Tours and travel business simply cannot exist anymore without the social media.
93% of B2C (business to customer) marketers use social media. They are important for (1) customer communication and relationship building, (2) your business promotion, (3) acquiring new customers, (4) Google search results.
For tours and travel businesses, we recommend Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn.
Each offers different opportunities.
Understanding how they work will help you use them to your best advantage.
While you’d want to have a profile in all the above-mentioned platforms, focus your efforts on 2 or 3. Your social media accounts will help to improve your Google rankings. The more active social platforms that link to your website you have, the more links there will be to lead there. Moreover, you have more control over your customer reviews on your social accounts than on travel marketplaces.
What are the Different
Image source: neilpatel.com
Facebook – the Most Used
An average user spends more than an hour on it. Lot’s of them love sharing their selfies and great moments captured through beautiful images. It’s a desirable place for a tour provider to precisely target their audiences. A fan page allows you to create engaging, deeper and more meaningful connections with your potential tour bookers.
To engage your followers, share practical tips, videos, and beautiful pictures. Inform, entertain, organize contests and offer prizes. Be consistent to keep yourself in the News Feed of your target customers, but don’t over do it. Posting once a day can be enough. Not everything needs to be your original content. Keep it relevant to your business and useful to customers. Respond to all comments and questions.
Keep active on Facebook, but have in mind that the organic reach is declining. If you want to improve your reach, you’d need to try Facebook advertising. Their Audience Insights ensure amazing targeting.
YouTube – People Love Watching Videos
The stats on the picture below say it all. The videos are fun and easy to absorb. They are the future of online advertising and popular in the travel industry. Just think of the travel vloggers (video + blogger = vlogger)! With so many bloggers moving to YouTube, according to some, 2016 is turning to be their year.
Image source: Aztekweb.com
Tour operators have tons of excellent photo material on hand. Use it to emanate the atmosphere from your tours. Showing a story and a face of your tour business will make the viewers feel more connected to you.
Take every opportunity to make a video! Focus on entertainment, not promotion. If you share useful information, people will see you as an expert and learn to trust your advice. So tell your story through a video! It does not need to be of prime quality, but you want to be seen as a professional.
To be easily found on YouTube, include relevant titles and descriptions with your keywords. Share your videos across your other social media accounts, and embed to your website!
Twitter – Microblogging With Over 500 Million Active Users
It is pretty likely that many potential tour bookers are already on Twitter. Twitter is built around quick short notes, called tweets, with up to 140 characters. Twitter responds great with video content, text, and tips including beautiful pictures. When you include an image to your tweet, your character limit gets cut down to 116. Bit.ly and other link shortening tools allow you to preserve the destination of a link without using so many characters within a tweet.
It is a common practice to send many tweets per day. Do it around noon or immediately after regular business hours, 5 – 6 pm, to get a better engagement.
Engage in conversations to build long-lasting relationships. If someone hashtags your business or mentions you, comment on it. People will like it. Also, use hashtags yourself to put context around your tweets.
You can easily find people to have a conversation with by participating Twitter chats. There many around travel. Almost as if Twitter chats were invented with travel in mind, according to this author.
There were more restrictions before when it came to the character count, especially considering the retweets. But Twitter recently made an upgrade. It now allows longer tweets after it removed photos, quoted tweets, and other items from its famous 140-character word limit.
Tip – Although research shows that the engagement is the best during “busy hours” (8am–7pm), you should definitely not forget about the weekends. If you want engagement, schedule tweets for Saturday and Sunday. According to the data, engagement is 17% higher on the weekends than it is on weekdays.
Pinterest – Visual Platform to Drive Traffic from for your Tours and Travels
Pinterest works as a cork board for images and videos, which link back to the site they were originally pinned from. It is based on a discovery and organization of other people’s content. That’s why it is an awesome place for a tour business to share quality content and let other people share it.
An interesting fact is that Pinterest drives more traffic to other sites than Google+, LinkedIn and Youtube combined! Create a Pinterest board and pin the best images and videos from your tours. Link them to your website and boost traffic!
Tip – to add a personal touch, next to the name of your tour company, use your own photo as the profile picture instead of your logo. In the description tab, include who you are, what you do and why people should follow you. Keeping your Pinterest account active and organized will help you increase the visibility of your tours and travels!
