Content is the hardest part of social media. What do people like to read about, what topics will get better engagement, what are people searching for. Being an expert is one thing on social media but defining your expertise is another. There are a few merging hot trends for content that are specific for tourism. If you follow along you may find your content inspiration and what your expertise could be for travelers and vacationers.
5 hot content trends in tourism marketing
1. Wine and Cocktails – Vacation means relaxation, traveling seems to end each day with a cocktail. It is what it is, and there is no explanation. Wine and cocktails seems to perk people up, wine and cocktail information seems to help people decide where they will travel and where they will have that end of day cocktail. Though you don’t want to look like a lush, you can be clever about your cocktail and wine posting. Focus on local drinks and specialties, partner with a bar that has a great mixologist. Experiment with your own cocktail making and inspire others. There are many ways to look at wine and cocktails as content. Recipe sharing, location sharing, historical cocktail sharing. Take you pick but be sober when you post, okay!
2. Fashion and Shopping. We are going to lump this into one category as fashion can be clothes or it can be hairpins, jewelery, art, trinkets, you name it. Travelers and visitors are eager to find the perfect ‘thing’ to take home on vacation, a deal, a specialty item, something. Add in the presents they need to buy for those poor folks back home and you could have hit the jackpot. Yoru market will determine your shopping and fashion highlights. If you are dealing with the hostel world, diamonds and Name brands may not be the way to go as your sole focus. If your guests are middle class travelers, find deals and steals for your followers. High fashion is for a very specific crowd so match those fashion photos to your market.
3. Food. Oh the food focus that is sweeping the world. Between the rock star chefs and the buy-local philosophies, food, great food, is really a winner no matter how you slice it. If your hotel or condos have cooking facilities, you can open up your content to include recipes, local food markets and helping your guests make at home food choices while on vacation. Restaurant reviews for a destination will always rock, and chef interviews a winner. Pick your food focus and build it!
4. Local/off the radar. More and more vacationers and travelers are looking for a local experience in their vacation destination. All the glitter and fanfare of being a visitor is nice for a while, but the experience is what people are looking for, a real experience that reflects how people live in the destination from day to day. Be that local guide and give yoru readers that insight into your destination. Let them follow you around and find out really, what life is like where you live and work. This opens up great opportunity for video, photos, fun blog posts and content that is easy to draw from, your life. Little research is involved. It will all come down to awareness and creativity.
What is not hot in tourism social media
Acting like a typical tourist guide that only points your readers to typical activities, trends and over marketed experiences is not what vacationers are looking for. They want a real voice, that shares, laughs, provides insider information and will provide a holistic overview of a destination not the destination that is marketed throughout magazines, travel agencies and video that uses stock photos and actors in destination videos. People want real, people want insight, people want to learn and be educated by your day to day experiences. People want to think that you are speaking personally to them, not an audience.A rehearsed voice is not the experience people are looking for.
Define your market and find the best content idea that will ring true to your readers, your soon to be readers and those who you want to have follow you on your social media networks.
Photos courtesy of Lord Jason Scott
If you are keeping up to date on tourism marketing, mobile and marketing is going hand in hand these days. With over 50% of tech users owning a mobile device, smartphone or tablet, tourism businesses need to understand how mobile is effecting their marketing. One, you need to understand the habits of people on mobile devices and two it is important to find ways to reach this market through mobile strategies. Social media became popular as it adopted mobile strategies and adopted to mobile use early. Using social media is one way to increase your mobile marketing as the platforms are mobile already!
Not sure what mobile marketing means and how it impacts your tourism business?
When people started to drive, marketing changed. Billboards were used in advertising, roadside marketing opportunities were found, and businesses adapted their marketing to reach people where they were. With mobile, marketers are changing their strategies to reach their audiences on their mobile devices as that is where way too many people hang out. Go where your people hang to deliver your message, duplicate their habits and put your marketing message there. That is what mobile marketing is all about, put your message on the mobile devices in a format that mobile users understand.
Mobile users habits and tourism marketing opportunities
Pick one area of opportunity and focus on it for your tourism business
We are great believers in focusing on one item and doing it well. Look over this information and pick one area in social media and mobile habits that you can work on. Should you be focusing on creating some really good videos, should your business blog be soooo good that you are considered an expert, are photos the way to engage your guests and clients. Pick one, just one and do it really well. This information compiled by funsherpa is invaluable and could just give you the inspiration you need to refocus your tourism marketing efforts and do one mobile strategy well.
