If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “Is it really worthwhile for me to invest my time and effort into building a social media following for my tourism destination?” you certainly wouldn’t be alone.
For a long time, especially when social media first started taking off, a lot of businesses wondered whether or not investing in social media would have any value to their business goals. Would it help you create meaningful relationships with potential customers and guests, or just be a fleeting trend?
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Well, today we definitely have an answer. There are currently more than 2 billion active social media users throughout the world, and that is expected to continue to grow by about 25% year over year for the immediate future. Social media isn’t going anywhere!
Building up a social media following for your tourism destination is a critical part of any modern inbound marketing strategy. If you aren’t using social, then you are missing out on potential guests to your business (and with them, money!). Here are all the reasons why social media is essential to an effective inbound marketing campaign for tourism destinations.
1. Everyone is doing it.
A whopping nine out of every 10 businesses in the United States already maintains an active social media presence as a part of their business strategy. Sounds kind of saturated, right? With so many businesses on social media already, how can you ever compete in such a crowded space? Maybe you should just give up and devote your time and effort elsewhere where you can get more traction.
If that sums up your thinking about social media, you’re wrong. Sure, social is a crowded space. And sure, it will take you time to build up your following and audience. But ignoring or avoiding social media all together is a bad idea.
Why? Well, again, because everyone is doing it. So many businesses are now on social media in some form or another that customers expect you to be on social. If you’re not, they’ll wonder why. frankly, they’ll either think that you aren’t with the times or that you don’t understand the modern consumer. And both of those are no bueno.
You don’t want your customers to think of this picture when they think of your business.
2. It’s where your customer’s spend their time.
Okay, so we’ve already established that your customers expect to find you on social media. Care to venture a guess as to why?
Because that’s where they spend their time!
Today’s modern consumer spends at least a portion of their time on social media each day. In addition to using social to catch up on the news and stay in touch with friends, they are also using it to research things that interest them, and that includes businesses or locations that they might want to visit.
As a business, you need to meet your customer where they are. In this case, that means meeting them on social media. Otherwise, you’re spending money and effort trying to reach them through traditional means (think, print and television ads, etc.) where they just aren’t spending their time. And all off that means wasted money.
Does this mean that you need to jump into every social media platform (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Spapchat, Pinterest, etc.)? No! Your ideal guest probably spends the bulk of their time on select social media channels. By understanding your guest persona, you will know which social media channels they spend the majority of their time on, which will let you be more targeted in your social media approach. It’s all about understanding your guest!
3. It’s a built-in content distribution system.
You already know that creating quality content is essential for inbound marketing success. It’s how your business’s website gets found through organic search, and how you can begin to convert random visitors into leads and eventually customer. But just creating content isn’t enough: You’ve also got to distribute it.
Yes, sending out a weekly newsletter will be a part of this, but a quality email list will take you quite a bit of time to build up, especially if you are starting from scratch. Building a social media following, on the other hand, is generally speaking much easier to do, meaning that right from the get-go you can begin attracting visitors from your website.
This is accomplished because of the unique “sharing” culture that social media breeds. You start by sharing your own content, and as soon as someone else sees it and shares it with their network, your reach instantly grows. This offers the potential for exponential growth of your audience, which just isn’t possible through other means of content distribution.
If you’re going to put the time in to create great content, you need to spend some time getting it in front of an audience. Social is probably the easiest and most cost-effective way to do this.
4. It can be used at every stage of the inbound methodology.
Social media isn’t just a great way to share your content. You can use it to improve your business at every stage of the funnel.
By sharing remarkable content across your social media channels, you are attracting visitors to your page (and website). But you can also convert these new visitors into leads and customers by offering opportunities for visitors to subscribe to receive a newsletter, updates, or some kind of special offer.
And, of course, by continuing to share great content you can delight your customers and regularly offer them opportunities to reengage with your business.
The Bottom Line
If you were waiting for a definitive answer to the social media question, here it is: Social isn’t going anywhere, and you need to embrace it. By avoiding it, you are leaving a powerful tool completely out of the equation.