Social media is an incredibly important component of any business’s marketing strategy, and it isn’t as scary, inaccessible or as expensive as you might think. At the recent Tourism Australia Industry Briefing, their social media champion Victoria Johnson shared with us her top five tips for making your social media marketing more effective – they are practical, applicable, and the best part is, total budget comes to no more than about $200.
Share ‘Thumb-Stopping’ Content
Peoples’ social feeds are inundated with a tonne of new content every minute. Not only are you competing with other businesses for real estate, you’re also competing with photos of their friends’ weddings and babies, sunset pics and ‘morning coffee’ shots from the beach. What does this mean? Three things.
Firstly, it means you must be strategic, proactive, and savvy about how you create and collect content to share on social media. Content doesn’t have to be expensive – yes, your iPhone photos cut it! – but it does have to be beautiful. If you don’t quite have an eye for photography, find the person in your business who does! Victoria’s tip: it might not be the person you think. Maybe your chef is a hobbyist photographer!
Secondly, learn to tell the stories that make your business, location or team unique. If you’re sharing a photo of the friendly animals that hang around your property, why not flesh it out a bit and describe what else your property is home to – like nicely refurbed chalets, or direct beach access, perhaps.
Thirdly, remember that we’re all in this together. Victoria says that fostering the community – that is, remembering to tag, mention, and share the content of your neighbours – is one of the most rewarding ways to grow your social media presence. Bouncing off each other on social media not only paints a better picture to followers, but also builds their trust in your brand.
In 2016, 60% of mobile data traffic was video, and by 2021, this is projected to increase to 78%. So, there’s no denying the power of video –its ability to tell stories, captivate audiences, and spread quickly across social media is unparalleled by any other kind of content. Lots of people don’t like this, because they assume creating video is time consuming and expensive, and fear a final product that doesn’t look professional or clean cut. Myth = busted. We’ve all been wowed by incredible drone footage – well, drones just aren’t that expensive anymore (you can get one for around $130). With the one off cost of purchasing a drone and getting licensed, you can capture the adventures of your business and share with your audience for the rest of time.
If that’s a bit too advanced for you, why not try hacking Instagram Stories and Facebook Live instead? These are quick, easy and extremely organic channels through which you can share video literally at the touch of a button (well, three buttons). Instagram Stories should typically tell a story in a series of videos throughout the day: followers love being taken along on the journey or in behind the scenes. Facebook Live, on the other hand, should tell a whole story in one short video. Give your followers a reason to tune in! Maybe it’s a new product announcement or an interview with your head winemaker – something that gives value to your audience, presented in a down to earth, low fuss way.
Understand the Platforms
Many of the shortcomings of social media strategy can be put down to simple misunderstandings or lack of knowledge of the various platforms. If you missed the Industry Briefing, you would’ve missed being shocked and terrified by Victoria’s list of things Facebook knows about its users. The good thing is that Facebook knows enough about people on the platform for you to run highly targeted marketing campaigns if only you take the time to find out how! You can target people by age, gender, nationality, their propensity to travel, their frequency of travel, how often they purchase wine, how much they spend while travelling – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard enough to get your content in front of an audience as it is, so don’t waste good content and good reach on people who won’t find it relevant! Get to know your platforms and spend time thinking about who might be most interested in what you have to offer. Oh, and you know those pesky platform changes and updates that happen at what feels like an ever-increasing rate? Yeah, it’s important to keep on top of them. They are readily available for reading on all social media platforms and they can dramatically change the way you should be using your channels. We know it’s not that fun, but no one else is going to educate you about these updates. You must educate yourself!
Don’t Just Tell a Story – Give a Story to Tell
The fact of the matter is, you’re never going to reach as many people alone as you could reach if other people get talking about you on social media. But luckily, as tourism businesses, you all have a lot of people on social media who are natural amplifiers for your content. You might just not realise it yet!
First and foremost: your guests, clients and customers. These people are dying to share enviable content about their holidays all over their socials – so you should be making it super easy for them to do that, and to mention you along the way. Make WIFI available (they want to share now, not later!), display your handle and hashtag clearly and remind people to use it, and encourage happy guests to rate their experiences on Trip Advisor, Facebook and Google. These are the cheapest, easiest, and most organic ways to build word of mouth marketing through social media.
Secondly, think about who your partners are in the tourism game. Use hashtags and tags to share your content with us – we are here to support you. But there’s also Australia’s South West, Tourism WA, and Tourism Australia who all rely on user-generated content to keep their feeds fresh and happening. Finally, Victoria says that there’s no harm in thinking big. In fact, there might just be some unexpected gain. Keep your ears and eyes out for great story ideas – whether they’re about your business directly or not – and pitch them far and wide. Keep the media abreast of what’s happening in your area or for your business – you never know when your story might become their breaking news.
Have a System
It seems simple, but for some reason, having a system doesn’t always come easily for we humans – especially when it comes to tasks that get pushed to the bottom of our to-do-lists like, unfortunately, social media. But it doesn’t have to be endlessly complex or time consuming, and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve spreadsheets (although, it’d be great if it did). You just need to get into a good rhythm.
Knowing who takes good photos in your business (give them a camera) or in your community (follow them on social media!) is step number one. You can’t go anywhere without content. If you’re not tech savvy, here comes Victoria’s biggest tip – do not be afraid to Google it. Seriously, there are video tutorials, articles and forums on just about every topic, answering just about every question that anyone has ever had about anything. You will be blown away when you type your seemingly bizarre computer issue or Facebook niggle into Google and discover thousands of other people who’ve asked the exact same thing – and been answered.
Finally, your system should always, no matter what, involve making it easy for people to share your story. We are welcoming people to one of the most beautiful places in the world, and they want to tell everyone about it – this is nothing if not a recipe for success. Display your hashtags and handles, find and connect with your guests on social, check your geotag and comment on photos, ask people to review and tag you! All of this is what social media is for.
Above all, don’t forget to have fun. Social media has enormous capacity to bring joy and inspiration to people’s lives. If your content is full of life, colour and captivating stories, people will want to engage with it and see more of it – and, ultimately, they’ll want to come see you in real life. That’s what it’s all about.
Victoria is Tourism Australia’s Social Media Coordinator. She urges you to share your content by connecting with Tourism Australia on social media, and to get in touch with her at firstname.lastname@example.org.