If Facebook is your mobiel strategy of choice, work through our 30 day to Facebook Freedom and make Facebook work for you.
If you are on social media, we are not longer just citizens but netizens, meaning citizens of the internet. There there are few laws that govern social media but there are social laws that monitor and keep social media a great community. Social media is almost like the Wild West where it could be thought that anything goes, but the www of the internet does have social laws that if broken will break your business. It is that simple. If you break a social media rule of conduct you will be ousted by the social media community, quickly, in seconds and with more repercussions than just some tweets or comments.
The tweet is now mightier than the sword
The Olympics was a great example of how irresponsible posting on social media will socially and professionally kill you. Athletes who posted irresponsibly were taken out of the Olympics by the country’s team. A few athletes received that sting when their tweets supported racially inappropriate information. The messages that flew through twitter land were fast and furious, with people questioning the racial remarks in seconds..but the response of the athletes country, removal from the Olympic games added to the ramifications of an inappropriate tweet.
Tourism businesses will be removed by guests if they act irresponsibly
The Olympic athlete lost their chance to compete, a tourism business will lose paying guests and kill their own reputation in seconds. Be responsible with your social media information and be appropriate not only for your own business but your destination as well. As a tourism business you represent not only your world as a hotel, a tour company or a host but you represent your destination, the county, the city and location where your business is. If you act irresponsibly you hurt not just yourself but the destination as well.
Best practices to ensure social media responsibility for tourism businesses
1. Don’t rant. This is the number one rule for your business. Who wants to listen to a complainer or whistle blower or someone’s bad mood. If you are having a bad day, back away from the computer. Your bad day should not be shared with other guests, nor should your bad day reflect on your destination. Back away and return when you feel better.
2. Highlight your destination as much as you highlight your own business. Your business would not exist if it was not for the destination. Be nice to your destination, care for it, worship it and highlight all the great stuff it offers you and guests. Guests pick destinations first and what they do and where they stay second, so make your destination a priority.
3. Be a responsible netizen. Share, be nice, become a resource and expert, be trustworthy and transparent. You can disagree agreeably, you can correct information if people are mistaken, you don’t have to be a Polly-Anna where everything is right in the world, but you do need to share views in an agreeable way you will end up back at point #1 – Ranting.
4. Support other netizens on social media. Social media is a community and when you support other netizens, your community gets bigger and bigger. Like, comment, retweet, join groups, add to conversations productively and add value to others. If you think that someone is being super inappropriate direct message them. They will appreciate the lesson instead of making them look foolish publicly.
Guests are the social media police for tourism businesses
Guests use their personal profile to comment, like and communicate on social media. Though the rules should be the same for people and businesses they are not. All you can lose on social media when you post as a person is respect, friends and followers.
But guests are the internet police for social media. Before you post, think of the guest SM police will like your information or be offended. If you are not sure, don’t post it. If you post and your information is offensive, the guest SM police will lash out and hard. No you won’t get a fine or ticket, it will be worse, your business will lose the confidence of your fans and followers…ouch…that is worse than any fine. And it will cost you more money…..way more money! You worked hard to obtain the followers, why blow it with a poor post.
Social media is the wild west but you can be a good netizen
Social media is the wild west but that does not provide you with the green light to do or say what you wish. Your social media marketing is your online profile for who your business is and what it represents. You get more bees with honey that you do with……just keep making the honey that you and your destination deserve.
Check out our ME verses WE post to further this discuss on social media posting for your tourism business.
Planning a budget is tough, planning for a social media budget is tougher. To try and hit that ROI on the nose, or come close to it, it is important to have some structures in place that will help you hit the budget target closer rather than farther from the bull’s eye. For a small business there can be little room for a social media budget but with a bit of planning and gathering of information in advance, the return on investment maybe easier to see than not.
Have a marketing plan first before you start your SM budget
Determining a budget means that you need to understand what your targets are and if you can do it yourself or if you need to hire someone or a group of people to meet these targets. Your objectives are critical in determining what you need, so build these out first and then attempt your budget.
