Social Media Marketing For The Travel Industry
Strategy Tips for Smoother Sailing
After some noticeable turbulence over the past couple of years, the travel industry is now flying high once again, and I don’t need to tell you you’re swimming in a vast ocean of opportunity…and also competition.
Social media marketing for the travel industry has never been more abundant and therefore, vital to get right. Having a rock-solid social media and content strategy is like a healthy coral reef for your business, which will continue to buoy you up as the number of social media users booms to almost six billion in the next 5 years (thanks to Statista for these staggering numbers).
It’s time to suit up and dive in, as I give you 6 tips to help create the foundations of a strong social media strategy that is effective and sustainable - the shellrific news is that you don’t even need to be a social media whizz to become a total jetsetter at this!
Tip 1: Choose & Prioritise Your Platforms
In order to really make a splash in your social media marketing for the travel industry, you first need to stop swimming against the tide trying to show up where you think you ‘should’. There is an abundance of platforms out there on the high seas of social media right now, but luckily for you, I have a tried-and-tested method to help you narrow down exactly which ones will work for your business. The travel industry is big but it’s also hugely varied, and your niche area needs to be marketed accordingly!
I always recommend you market across no more than 3 platforms to ensure you don’t end up in deep waters without a life jacket; you want managing social media to be sustainable and stress-free. I developed my R.E.E.F strategy to help you achieve just that. R.E.E.F is a 4-step tool that acts like a step-by-step checklist, helping you navigate the right platforms that fit your business and your preferred way of working. You can explore the depths of my R.E.E.F strategy here.
Tip 2: Understand Who Your Audience Is
Knowing who your audience is, is a vital part of social media marketing, no matter your industry. In the travel industry though, it’s key that you turtley understand who you’re targeting before you start creating content. Your Instagram captions will be entirely different if you’re selling cruises to over 50s, as opposed to group tours in Europe to solo female travellers…so just how do we do this?
In a coconut shell, here are 5 pointers for understanding your audience:
If you have statistics and insights from past social media efforts, look back on them and focus on what they tell you about your followers and audience. Make notes of key information such as their age, gender, location and when they are online
Use this information like the wind for your sails, inferring what sort of content your audience might like to see. For example, if your audience are mainly aged 18-24 it’s likely that short, snappy, entertaining content such as shareable Reels will go down a treat (check out 10 ideas for Reels that don’t involve showing your face!)
Find out what sort of topics, hashtags and accounts these people follow
Think about what their interests would be; if they’re into sustainable living, chances are they’re into sustainable tourism and nature too
Nurture your audience, virtually befriending them - if they comment on your posts, take the time to respond. If they share your content, extend a thank you. This will keep them swimming in the vicinity of your island.
This process can take a little time to establish, but once you get comfortable looking deeper into who your audience is you’ll get better at creating content that they’ll soak up like a sunny day!
Tip 3: Create Content Pillars
‘Content pillars’ sounds like just another one of those jargon terms echoing around the seven seas, I know, but when it comes to your social media marketing for the travel industry, they might just come in handy!
Essentially, content pillars are just a series of umbrella topics that you’ll cycle through when creating your content - you can read all about what this looks like, how to develop yours and how often you should change them up HERE.
The beauty of content pillars is that you always have something to post about, and they act as prompts to inspire you when you’re running out of steam. Your content ideas will always be on brand, on-trend and bang-on for your business if you develop them well - X marks the spot for a consistent, compelling content plan! Choosing around 3-6 content pillars is ideal. Here’s a little example of how this could look:
Imagine you’re a travel company selling Kenyan Safaris and your target audience is honeymooning couples. Your content pillars could be:
The animals you might see on safari
The gorgeous, romantic accommodation or setting
Practical tips and info for first-time safari-goers
Keep it simple, Islanders #knowwhatimean
Tip 4: Let Your Brand Tone of Voice Be Heard
We live in an age where consumers are looking more and more for transparency and relatability. Your audience wants to know who they are buying from and what the ethos and values of your business are! Whilst you don’t have to be explicit with these, it’s important to communicate them through your tone of voice and the way you write.
Some businesses may adopt a more formal, serious and grown-up tone, whilst others keep it playful and conversational - it depends on how you want to be perceived by your audience, and what kind of island vibes you want to give off. Here are a few tips from Grammarly to help you make a splash with your brand’s tone of voice.
Think also about whether you want to be using the words ‘we’/’us’ or the words ‘I’/’me’. This will probably depend on whether you’re a faceless business or agency or an independent venture, and changing these up affects how your audience resonates with you.
Tip 5: Share & Collaborate
Collaboration and connection are a sweet sea breeze on a hot day, particularly when it comes to Instagram. Collaborating with partners such as airlines, hotels, transport companies and excursion providers essentially combines your audiences and doubles your reach! Pretty sweet, no?
Think about the sorts of companies you know and have a good relationship with who might be willing to do a social media collaboration, and start small by sharing their content to your stories and mentioning them (tell them why you love their content). You can even reshare their posts to your feed, but exercise caution - always ask for permission and credit appropriately, because as much as it’s a huge compliment it can also be viewed negatively.
In a coconut shell, collaborating with and sharing the work of other companies that are complementary but not competitive for your business can help open up new areas of the map for you - there’s a whole ocean of users waiting to discover your business!
Tip 6: Monitor & Duplicate
Last but not least, my final tip for your social media marketing for the travel industry is to monitor, monitor, monitor! Keep an eye on how your content is performing - are your Reels doing really well, or do your audience seem to prefer save-able carousel posts? Keep it simple and embrace creating more of the kind of content that makes the biggest splash…then get ready to see your audience and engagement soar.
It’s almost time to land this plane, so I’ll leave you with some final reminders...
Always keep in mind that a lot of social media strategy is trial and error if you enter into it with no data or insights - if you’re currently in a position where you have little to work from, accept that it’s going to take a bit of time to navigate these choppy waters!
Remember also that once you start to build up those stats, it’ll be much plainer sailing - patience, my friends, patience, and as long as you learn from what works and produce more of the good stuff, it can only get better for your travel industry brand.
If you’re a travel or tourism company feeling all at sea with your social media strategy and you’d like some more support, you can book a free call with me and together we can take you from adrift to afloat in no time…this is your Captain speaking, we have now reached our destination and it’s a balmy perfect degree Celsius. Happy strategising!