One thing people like to brag about are their holidays. They like to tell people they’ve pushed themselves to the limit to climb Machu Picchu, they’ve conquered their fear of heights by skydiving in Australia or they’ve got their adrenalin pumping by zip-lining their way through the Alps.Thanks to social media, they don’t need to wait until they return from the trip to brag about it. Once they’re connected to the internet they can talk about it there and then. This is why you should integrate social media into your tours and activities. Here are 10 ways to do so…
1. Have your own hashtag
Every business should have their own hashtag. Whether it’s a restaurant, design agency or financial institution, you should be able to track every conversation that takes place on line about what your business does.
When you’re operating your tour or activity and you’re giving your intro, some housekeeping and other bits of vital information, give them a hashtag. Finish off your welcome with ‘…and finally, if anybody will be tweeting, Instagramming or anything else during the tour, please use our hashtag #myhashtag.
In terms of what hashtag to use, here are a few tips: first of all, keep it as short as possible. Tweets can only have 140 characters so you want people to have enough room to talk about what they’re doing. Try to make it relevant – don’t have anything too cryptic. If you can, make it conversational. Finally, try to make sure nobody else is using it for reporting/tracking purposes. Here are more ways to give your Twitter marketing a boost.
2. Share content live from your tours
One question many business and brands ask themselves have when it comes to social media is ‘What will I share?’ This is a challenge tour and activity companies don’t face – the images, tips and updates are staring them in the face on a daily basis…they just need to remember to share them. When your guides are on tour make sure they’re sharing content and make sure they’re using that hashtag I just spoke about.
3. Ask customers for their Twitter handles (usernames)
To get your content shared by others you need to grab their attention. There are different ways to make this happen. One is by having extremely engaging content. Another is by tagging relevant users in tweets. When you’re on your tour, ask your customers if they’re on Twitter, then ask them for their Twitter handles. After that, have some fun! Take selfies strategically with only those that are on Twitter and tag them in the tweet with the picture, thus encouraging as many retweets as possible. Take photos of the users in front of landmarks and tweet them...there’s lots you can do.
4. Encourage them to use your Twitter handle
As well as ask your customers for their Twitter handle, tell them what your company’s is. This will increase the chances of others tagging the handle in tweets, thus increasing the chance of reaching a wider audience.
5. Offer prizes for the most creative tweet / photo
Just because you tell people to use your hashtag in tweets or Instagram photos doesn’t mean they’ll actually share content. Sometimes you need to incentivize people. A way to do this is by offering prizes for the most creative or funniest tweets or Instagram photo. To track the content make sure people are using your hashtag.
6. Feed content on to your site on a ‘live blog’
With the help of a bit of techy work on your website and the constant stream of content on your website hashtag, you can have new content constantly fed on to your website by way of a ‘live blog’. This way there’s constant relevant, up to date content on your website.
A good example of a website doing this is TravelMassive.com. Scroll down the homepage and you’ll see a constant stream of tweets using the #travelmassive hashtag. Another is travel blog Travmonkey.com which has live blogs from different trips, like this one from Cape Town.
7. Curate content created on all your social channels
There are so many social networks these days that it’s tough being active on all of them. By having your own hashtag and encouraging others to share content for you (kind of), there’s a constant stream of content for your company. This in turn means there’s non-stop content available for your social channels. You could have a Facebook photo album of in-house photos, others of photos created by others, or Pinterest boards using images shared using your hashtag.
8. Do a live Google Hangout from the tour
You may have heard the statistic before that YouTube is the second biggest search engine on the internet. With this in mind, having a presence there is very important. Creating videos can be slightly arduous though – loading different shots into video editing software and creating a video takes time. But using Google Hangouts, an app that is available for iOS and Android, you can create short, live Google Hangouts from the tours, meaning your YouTube channel has constant content. Afterwards you can tailor the content specifically for SEO (search engine optimisation).
9. Create a video from customer footage
Have you ever heard a movie called ‘Awesome! I F*@kin’ Shot That’ by the Beastie Boys? It’s an entire movie created from footage shot by fans who attended their concerts. Now, I’m not suggesting you create a movie from customer footage, but you might find enough footage on YouTube, Instagram and Vine to create a short promo.
10. Provide your customers with a camera
A lot of the tips I’m providing are dependant on UGC – User Generated Content. To generate UGC your customers need to have a good camera with them. But maybe they won’t. To make sure you don’t encounter this problem provide them with a camera that will take good photos / shoot HD videos.
Do you integrate social media into your tour or activity? If not yet, get started with the help of our ebook:
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Published 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.