Objectives for a social media plan need to look at dollars and profits as well as followers, engagement, reputation management and interactions. If you are super savvy you can include brand awareness and guest satisfaction.
Measuring these items takes time to collect the information and deliver the metrics.
But if you don’t have a plan, you don’t have anything to measure and you will not know where to go to measure this information.
Some basic goals and objectives could be the following:
1. Increase profits by 10% from xxxxx to xxxxxxxx
2. Increase fans by 15% from xxx to xxx
3. Increase followers by 15% from xx to xxx
4. Increase email database from xxx people to xxxx
Your objectives should correspond to the networks that you actually use. Measurement needs to be put into place as soon as you determine what it is that you want to achieve.
Measure your results AND review the information
Profits are easy to measure through accounting programs and your taxes. These numbers give you your profits but you still need to know what influenced your profits. Increased profits are what we are all looking for but we need to know how you have increased your profits so that you can duplicate and build on those successes
Measuring your marketing strategies, especially your social media marketing, will help you to see the value of your social media marketing efforts. Social media metrics are a bit more challenging but play an important role in the ROI of you travel business. Our good friend Daniel Craig calls there metrics Vanity Metrics and require outside assistance for tracking.
Hootsuit is a great way to measure engagement, interactions and shares of you social media content. Google analytics will show you more information and if you plug in your social media information, they too will measure your social media interactions, a new feature that will help you determine engagement, interactions and sharing of your information on social media. Google analytics will measure all of your digital media so you can determine if it is your website and blog that are your true marketing cash cows or if social media is responsible for your success. It could very well be both, but if you don’t measure you won’t know.
Other measuring platforms for social media include Facebook insights, Tweetdeck, and Social Oomph. Some of these platforms are a budget line in and of themselves so decide how much information you want and how much you are willing to pay for that information.
Every month make it a habit to record your Facebook fans, your Twitter followers, Google+ people and Linked in connections. This can be recorded easily on an excel spread sheet and can provide you with the incentive and inspiration to continue your efforts or hire someone to continue your efforts.When you combine this information with your editorial calendar for the month, you could very well see which posts increased your results or which strategies failed to gain the fans or followers you were hoping for.
Why track your results on social media
If you want to be able to finance your social media strategy, you need to understand if your business needs it. Tracking results of any marketing initiative is what marketers do. If the campaign does well and profits rise at the same time then you know that your marketing efforts had a financial return. If your social media presence is increasing and you can see your profits rise, it is a no brainer, it is time to invest into human, online and outside help for your social media marketing.
If you dont measure you don’t know. If you don’t know then how will you know which part of your business to invest into to gain more profits?
Read our review of Hootsuit and find out how this platform can help you measure your influence on social media.
2013 is fast approaching and hopefully many travel and tourism businesses are planning for the 2013 season including building their 2013 marketing plan. There are 6 distinct trends to look out for in 2013. Empower yourself now with this market research and insight and get ready for another busy year in social media and digital marketing.
6 online travel trends to watch for in 2013
These trends apply to global travel markets not just North American markets. The world is changing rapidly and so is how people are looking for and booking their vacations and travel.
Mobile, mobile, mobile – getting into the app market
AL the rage now is m-commerce not e-commerce as people are switching from computers to smartphones and tablets. Understanding how people use their mobile devices is your ticket to building mobile strategies. Understanding mobile devices by using them is also a great way to discover how you can gain in m-commerce.
It is all about the app, those little squares that people are accumulating on their devices, a quick connect to information that they need. Now if you are not able to invest in an app, make sure your travel business is associated with companies that offer apps. This is a great way to get into mobile marketing without having to make the first investment. Tripadvisor has an app, Expedia has an app, etc…Social media networks also have apps, oh I see the light bulb go on, so if you are present on Facebook and your guests use the Facebook app, you are actually already doing mobile marketing. If your guest is in the Facebook app and go to your facebook page, and they can reserve their room, or tour then they do not have to leave the Facebook app to coordinate their travel plans…are you getting it. You do not have to build your own app but you do need to make sure you are present and visible on the apps people use.
Nuture and influence travelers during all stages of their vacation and travel.
You have three opportunities to influence travelers during the vacation cycle, pre- vacation when they are booking and packing, during the vacation when they want to maximize their stay, and post-vacation when they will be sharing their travel and vacation stories. Build social media strategies that influence each of these three stages.
