A strong travel social media presence is an invaluable tool for your travel brand. It’s believed that social media has the most significant influence on people’s holiday choices, with 75 per cent of travellers claiming that they have been persuaded to travel to a specific destination by social media.
It has even greater sway than television, news media, friends, and family. The social media impact on the travel industry is unlikely any other, so if you’re not involved, you could be missing out.
With that in mind, here are our top tips for creating a solid social media strategy.
1- Define your buyer personas.
To create a successful social media strategy, you need to understand who you are talking to. For this, you want to create a fictional representation of your business’s typical customer, including a name, demographic information, preferences and pain points. This buyer persona helps you speak directly to your audience with a consistent voice.
Creating a buyer persona means diving into the details; there are many ways to do this. You can look for behaviour trends in communication campaigns, use website forms to gather information, or get information through your sales teams and interviews with customers and prospects.
Overall, an effective buyer persona should help your company to visualise the issues that customers might experience, understand customer motivations, craft messages and define the target audience for its products and services.
You might consider creating multiple buyer personas to cover different products and services and then use a different tone of voice for each one.
2- Create a unique brand personality
The travel sector is a famously competitive industry, with an immense number of brands clamouring for attention. Defining a unique brand personality helps you cut through the noise and highlight what you have to offer.
To build your brand personality, you need to identify your core values, which will be the basis for your brand tone. Consider your target audience, what they believe in and look for in a brand. Once this part is defined, you should write down the definition of your brand personality, as this can be very useful when creating the brand style guide.
Cultivating a distinct brand personality will make your company more memorable and unique. With a strong brand personality, you’ll be quicker to form emotional connections with your customers, increasing brand awareness and loyalty.
3- Find the right social media channels
Identifying the most relevant social media channels helps you be consistent in your messaging. Find out where your customers and prospects spend most of their time, and then meet them there.
Each platform targets different demographics, so make sure to analyse each one and adapt your content accordingly. For this, it’s essential to consider your audience. Who are you trying to target, and which platform do they most frequently use?
For example, if you target a B2B audience, you should be more present on LinkedIn. If you’re looking at a younger audience, you might find more success on TikTok or Instagram. You could even opt for a presence across several social media channels; each adapted to target a different buyer persona.
4- Join social media groups
Social selling requires time and effort but can generate more meaningful sales leads. It means directly engaging with your audience, and involves taking a softer approach.
You can find closed industry groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, where you can share useful information and see what your competitors are talking about. Remember that most groups are not intended to be commercial, so remember to add value through top-quality content and avoid aggressive sales techniques.
Hashtags can also help you target specific groups with distinctive travel tastes. On Instagram, hashtags are used to label and categorise content, making it easier to find. The same goes for Pinterest. Simply place a hashtag at the end of the content to help users find your content.
5- Define the social media content formats for each channel
Tweak your content formats depending on the social media channel you’re using. For example, Instagram is primarily about image-based content and attracts a much younger audience.
Instagram has also recently experienced a trend towards Reels, 15-second videos popularised by TikTok, another social media channel aimed at the younger generations. Highly image-based and inspirational, travel companies such as Booking.com and Expedia use Reels to promote their destinations, services and products.
Another great video-based channel is YouTube. This platform is perfect for longer-format videos or webinars that you have organised and recorded for prospects.
On LinkedIn, you’re more likely to publish newsworthy, text-based content such as blogs, e-books, thought leadership articles, and employer branding, which markets your business’s employee value proposition. Twitter has text-based content at its core too, but it requires a shorter format, which implies more impactful writing.
6- Create a social media calendar for your posts
Publishing content is important for your SEO strategy, and social media platforms provide the perfect channel to share it. And even though it does not affect your SERP ranking, linking to content can indirectly increase search visibility and organic search. Creating a calendar also helps your brand establish consistency, keeping your audience engaged and informed.
There are plenty of ways to build a social media content calendar. Google Sheets allows you to make easily shareable spreadsheets, or there is tailored software such as Hootsuite. You could also adapt the consistency of your posts depending on the social media platform you use.
For example, Instagram stories can be shared daily, or even multiple times per day. On the other hand, most travel brands on LinkedIn restrict their posts to once or twice per week.
7- Learn how to manage negative comments elegantly
When you combine social media and travel, there is always the risk that you will encounter a customer with a negative opinion of your brand. Whether they had a bad experience with your staff or disagree with your brand values, handling negative comments on social media is vital to growing your brand’s reputation.
