Due to its algorithm, reaching your fan base on Facebook is notoriously difficult. Depending on what report you read, your updates only reach between 6% and 16% of your entire page likes. This is why so many businesses invest in Facebook advertising – to ensure the people they want to see their content actually see it.
A recent Facebook update is also making it more difficult than it has been before. On 29 June 2016, Facebook announced that the news feed would be focusing on showing the content of ‘profiles’ (people) over ‘pages’ (businesses).
But there are ways to beat the algorithm, drive more engagement and reach more people. Here are seven of them.
1. Use video
Of all the types of content that Facebook lets you share, the format with most reach is video. As videos play automatically in the feeds of most users, they stand out from other posts. But here’s an important tip – not many of the people who see your video will watch more than 10 seconds. With this in mind, make sure you get the most important information in the very beginning of the video.
One travel brand using video regularly and effectively is Fathom Travel, a cruise company with a focus on responsible travel. Their videos have a respectable number of views and they also capture all the best bits of their cruises in the footage.
2. Use Facebook Live video
While video will get you wide reach, Facebook Live video, the name given to their video-streaming facility, will gain you even more. This is where you stream video live from an event or a place or wherever you want to stream from.
The video is initially shared in real-time, with users being told your page ‘is live’. It is then continually shared over the following hours and days with users being told your page 'was live'. So while a video might only have less than 20 live viewers at time of broadcast, within a day of the video being shared, you should find that it ends up with well over 1,000 views, depending on the size of your fan base.
3. Post at the right time
Did you know that you can go into Facebook Insights and see when your fans are online?
Here’s how to find this data – click on ‘Insights’ when logged in as administrator of the page, select ‘Posts’, then click ‘When your fans are online’. This may well tell you that some time between 8pm and 10pm is the best time to share. To get even more accurate data, hover over each of the days (desktop) to see what is the optimum time to post something.
4. Partner with others
I’ve written before about how partnering with people in the industry can help grow your tour or activity business. If you do decide to team up with somebody else in the space, one of the ways you could help each other grow would be to cross-promote each other on Facebook. If their audience is bigger than yours, great. If not, you’ll still be reaching new people.
One of the easiest ways to build tourism partnerships and drive revenue is with the TrekkSoft Partner Network.
5. Send subliminal messages
Using words that suggest engagement can drive more engagement. So let’s say you were featuring one of the members of your team, you could say something like ‘Let’s hear it for Paul!’ which is just a discreet way of saying ‘Please ‘Like’ this post of one of the members of our team’. If you were posting a teaser for a contest, using copy like ‘Who wants to win a free trip?’ is suggesting something similar. Think about the text you’re posting and how you could tweak it to get those extra likes and subsequent reach.
You can see how I've done this with another client by using the words 'Let's hear it for them' as a more discreet way of asking somebody to like a post.
6. Share engaging imagery
It’s no secret that a good photo generates good engagement, but there’s no harm reiterating it, particularly since you’re in the travel industry.
Every day you and other members of your team are in locations that are going to take people’s breath away. Make sure they don’t have to wait to embark on a trip with you to enjoy it!
Also, remember that it doesn't have to be travel photography to drive the engagement. In this example from travel blog NomadicMatt.com, you can see how a simple shot of a bunch of boarding passes drove huge engagement - over 17,000 likes and 6,000 shares!
To get started, here are some of the best tips for creating a powerful visual content marketing strategy.
7. Ask questions
When it comes to driving engagement on Facebook, this tip is almost a cliché at this stage. However it really does work. If there’s one thing people love to talk about (on Facebook or otherwise), it’s travel. Since you’re in the travel game, ask questions! And I’m not talking about ‘What do you like most about our business?’ I’m talking more generic questions like ‘What’s your favourite memory in travel?’ or ‘What’s the top of your bucket list?’
Here’s another tip for asking questions: for best engagement, keep the question short and sweet by having a question that might only need a one-word answer. You’ve got more chance of generating engagement from ‘What’s your favourite city in the world?’ than ‘What’s your favourite city in the world and why?’ This is because the former doesn’t take that much brain power or time.
You'll regularly hear that the 'free ride is over' when it comes to marketing on Facebook, or that to see wide reach you have to put some spend behind advertising. This isn't always the case.
Concentrate on being innovative with your page by sharing video and focus on sharing engaging content and you'll continue to see lots of likes, shares, comments and reach.
Get more social media tips from Colm to help you exceed your marketing and sales goals in The Ultimate Social Media Guide
Written by Colm Hanratty
Colm is Founder and Managing Director of digital marketing agency Sixtwo Digital. After running Hostelworld.com’s content and social media for almost 11 years he felt it was time to branch out on his own, using all his experience to educate others in the travel space.