Instagram – Customer Engagement Board for Tours and Travels
Instagram has a broader reach and more of a conversational feel. While Pinterest is about generating leads and driving traffic to your website, Instagram is about customer engagement.
Start by taking the best photos you possibly can. The natural lighting you’re exposed to on your tours is really going to your advantage there! Through pictures, you will be sending a message that you offer fun and excitement. They will attract people looking for exciting experiences.
Since this is a photo sharing app, know that posting great, beautiful photos is going to be the key driver of interested followers to your profile. Instagram is full of tools to help you edit: HeshtagifyMe, Iconsquare, Flippagram, to name a few.
#Hashtags For Tour Operators?
A tour operator should use relevant hashtags to be discovered by potential travelers. When you create hashtags, make sure they really describe and relate directly to the image you’re posting. Even though you can, don’t overload on hashtags. You may end up finding that only a few are really getting you the useful followers.
And finally, interact and network with your followers, reach out, like other people’s photos, comment, and respond. Simply posting and walking away will not take you far.
Know that it is possible to make sales on Instagram. Many people did. To do that, tour businesses can get sponsor post or promote their tours. You can run any sort of promotions. For example, if you have a special sales offer, a discount or a coupon, pick a beautiful image to serve as an “ad” and post to Instagram. This way, you don’t really use paid advertising, but your own follower network and images. So, a little bit of planning can help you promote and grow your brand on Instagram.
Instagram added a feature called Stories. Instead of posting carefully chosen photos, Stories lets you post a bunch of photos throughout the day. And at the end of that day, those photos disappear. It sounds a lot like Snapchat’s My Story feature, except it doesn’t offer as many filters. Although, you can download the Snapchat videos you made and post them as Instagram stories. Also, you can now post videos that last up to 60 seconds, up from an earlier cap of 15 seconds.
A tip: employ the 80/20 rule to not get too “salesy”. Use 80% of your time to share beautiful images, inspire and network. 20% of your time can be used for promotions and marketing of your tour business. This means really giving value to your potential bookers and it is the right way to position yourself well for when it does come time for sales and promotions.
LinkedIn – your Business Description and a Business Networking Platform
Small tour providers, can use it to find partnerships, exchange ideas, experiences and other professional interest with other tour operators and people from the industry. For that purpose, join LinkedIn groups, specially created for tour operators. Be active. Unlike other social platforms, use a professional tone when posting to LinkedIn.
SnapChat – Exclusive, Fun & Memorable Messaging to Young People
This is a mobile photo-messaging app that’s getting increasingly popular among young people. Consider using it when you want to promote something to the average user age group, which are 12 – 34-year-olds according to Snapchat. Almost 80% of college students use it. Snapchat messages last only 24 hours. They remain viewable to recipients for approximately 10 seconds. But, Snapchat Memories, a huge upgrade they recently made, is shifting Snapchat from being the platform of self-destructing photos and videos to a direct competitor of your camera roll, Facebook Albums, and Google Images. Memories is a new way to save your Snaps within the app, a personalized album of your favorite Snaps and Stories that you access by swiping up on the camera home screen. The platform offers filters, geo filters, text, emojis, music and more.
Use it to stand out from your competition. Get creative to surprise and delight your audience and grow brand awareness in a fun way! As a tour provider, use Snapchat to show how much fun you have behind the scenes while you’re preparing a tour.
It is also good to offer promotions, organize contests, send exclusive event, presentation or tour invites. Say, you want to promote or invite young travelers to a fun city tour. Using Snapchat, you can add a sense of exclusivity they like. It will definitely stick in their heads and produce the right feeling of excitement and awareness. Reserved for exclusive, fun, fast, memorable messaging.
Google+ – essential for a small tour business
As a tour provider, you would like to open your profile on there for Google search purposes. You can further share beautiful pictures and videos to highlight the experience from your great tours. Usually, people share coupons and some more of a general interest type of content on Google+.
Last but not the least
Don’t forget to include social media icons in your website. Make it easy for people to follow you on your social profiles. Vice versa, include your website link to all your social media profiles.
Also, people love to share their fun experiences on social media and brag to all their friends back home how much good time they are having. This is an excellent free promotion for you. So, enable sharing throughout all your social media accounts.