Travel Influencers will be more important and more prominent
You are not an influencer for your business, but your guests are. And they want to be an influencer. Find ways to promote influencers for your travel business and have your guests do the work for you. The old loyalty programs are now the new influencing programs, so build an influencing program that encourages guests to be the public speaker for your business. This will take sometime using social media search to find out who is your best influencer or what group is your best influencers. Keep them close and build them up. They could be your marketing ticket in 2013. Have you created an influencers strategy yet. Think about it and be creative.
Travel search is now more personal and social
Search engines are not dead, they are just different. They see the power of social media and personal recommendations and they are driving this next phase of search away from key words and toward people’s comment , reactions and reviews on, you guessed it, social media networks. The more people talk about you on social media the better you will rank on search engines.
Asian and India markets are hot travel markets!
These countries have cash and they want to spend it. The rising middle class in Asian markets and India will be the next hot ticket item. These markets are currently testing out local travel and in 2013 will start embarking on international travel. It is important to note that these markets are not as mobile friendly as the North American market but they are getting there. To get in early you may want to combine your social media marketing efforts with paper marketing strategies, articles, pubic relations, advertising. Smartphones are becoming more popular but government regulation of the Internet is very different in other parts of the world.
Strategy, strategy, strategy – have social media strategies
No longer can we fly by the seat of our pants. It is time to sit down, understand who your markets is, what markets you want and build strategies to gain access to these markets. It is also important to have different strategies for different economies and disasters. Globally, our economies and weather are turning on a dime as much as our marketing options are. Have a plan if the economy falls, have a plan if the economy increases, have a plan for a environmental or health disaster. It is easier to think of good strategies in advance before the hysteria sets in than to try and shift your marketing when it does set in.
Key to travel trends in 2013
Be open, be flexible, know that marketing is organic and have the tools to implement new or additional social media marketing strategies if the world decides to change, again. Be one step ahead, not one step behind. Know that things are not as we used to know it and that we have to think and act differently in 2013.
North American travelers are some of the most sought after guests in the travel industry, as they travel often and frequently. If one of your niche markets is the North American traveler, listen up so you can learn more about the travel habits of this changing market. We call it a changing market for a few reasons. One the demographics of the North American traveler is changing. With a large aging population coming into age and retirement, retirees are a great market to capture. Secondly, the economy is getting stronger after the almost crash in 2008 so there is more disposable income for travel and people are feeling more financial security.
We will review the facts that were shared by MMGY Global a few weeks ago. Then we will translate this information into some pointed social media strategies that could help you win this travel market, no matter where your travel business is in the world.
Facts about the North American traveler and their travel habits
- 90% of North Americans took an overnight trip in 2012
- 8 out of 10 North Americans took a leisure trip where as 4 out of 10 North Americans took a business trip
- Of the North Americans who travel, they averaged 3.8 trips in 2011/2012 per year
- 75% if North Americans think that a vacation is a right not a privilege and exercise that right through travel
- More North Americans are using meta search sites like Kayak for travel booking and less are using OTA’s like Expedia
- 51% of North American travelers visit Tripadvisor before they book their vacation to check reviews and insights
- 32% of North American households with an income of $250,000 usd took more leisure trips than previous years
- 20% of travelers are grandparents and 40% of this travel group had multigenerational trips with their kids and grandchildren
How North American travelers book their vacation
- Over 50% of North American own a smartphone or tablet and use these device to book their vacations
- Travel status is based on who got the best deal, not who spent the most money on their vacation or paid top dollar for a vacation
- More travelers are booking last minute trips (6.2 days before their vacation), less travelers are using flash sales
- Value for price is most important (this does not mean cheap vacations it is value for price)
- Travelers base their travel decisions on social media sites, what people recommend and where people are going
- Travelers are looking for something new and different, they are not looking for the regular vacation. They want wanderlust!
Social media strategies tourism businesses can use for the North American markets
1. Encourage your guests and clients to post reviews and photos on social media sites – train your staff to regularly discuss in conversation what social media sites your company uses. When people know you are on Facebook, or Twitter or Pinterest, they want to join in. If they don’t know they will not take the time to share on your social networks. Decide how this information will be shared with each guest, and encourage social media interaction.
