The saying goes – a photo is worth a thousand words – and in 2012 this could not be more true than ever! Travel businesses and tourism businesses could sell their wares through photos only if you position it right. If you are not a big writer, deal guests who speak multiple languages, or just don’t feel that you can put fingers to key board in the best possible way, photos are your new content that when done well, can bring you as much exposure, engagement and business as words can.
Top social media sites for photo sharing and digital marketing
Facebook is a wonderful way to share photos, post photos, create albums and promote photos. Most of you are literate in Facebook so this is a great place to start.
Pinterest is the fastest growing social media network in 2012 and is focused on photo sharing. Pinterest requires a bit of creativity, is not a marketing platform per se but with some thought and creative strategy, Pinterest will put your tourism business out there.You will not see Pinteset ad options, or promote options yet. Pinterest is photo sharing without a marketing message but if you share the right photo that is your marketing message.
Flickr is still around and continues to add more features so your can share your photos easily, share in other people’s common interest in your destination and join groups who have similar interests. The updates are fun and when you review Flickr again you may see more and more lead generation opportunities pop up.
Loveit is new and be assured that digital marketers will find a way to promote travel photos and tourism ideas on this social media network. Loveit lets you import all of your photos into one place and share them publicly or privately. For your tourism business you want all of it to be public but if you want to create a VIP area for repeat guests or special guests that is attached to loyalty program, you can do that here.
GoGobot is a new social media network that has integrated booking engines so travelers can book their holidays while they review their friends recommendations. It lets you add information from Twitter and Facebook, gathers all of your friends travel photos and recommendations AND adds the final key piece, book what your friends recommend on GoGobot. You do not have to go externally to another online site to book your reservations or hotel stay. Travelers do this all in one place. Photos are the main sharing tool but there is a call to action, reserve, which is not on the other social media sites.
Pick the best place for your photos and find new guests
Travel and fashion are the two hottest Internet and mobile search and purchasing activities. Photos are the perfect way to showcase both of these favored things. None of us can participate on all of the social media networks and if you can, then your business is a lot bigger than our target market for this information. As a small business owner in the travel and tourism industry every social media decision that you make needs to be strategic to account for budgets, staffing, your time and your knowledge. Finding the best place to use photos as a time saver on any of these sites is a strategic and planned out decision.Pick the right photo sharing option and go for it.
Photo sharing strategy for social networks
This is a quick overview of what you think about for your photo sharing social media strategy:
1. Which photo sharing option is best for your business and client base
2. Which photo sharing social network integrates with other social networks
3. Which photo sharing social network enables your guests and clients to participate in sharing their photos
4. How big is your photo inventory and how can you make it larger before you start – hire someone, take the photos yourself, appoint staff
5. Who will post and how often will they post
6. What are you hoping to gain from this and what marketing goal will you be satisfying
7. How will you continue to get photos and increase your inventory
Photo sharing is not blatant marketing for a tourism business, it is about sharing
Photo sharing is called photo sharing for a reason. All of these social media sites are not about sharing marketing media in jpeg format to people. You will be ignored if you take an ad for your tourism business and put it up on any of these social media sites, or publish a poster and make it be a photo. Photos are about sharing destinations, experiences, travel sites and give people a heads up as to what to expect through a pictorial story. A media message is in most cases not allowed. Creativity is what makes your business stand out on these social media platforms, how you categorize your photos, how you share the story. That is what will get people interested in what you do. Anyone can slap a marketing message on a photo, it has been done for years (it is called advertising) but sharing images and having people look deeper into who you are and be interested….now that is a guest for life!