot to choose from… You’ve got to be present but should you be on all platforms? My opinion? Hell no, that’s way too much! You pretty much have to be on Facebook and Instagram, then for the rest, it kind of depends on your mood and what you are offering. If you can do short and fun videos regularly, then TikTok is quite fun to be on, if you can do absolutely gorgeous inspirational shots then go for Pinterest, and so on… We’ll explain all in this sixth instalment of our tourism marketing guide for New Zealand operators covering how to have a well-thought social media presence.
A Note About This Tourism Marketing Guide
If you are just stumbling upon this page randomly or through a search engine, lucky you. But before you keep going, you should definitely read the introductory article to this series of tourism marketing guides so you get a bit of context about the tone and the content within it.
This article follows directly from Tourism Marketing #5: Expand Your Sales Channels.
How We Use Social Media & Why You Should Think Carefully Before Paying Facebook…
Admittedly, I am not the biggest social media fan. My opinion of it is pretty much as follows: you’ve got to be on the biggest ones, i.e. Facebook and Instagram, because they force you to but you won’t gain much from it… We use social media in a very different way compared to most other travel publications. By now, you know that we like to be different. Pretty much the only social media that we focus on are the ones that are used as “search engine”. This is simply because, we know what we are selling – we answer people’s questions about travelling in New Zealand. For this reason, we are putting our focus on YouTube, which is the video search engine, and Pinterest, the visual search engine. For all other social media, again, Facebook and Instagram, we basically schedule about 2-3 post per week for a whole year using the software Hootsuite and don’t look back. From time-to-time, we post an extra something or an announcement, but that’s it.
Why Do We Approach Social Media This Way?
What I usually ask myself is: “When was the last time I made a purchase decision on a social media platform?” and it often comes to “Never”. Ask this to your clients to see if you should be on a certain social media or not. In most cases, social media are more of a way to inspire people or to seed an idea. This is the “DREAM” stage of the phases of travel that we discussed in Tourism Marketing #4: List Your Product on NewZealand.com and More… You can be present here through influencers, through your Regional Tourism Organisation, through Tourism New Zealand (if you are good), but you may not need to spend all your energy there.
I understand that this all sounds very negative, but looking at where I come from through consulting with tourism companies who have previously thrown so much money at social media for very little results, I like to give a different view over the traditional online marketing company-approach whose job it is to make you spend money on social media through them so they get paid along the way…
Which Social Media to be on & How to Use Them to Promote Your Travel Business
Ok, so with that out of the way, let’s break it down and find out how to put your social media presence to good use in a way that you won’t feel like you are wasting your time and energy. Here are some ideas on how to actually get something out of your social media presence.
On Facebook, make sure to have all your business information up to date. If you are selling a tour, take a few pictures of each tour and upload them on Facebook at the end of the day. Tell your clients that you are doing this, so they can get their tour pictures from there and ask them to tag themselves and their friends. It’s a fun interactive way to engage with people and ensure you’ll get comments. As for the rest of your Facebook strategy, some ideas include:
- Create one post a week featuring one of your tours
- Post a striking picture and caption like “This is what we get to see pretty much every day with [insert business name here]” and tag your RTO, as well as other local businesses and publications like us
- Run competitions and the such sporadically – you are not running a game show but this should help you get momentum during the low season, i.e. when many travellers are planning their trip to New Zealand
- And remember to post/share when publications, influencers, news or anyone else talks about you.
Since you can schedule posts directly through your Facebook Page Manager, you can sort out 10 weeks at a time and only have to post the daily shots when you have clients.
Post the best picture of each day after having heavily edited it. Don’t be scared, it’s pretty easy: just load the photo on Instagram on your phone and then click on “edit”. Then click on brightness and push the slider up, go on contrast and only go up a bit, push the structure slider up, and finally increase the saturation slider. With just that, you will already see your picture looking much better. Then you can add a filter if you’d like – play around, see what looks good. Tell your clients that you will put the picture up so they have an incentive to come to your page. Once in a while, post one of the photos from your photoshoot, as discussed in Tourism Marketing #3: Get Striking Imagery for Your Website, to impress people. Don’t forget to use emojis and at least 10 hashtags in your captions.
To warrant having and maintaining a YouTube channel, I feel that you need one of two things: either super helpful content or stunning inspirational visuals. Up to you, but those are heavy tasks. We are on there because it is a great search engine where our audience asks questions, but most tourism businesses will find that the time and energy needed to create content and be discovered on YouTube is not worth it. Being featured by YoutTube influencers would be the best way for tourism businesses to utilise this social media.
Only join TikTok if you feel like having fun. Post about one video a week at most, make sure to add background music, and that the video has a “hook” like a nice landscape and panning to reveal the cutest seal pup and then have everybody be like “awwwwwww!” It’s silly but that is what seems to work.
Should You Pay for Likes or Sponsored Posts, etc?
Remember, “likes” amount to nothing. They are like gold in the mobile game Farmville, a fake currency made up so you care about a virtual number. Only pay for a sponsored post when you will actually return at least three times your spending in profits i.e. a post that will sell your product. Most sponsored posts only achieve fluffy brand-building which, in my sceptical experience, is not a good thing to do.
If you’re unsure on how to handle sponsored posts, there are some amazing companies like JPDM that specialise in paid social media marketing campaigns, drive conversions right onto your site, and can actually show you the numbers of the bookings they generated. Those are the people to work with. Otherwise, boosting a post for a few bucks to get some more likes is throwing money down the drain.
Do You Want to be Featured on NZ Pocket Guide?
Being featured on an actual website with evergreen content that travellers use to plan their trip may be a better way to spend your marketing budget. If you want your business to be featured on New Zealand’s largest and most popular travel guide, we’re just a quick email away. Just head to our contact page. Plus, if you mention this article series, we’ll shout you 20% OFF your first year ad campaign – just like that!
Continue Reading the Tourism Marketing Guides…
To keep going with this article series on promoting your tourism business, check out Tourism Marketing #7: Improve Your SEO or go back and start afresh with the 10 Tips to Promote Your New Zealand Travel Business.