Last week, I talked about content marketing and how it can help market your adventure travel business. Now it’s time to look at social media’s role.
Sites like Facebook, Twitter, TripAdvisor and YouTube are evolving into good chunk of travel marketing landscape. About one-third of adults aged 21 to 34 check out recommendations online, as opposed to older adults who rely on it only 20% of the time. Since these represent the travelers of the future, you can’t help but think this is an irreversable trend, and the days of travel guide books like Fodor’s or Lonely Planet are likely numbered.
While some of those companies are slowly catching up and going online, I really don’t like to think about that possibility. Some of my favorite reads ever just happen to those same publications. Also, you’re just not traveling if you don’t have a hefty guide book in hand. But I digress…
A recent personal experience with this phenomenon: Someone who reads my travel blog contacted me about offering travel suggestions on the site he works for, Trippy. He personally asked if I could help someone about a bike trip to Tuscany, which my hubby R and I just did. Just glancing around the site made me feel a little geriatric. From the avatars on people’s postings, I don’t think there was anyone over 32, and a lot of those were asking about the best nightlife opportunities in certain cities…like I’m a real expert there 🙂
The point is, this is where travel marketing is headed, whether it’s adventure/active travel, family travel, romantic travel, whatever. And here’s a quick and dirty guide to helping you navigate the cyber-jungle for some of the most popular sites:
The 800-lb. gorilla of the social media world is still where you’ll want to have at least a basic presence. It’s also a good place to post daily information, give direct feedback to customers and prospects, and promote specials or even giveaways. And because Facebook has a “viral” effect with its audience reach, your followers’ friends will see your postings, opening up the potential for generating more leads.
With Google+, its functioning is very much like Facebook. But because it’s geared more towards business and less personal, you won’t have as much riff-raff to wade through. It’s also tied very closely to Google search rankings and authorship (more about that in a future post), so you’ll definitely want to build up your presence here to gain site optimization.
A lot of people freak out over Twitter because of that 140-character restriction. But this platform is great for quick-hit messages or responses to your followers, enabling online conversations with them, as well as passing along links to your site or blog posts. Just be sure to shorten your posts with link-abbreviating/bookmarking site like Bitly or Ow.ly, so you’ll have plenty to write in your tweets.
Travel just naturally lends itself to visual media, whether that’s video or photography. All of these sites provide that opportunity, so you’ll certainly want to jump on the bandwagon here. You’ll want to optimize your posts as much as possible, including highly searchable keywords and phrases that your audience will use. A word about Vine: since the video length here is limited to six seconds, make a significant impact in the videos your choose to post.
These uber-popular user-generated review sites carry almost as much weight as Facebook in terms of reach, because it’s geared solely toward travel information. It’s certainly fantastic if your company can garner mostly glowing reviews and 4 to 5 stars per review, but chances are you won’t every single time. So try to write a response back to them acknowledging their concern. Or if they think you rock, thank them.
Do you have any other social media suggestions for travel marketing? I’d love to know about them!