There are many ways to get your tours to the masses. You can try offline marketing tactics like radio, print and flyers, or you can use online methods like having a website or using Google AdWords campaigns to get your name out there. Another way is by using social networks like Facebook and Twitter. If you’re wondering how to sell tours and activities using social media, here are 10 tips.
1. Be clear on your objectives
There’s no point using social media regularly if you haven’t got clear objectives. Sure, you’re obviously going to want to use it to sell more tours and activities to people around the world, but how? Are you simply looking for brand awareness? Or is it traffic you’re after? Or maybe you’re going to run special offers continuously? Whatever your objectives are, make sure they’re clear from the outset.
2. Choose the right channels
Every year there’s a new social network to master. 2014 has been the year of Snapchat, with more and more marketeers trying to master how to use it to market their product. Before that it was Vine and before that it was Pinterest. Next year it’s going to be some other channel (who’s got an Ello page yet?). But just because there are so many channels, you don’t necessarily need to be on all of them. See where your audience is, have a look at what resources you have and then start becoming active.
3. ...but have a page on every channel
Should you be active on every social network? The answer to that question is ‘no’. But should you exist on every social channel? The answer to that question is ‘yes’. Why? Because you want to make sure you own your brand name, also known as a ‘vanity URL’ on every channel possible. This way, even if you’re not active on them, you know nobody else with your name is either.
4. Have a content calendar - and stick to it
So many businesses begin promoting themselves via social media and then stop. Or if they do, they do so on an adhoc basis with a post here, a tweet there and the uploading of Instagram photos every now and again. By doing this you are wasting your time as you’ve no way of seeing if social media is working for you. The way to combat this is by having a content calendar…and sticking to it. This way you’ll have some consistency and you’ll see if your objectives are being met.
5. Have a Google+ account
You may have read that Google Plus (Google’s social network) is obsolete, but it isn’t. It isn’t because of one word – Google. If they have a social network, you need to be active there.
Use Google Plus differently to other social networks – think about keywords in your posts as this could help them rank in Google for certain, relevant search terms.
6. Experiment with advertising
The two social networks that offer self-serve advertising are the two main ones – Facebook and Twitter. Facebook’s advertising platform is available worldwide, while Twitter’s is a bit more limited – you can only advertise on Twitter if you’re based in Ireland, United Kingdom, USA, Canada, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, South Africa, Israel, Spain, France, Japan, Australia, Panama, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand and Singapore.
The good news is that the platforms are pretty user friendly and costs are low – you can have a campaign up and running for as little as USD$10 once you have a basic understanding of the internet, a relevant account and a credit card.
If you’re a newbie you’re going to have to experiment – growing your following organically will be a very, very slow process otherwise.
7. Use the free tools out there
The great thing about social media is the plethora of free tools out there, particularly when it comes to Twitter. The one free tool anybody using social media for marketing purposes should be using is Hootsuite where you can manage multiple social media accounts including Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus.
But there are many others such as Topsy Analytics (see volumes of tweets for certain words, hashtags), Iconosquare (free Instagram analytics tools) and Tweriod (tells you when you’re Twitter followers are online).
8. Have social media guidelines
It may be a one-page document; it may be a 20-page eBook. Whatever it is, make sure to have some social media guidelines in place. This can cover everything from whether updates are in first person or in third person, to whether or not you abbreviate words, to who deals with complaints. Have one in place and you’ll feel more confident when using these social channels.
9. See what your peers are doing
Something that everybody does in every industry is look to see what their peers, also known as competitors, are doing. What works well for them on Facebook? What hashtags are they using on Twitter? What do their customers engage with on Instagram? Take a look, take some notes and you’ll have a good idea of what will work for you.
10. Analyse your data
To see what’s working, and what’s not, you need to keep track of everything you’re doing. Does a picture of a tour guide work better than one without? Are your audience more engaged on weekends than midweek? What times of the day do your tweets get more retweets? Monitor statistics like this and then react to the data and you’ll start seeing more of a return from your social media efforts.
Follow these tips and you will find out how to sell tours using your social media channels.
Check out these resources to boost your social media marketing efforts:
- Building a social media strategy for your tour or activity company
- 10 tips on how to sell your tours and activities with Facebook
- 10 ways to use Twitter to sell tours and activities
- 7 steps to creating your first successful Facebook Ad campaign for tour operators
- 10 tips for using Instagram to sell more tours and activities
Hungry for more? Why not check out our ebook library and download your free resources today!
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.