A social media marketing strategy for small tourism businesses shares tourist experiences and tells an ongoing story. It shows prospects what they can expect with posts showcasing the area’s beauty and what guests will discover during their visit. Think of your posts are the stepping stones leading guests to your booking site with travel inspiration.
Here we share how to craft the perfect social media strategy for your tourism business to provide the small steps that make a big impact on your bookings.
Goals help guide your strategy allowing you to choose the proper channels and craft compelling posts. Common goals for small hospitality businesses include:
- Increasing brand awareness to generate interest and share the travel experiences your brand provides
- Boosting guest engagement to share posts and comments
- Driving website traffic to learn more and book
- Encouraging more user-generated content to create authentic posts about travel experiences
- Generating more bookings, which is the ultimate objective of all your goals
To help create goals with purpose, use the SMART method:
- Specific: Set specific goals, such as: Increasing your reach on Facebook with 100 new followers each month. While increasing your reach on Facebook is a goal, the specific number of followers you hope to attract makes the goal measurable.
- Measurable: Goals have to be monitored and tracked to understand if you are meeting them. As shown above, choosing measurable goals that are specific is key to an effective social media strategy.
- Attainable: Attainable goals are realistic, ensuring you and your team can achieve them. To make things easy, base goals on past performance so you have numbers you wish to improve, such as the number of bookings, the number of followers, the number of posts based on hashtags, the number of likes, etc.
- Relevant: Relevant goals ensure your accomplishments positively impact and improve your business.
- Time-bound: Deadlines provide accountability and avoid procrastination.
Choose Your Audience
Not every tourist attraction or accommodation appeals to everyone. Therefore, you need to define your audience. You might have several audiences or personas you wish to target, which is okay. However, you need to address each persona’s individual needs, which is why defining each target is critical to your social media and digital marketing success. You want to use your targets to decide where they will most likely find your accounts and follow your posts.
- Will they scroll pages on Pinterest when seeking new, eye-appealing destinations?
- Do they prefer watching videos of people hiking in the hills, scuba diving in the ocean, or dancing at local nightclubs?
- Are they asking friends for suggestions for a family-friendly vacation on Facebook?
- Are they honeymooning and prefer a private short-term rental discovered on Instagram?
You know your audience best and can determine the platforms they will most likely use. Check out your social accounts and learn more about their demographics to help break down personas. You can also collect information when guests book with customized fields asking to learn more about them to help create more personalized travel experiences.
Tip: Ask guests how they found you so you know where to focus your social media efforts.
Choose Your Social Media Channels
Understanding your target personas allows you to decide what social channels you will use. However, you won’t necessarily post the same content types on each channel. You need to align your personas with specific goals and choose the channel most likely to help you meet those goals.
For example, Facebook is more about community, while Pinterest and Instagram are about visual inspiration. YouTube is video-based to share activities and experiences, while TikTok is perfect for quick clips to share advice or create teaser videos.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of how you can use popular social media channels:
- Facebook: This is a great place to create a sense of community where guests can comment, like, and share information about your location. It is also perfect for special offers and to help guests learn about your location by browsing posts, clicking links to your website’s landing pages, and booking on Facebook.
- Instagram: Although Instagram doesn’t support bookings, it does provide glimpses of guest experiences. This is the place to help raise brand awareness and set aspirations for prospects searching for vacation and destination ideas.
- YouTube: Photos are excellent for accommodations and local sites, while videos are about action-packed activities. This is for those bungee jumping, scuba diving, local tours, and night-on-the-town videos where viewers can watch guests having the time of their life. Seeing authentic reactions helps convince travelers that they will enjoy themselves. YouTube is also great for firsthand testimonials and vlogging. For example, you might have your tour guide doing a vlog tour with commentary from guests enjoying the tour as it happens.
- Pinterest: This is ideal for the scroller, who finds inspiration from collections of images. You can feature the most visually appealing views from hotel windows, amenities like pools, local destination spots, food from local restaurants, cozy rental rooms or luxe hotel lobbies, etc. People researching ideal destinations can pin your posts to create a board of their ideal trip. Adding a link sends visitors to your website to learn more.
- TikTok: The latest video-sharing app, TikTok is great for short travel videos that are lighthearted and interesting to create authentic off-the-cuff moments that are helpful and entertaining. Think of them as teasers. For example, it might be someone showing off the breakfast buffet or walking towards a terrifyingly high prospect to take in a popular view. You can create anticipation in 15 to 30-second clips that create interest and make people want more.
- X (formerly known as Twitter): This is a great channel to let people know what’s happening each day and throughout the day. It’s best for guests already at your location, as they can check in and understand what’s happening so they can join in if they find it appealing.
Set Your Strategy in Motion
Once your channels are chosen and accounts are set up, you can set your strategy in motion. Here are a few ways to leverage your accounts and attract followers with effective social media digital marketing:
Live stream tours and events
Live streaming captures exceptional moments with drama, fun, thrills, and emotion that set the tone for your travel destination. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, these live moments are authentic and intriguing, enticing scrolling thumbs to stop and click. Viewers are “in the moment” with fellow travelers, capturing more attention and gaining more followers.
The more you live stream and the more interesting or exciting your videos, the more effective your social media strategy becomes. It’s the best way to present authentic experiences so prospective guests know what they’ll experience and will be more likely to follow you and eventually book.
Work with a travel influencer
If you provide genuinely unique travel experiences, working with a travel influencer who wants to “discover” you and share your location with fellow travelers is an excellent way to boost your followers. Travelers trust influencers to provide honest reviews and share their own experiences to help them find new and exciting destinations. Choose an influencer most likely to find your destination unique and appealing and reach out to them with an offer. Whether you want them to visit your location or to join you to create a special offer exclusive to their followers, influencers expand your reach.
Leave posts to the experts on your team
The chefs in your kitchen, the tour guides driving your bus, the concierge welcoming guests, the bartender shaking up cocktails poolside, your event planner, and your activity coordinators are all experts on your location. Having them post on your social channels creates more authentic experiences and provides more opportunities to feature guests enjoying your services.
Don’t underestimate the younger people on your team, as they live and breathe social media and know what works. Depending on your audience, you can choose a mix of content, including video, live stream, images, etc., all produced by people already on staff. As a result, no training or additional budget is required!
Hashtags allow you to use trending terms and keywords to draw attention to your posts. Working like SEO keywords, you can choose the hashtags most likely to attract interest providing a “label” that categorizes content across social media. These labels help people find information on specific topics quickly. Search hashtags used by travel influencers and popular travel brands to get ideas and find the ones best suited to your travel niche. Incorporate relevant hashtags in your posts based on the subject matter.
For example, if you’re featuring a video of a scuba diving expedition, you might add #scubadivingadventures #scubadivingflorida, while if you’re featuring your gourmet dinner, it might be #dininginclassflorida #freshseafooddinnerflorida #bestfloridarestaurant. You can use up to 11 hashtags per post to help expand your reach.
Another way to use hashtags is to create your own and share them with guests to use on their posts. This allows their followers to share their experiences and encourage them to follow you. Don’t use hashtags for boring posts. Save them for those special moments that intrigue people, make them want to follow you, and book a reservation.
These tips will help you craft the perfect social media strategy to help grow your tourism business.