It’s important to train staff to handle comments professionally. Client-facing employees must possess the emotional intelligence to handle interactions with customers, without the need for constant oversight.
Dealing with negative comments is about responding quickly and making the customer feel heard. You can acknowledge their experience without immediately taking accountability.
If possible, explore ways with the customer that their pain point can be addressed. Customers want to feel like their problems are taken seriously and leave an interaction feeling respected.
8- Appeal to the audience's emotions
By nature, travel is an emotionally driven experience for customers. Whether your brand is a hotel, airline, online agency, or travel marketplace, your job in social media will be about appealing to the audience's emotions and selling the experience. Building excitement about visiting a place is a core reason why so many people travel in the first place, and effective marketing can facilitate this.
There are many ways that you can excite and attract your audience, from creating enticing destination videos for Instagram and TikTok to YouTube videos with tips. Or, for a more corporate profile, you can share the latest useful travel trends and insights on LinkedIn or Twitter(X).
9- Craft authentic stories about your brand
Storytelling is one of the most effective methods a brand can employ to form connections with its customers. People are always swayed more by emotion than by appeals to logic and reason, or simple facts and figures.
Creating a brand story is a vital element of your branding strategy. Crafting a story that connects with your audience will generate lasting relationships with customers and prospects. It also builds trust and keeps your brand at the front of the audience’s minds.
There is a direct link between revenue generation and impactful content marketing. It’s estimated that by 2026, worldwide content marketing revenue will reach $107.5 billion. Companies with a strong story are more likely to stand out from the crowd and help build a fan base that will ultimately generate more profit.
10. Place people at the centre of your stories
We are living in the age of the brand story and selling experiences, where audiences have realised the power that they have in selecting brands. For their part, brands have shifted focus, with customer-centric businesses thriving. People want to support brands that share their beliefs and place the customer experience at the core of their activities.
You should consider how you can market your travel experience in a way that communicates how it helps improve people’s lives. Focus on the benefits of your brand rather than dispassionate features.
This approach involves gaining insight into customer behaviour by understanding their motivations for engaging with your brand and tapping into that. It’s important to know what you sell and why people are buying.
You’re not simply selling a room in a hotel with access to a swimming pool. You’re selling the idea of luxury and relaxation in tropical climes. You’re not selling a city break. You’re selling the buzz and excitement of staying in the heart of a city with boundless cosmopolitan charm-
11. Get others to talk about your brand
Influencer marketing is one of the top marketing tactics that brands in the travel industry use to promote their brand. Many airline, hotel or accommodation brands invite influencers to test the services and post about them on their channels.
You can collaborate with a travel influencer to create guest content, craft a video campaign or host a giveaway. Your brand will enjoy the benefits of tapping into the influencer’s wider social media network and all the positive outcomes of that extra visibility.
12. Analyse to improve your conversions
Understand the ‘why’ of social media marketing. Analysing data and gaining insights into various metrics will help you understand the impact of your social media output. You can then decide what works successfully and what doesn’t and act to improve conversions.
There are plenty of tools out there to support your social media analysis. Hootsuite Analytics collates performance data from a fantastic variety of social networks all in one easy, accessible place, allowing for cross-network comparison. Google Analytics is one of the best free tools available, with in-depth insights that can be adapted to social media metrics.
You might consider metrics such as new followers, unfollows, engagement, reach, mentions and more. You can deep-dive into the data of specific posts and learn so much about your brand’s social media approach, making continuing modifications as you go.
Social media and travel brands go hand-in-hand due to the emotional nature of travelling and the wide reach these channels can have. A good social media writing service can help you establish your brand and form emotional connections, a key motivation for people wanting to travel.
One of the biggest advantages of travel posts on social media is the power to combine images and text to inspire the audience. Travel content marketing has the potential to create a greater emotional impact than many other types of content marketing. There is so much potential for your brand to unlock.
Effective social media marketing for travel industry brands can have long-lasting benefits for your business, including higher conversions and lead generation, return on investment, increased visibility, and an enhanced reputation as an industry leader.
A brand with a strong social media strategy has the potential to create not only one-time customers, but frequently returning guests and travellers. That’s a level of loyalty that you can’t buy.
At Contese Agency, we’re experts at curating social media for travel industry clients. Combining our journalistic expertise, SEO data and wanderlust with the talent of our experienced designers, our tourism marketing services offer everything you need to succeed.
Want to grow your brand online visibility with travel social media posts? Contact us for help with your social content strategy.