2. When using social media sites, post how you are different from others. It is never a great idea to post just about ME on social media but you can post exciting photos and videos that show you are different. Show people your wanderlust and have your guests share their wanderlust.
3. Participate, participate, participate. Get off your timeline and onto your home in Facebook. Set up alerts in your social media so you see what people are sharing about you. See what people are sharing and if it is related to you, share it. Search for guests comments, photos and videos through key words on all social media and share their content. If they are not finding you, find them.
4. Give guests a reason to go to your social media networks. Find apps that are useful for your guests and add them to your social media networks, find maps, find resources and add them to your pages. Your concierge services can be on your social media and guests can be referred to these sites to get the information. Be creative and give them a reason to go there.
If a guest does not find you on social media give them a reason to go to your social media. Educate your employees in using social media as contact options, sharing information, and finding resources. When guests see that you are using social media they want to be on your network.
North American travelers are easy to find and easy to retain if you know what they are looking for. Think about the information above and see what additional social media strategies you can employ to gain this market.
Read our lastest post on Me vs We so you do not make a typical social media posting mistake
If you have been following my latest journey, I have just finished climbing Mount Kilimanjaro at the end of September. This was a fundraising effort to raise money for women in small business in Africa and a personal bucket list item of mine. I reached 17,500 ft on the mountain and due to altitude sickness, I turned around and came back down the hill. Hurray for me for making it to 17,500 ft, hurray for me for planning another summit in 2013.
This set out to be a personal journey with some R& R time thrown in at the end of my climb in Zanzibar. The beginning of the trip was business, meeting with local DMO’s and talking about social media marketing, social media marketing for tourism businesses and how I could most effectively help as many businesses as I could in such a short time span.
When the climb was done and I was drinking a g&t on the beaches of Zanibar reflecting on my Kili climb, it dawned on me, I think I know how to make the summit in 2013.
The devil is in the details
I am a very detailed person and when it comes to my business, details for me is what makes it all work. When planning for my climb, I checked everything off my list, double checked it, did my research and felt that I had it all together. When talking to my team about altitude sickness, I was informed that there was a pill on the market that I could take. Easy, purchased done. Well, the quick fix did not work for me. THe magic little pill did not solve the problem pronto like I thought it would. I thought that the magic pill could let me not worry about this part of my climb.
There are no magic pills. And there are no magic pills for social media. Lots of companies say they have a magic pill to make your posting easier, your fan base get larger, to increase you followers to make social media easy. The only way to make anything work is to do the work slowly, with strategy, take a break if it looks like something is not as it should be, and regroup when you need to. My group was stellar in taking me through this exact process when the magic little pill did not work. We walked slowly, we too breaks, we communicated as to how things were going, we descended to make me acclimate. YOur social media plan needs the same care and attention as my altitude sickness needed.
If you dont reach your goal, go at it again
I did not reach my goal, I did not reach the summit. Do you see me backing away from Kili? Hell no! I will work on my ability to acclimate better, I will research how to train for acclimation, I will test my acclimation through out the year, climbing to different heights and getting my body used to higher altitudes. I won’t give up and say that Kili is a dumb goal, i will just approach it differently and get to that summit.
If you don’t reach a social media goal, tackle it a different way. I hear over and over again, Social media is BS, it does not do what it says it should do. No, maybe your strategies are not getting you to your goal. My magic little pill did not get me there, so I will find another way. If you don’t get the amount of fans or followers you want, or the engagement you think you should have, tackle it another way. Social media works, you just need the right strategies to make it work for you.
Talk to those who know and can point you in the right direction
I have never climbed a mountain before. I have never climbed to 17,500 ft. I don’t know the climate as you ascend up Kili, I have not bought a sleeping bag for over 30 years. I have not bought cold weather clothing for over 35 years. I was out of my league and I knew it. So I talked to the experts. I checked with a few people who have climbed Kili many times and discussed gear, clothing, food and all the tools I needed to make my climb. What my list was and what the list actually turned out to be are two different things. The brands that I thought I wanted, were not the brands I needed. Man I am indebted to those who provided me with their expertise and their experience. I am so happy I understand my body and my reactions to cold and warm weather. I am glad I asked and even happier that I listened.
I got way more out of my Kili climb than I though imaginable
My Kili climb and what I learned continues to parallel my business and my personal life. This experience has also helped me look at business issues differently, personal hurdles differently and most of all, it confirmed a lot of things that I thought I knew. Now I feel I really do know something, and those reminders are right in my face each and every day.
Don’t give up.
There are no quick fixes or short cuts.
Talk to the experts.
Want to join me?
There are a few things that we all know people enjoy, vacations, food, friends and family. When you look at what people are talking about the most online these days, food is the number one topic, whether it be cooking your own food, eating the right food, experiencing food or just getting excited about food photos.
So how does lunch tie in to social media? Other than we need to have lunch, and it is great that we are advocating for a lunch break, lunch could be your ticket to higher engagement, more fans, more followers and more bookings for your business.
Lunch = social media crunch
In our previous post about ME verses WE, the topic was focusing on the WE when posting and not making it all about ME. The second connection is lunch, yup lunch. Your lunch and what you eat for lunch, sharing that information and how it reflects who you are and what you do could actually get you more engagement. Huh??
Directly selling on social media is a no-no and if you chose to sell directly making your posts all about ME then you will not have the conversations, likes, follows or engagement that you think you deserve. If you share things that are about your destination, about your favorite things in the area that you do business in and share what you are having for lunch, you will start to get better engagement.
How lunch can re-launch your social media strategy
Lets say that your tourism business is located in Costa Rica. You have a hotel and you want to engage with more fans and followers. taking this advise, you go to your favorite local hang out for lunch, take a photo and share the details. Your photo could look like this:
And your post could say ‘Enjoying a break from the computer and having lunch @ XXX restaurant in Costa Rica. Loving the plantains today with the fresh salsas. The banana leaf as a plate makes it all that more homey.”
This post has nothing to do with upcoming hotel specials, room photos, entrance photos, and this restaurant is not around the corner from this person’s place of work. But the comments they will receive from their fans will be three fold. Really. Food is an exciting endeavor for many people and when you introduce a lunch that for many is not the norm, they will sit up and listen.
Lunch, brunch, your morning walk, your drive to work it all works.
We forget that where we live is not where everyone lives, that is why there is a tourism industry that you have tapped into, no matter where you are. Your routine is the norm for you, but not the norm for others. As you post interesting food, destination or regular daily dealings on your social networks, people will see you are out and about, can start to trust in you and your destination, and your level of authority as an expert in your destination will grow. All of these qualities trust, being an expert, knowledge of the area, knowledge of the culture will have people pay attention, read your posts, comment on your posts, think about your destination and then finally, book a trip and book with you the resident expert that the fan or follower trusts.
Unrelated valuable content is what you should be looking for
The list of unrelated valuable content is long, think flight deals to your destination, think restaurant reviews, think local markets, think fashion. Doing it all will not make you an expert but this strategy will.
1. Know your market. Know what your market is interested in. Are they travelers or vacationers. Are they young or older travelers. Is your market families or is it single guests. Find this out first before you zone in on your niche.
2. Once you know your market find out what interests them the most. If it is sustainable tourism, post about sustainability in on area. Sustainable architecture, sustainable food sources, sustainable tours, every day sustainable living ideas. If your market likes food find our if it is local food, or chef inspired foodies, are they followers of a food type. Find out and post.
3. None of this will be related to your business directly, all of this is about the destination, the area, the country or the neighborhood. You are showing unique highlights of the area that people could visit. Show them what you had for lunch, really.
Authority first, engagement second
Becoming an authority takes some time and requires that you focus on the above strategy. Once you find the area of interest, your social media marketing audience will grow and you will gain authority status. with authority comes engagement, with engagement comes commitment. With commitment comes bookings…….and so on and so on.
Lunch is your ticket to social media success
Posting rich content is not determined by you but determined by your market. Once you know what rich content is for your market, they will come.
Rich content + authority + engagement = bookings.
Simple, really and this whole time your rich content has been right in front of you, your lunch.
Social media is a confusing platform for many tourism businesses that are new to marketing and new to technical online programs. Most of you have taken the plunge and we take our hats off to you. In fact, we are on our feet applauding as this is still new to many of tourism businesses and they are doing a great job at keeping thier guests and customers informed.
The ME or WE discussion
On a typical day, we recieve many emails from tourism businesses around the world asking for a review of their social media sites and feedback as to what we think they are doing right and where they can improve. After doing this for a few years now, we find that there is a ME, and WE issue that many tourism businesses are confused about. The voice on their social media sites and networks leans more towards the ME when it should lean more towards the WE. This difference when you shift your online voice from ME to WE is astounding and fans, followers and likes seem to shift when you make the shift from ME to WE.
When to use the ME in social media
Personal branding is all the rage now that people have the opportunity to build their own brand through their personal profiles on social media networks. Hey, that is what I do, for my personal brand, but it is not what I do for my businesses.
The ME in social media is appropriate when you want to build your personal brand. This applies to speakers, writers, consultants, bloggers, one man bands and anyone hoping to build their personal brand that represents their work or thier skill. Social networks are valuable when you are applying for jobs and when you are selling yourself and your skills. The ME approach is perfect for this but is not perfect for a tourism business that employs many ME’s.
When to use WE in social media
The WE is a very different voice where you build a community, get people involved with your brand and create brand ambassadors for your tourism business, destination or travel tours. The WE voice is when you share, care and nurture relationships through your online social networks. When you are a WE, people want to be a part of you. When you are a ME as a business, not a personal brand, then people feel that you are just talking AT them, not engaging with them.
The best way to create your WE voice
Ask a question, look for opinions, comment on others people posts, like other businesses and engage on your sites. Be helpful, nice and kind. Look for opportunities to share your knowledge and expertise. Don’t sell. As soon as you sell, you turn from WE to ME, unless you are very, very clever. To be safe, stick with the no sell rule and stay in the WE.
Focus on your destination and neighbors, focus on things happening around you, not things happening to you. use your search options on any of the social networks and find out who you can help. If you are helping and being thoughtful, providing information and resolving issues, you are in the WE. If your information resolves a problem before any one even knows they could have one, even better. You have become the best WE on social media.
The dangers of ME in travel and tourism marketing
If you own a company that supplies tourism and travel services your number one priority is to build your brand, not you as an owner but your brand. If at any t ime you want to take a break, sell your business or pass more responsibility to your staff, people will always recognize the brand no matter who is behind the wheel, the counter or on the other end of the phone. If you build a ME then you are the brand and your abscence will hurt your revenues.
If people see your brand as ME, they will distrust your ability to listen to their needs, deliver services that they would like to have or provide a vacation that is catered to them. The ME can drive people from your brand, the WE draws people to your brand.
Travel and tourism is about THEM, the guest, the visitor, the passerby, the client, the traveler. what we do as travel and tourism businesses is deliver services for visitors, it is all about THEM, it has nothing to do with US. Travel and tourism businesses are selling a destination first and an experience second, an experience for THEM, not ME.
Travel and Tourism is all about WE
Think about your last vacation. Who was it about, was it about the people providing the service or was it about your experience as a guest. It was about the WE; how people made you feel when you stayed with them, played with them or toured with them. It was about how you felt about your experience and the best experience was when you felt connected as WE not when a business decided to make things convenient for their schedule, a mistake that makes it all about ME. DMO’s are all about WE, destinations can only be about WE. There are no ME destinations, anywhere.
The guest is the ME, the business is the WE
Review your social media networks and see if you can see the WE in your voice or if you have leaned to the side of ME. Be honest with yourself as this is the difference between a good social media campaign for a tourism business verses an okay or failing social media campaign in travel marketing.
These are some pretty cool and informative infographics from a company in the UK/England that shows two interesting points. How do travelers use social media and how should travel companies use their social media program to respond to this. It is hard to get travelers to use social media how you want them to, but you can change your social media program to respond to their ways.
How travelers use social media – amazing travel marketing insights
Be a square peg that fits into a square hole – mirror travelers use of social media
Many of us are being a round peg trying to fit into a square hole when it comes to social media for our tourism business. The information above will show you how travelers are using social media so match it! Find a way to use this information to make sure your social media strategy is fitting how travelers use their social media networks.
The same company in England that built this infographic also has a great pictorial explanation of the social media journey that a travel company should be going through, the pre-travel information, during travel information and post-travel experience that travel businesses should pay attention to. Check your strategies to see if you are targeting and planning for each stage of a persons vacation.
What has been your experience with travelers and vacationers on social media? Are you a round peg or a square peg?