Why is it important to have social media for your business? The short answer is because Australian’s have always been big adopters of social media with 8 out of 10 people having a social media account, a number that is growing year on year. That’s a lot of people we can reach and tell our story and highlight our brand. Social media is used across all demographics, especially in a COVID world where digital communication and connection has been paramount. You customers are on social media, the key thing is knowing what channels they prefer and how to best capture their attention.
So what does social media do? Social media is at its heart a place to connect in a two-way conversation. These channels allow connection, expression, relationships to develop between you and your customers and brand, and are a showcase for what you do and your values, and are important when linked to your website to boost your SEO and ranking.
In Australia, 91% of Australians have a Facebook profile, YouTube has 53% of usership, driven by video consumption, Instagram has 39% and continuing to increase, 22% have LinkedIn, Twitter has 19% Pinterest 22% and Snapchat 23%. For tourism businesses, the most used channels are Facebook Pages, Instagram. There is a growing use of Pinterest especially for the planning phase of holidays. If your customer base are largely corporate, you can also consider LinkedIn, which is also great for peer-to-peer networking as business owners and operators.
Let’s break these stats down a little more. Facebook is the predominant platform used in Tasmania, is where the majority of people are visiting and scrolling. A Facebook page is a must have for your tourism business. As Facebook is more and more oriented to business customers, you can use your Page to do a lot of things including sales, bookings, live videos, Q and A’s, run polls and generally create a dynamic community.
Due to the visual nature of tourism, Instagram is unsurprisingly popular too, and a place where you can showcase some of the gorgeous visual elements of your brand to tell your businesses story. Women are higher users of Instagram, and often the planners and purchasers for holidays and short stays, so it is important to capture that part of the market. With Facebook as its parent company, Instagram has many similar features such as Stories and is becoming increasingly transactional. Using both channels you can do some cross-posting but remember there is often a different vibe and demographic across the channel so it is worth tailoring your content to your users.
Another platform that has been somewhat of a quiet achiever in tourism is Pinterest. As mentioned before, the planning element is key for Pinterest where users pin their dream holidays, building excitement and cementing go to places and brands for future purchases. You want your business to be pinned, so make sure you have a business account and lots of compelling imagery for people to pin.
Once you’ve identified your key channels, it’s time to make and plan your content for those channels. Look around the Digital Ready site for lots of information to help you get inspired about the content that works. You can search on keywords such as Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook to help you deep dive into some of the features of those channels. You can also click on the links throughout this summary to take you directly there.
There are a few tips and techniques that will help you to get strong engagement on your posts. One of the key ones is timing – when are you customers most likely to be checking their feeds? Try out days and times to see what gets the most engagement, as well as regular themes in your content planning. Users like consistency and fresh material, so make sure you post regularly. As more people work from home, there is more opportunity to have a quick check of social media, so very specific times are less relevant than they used to be.
You might want to post on social media every day, but that doesn’t mean you have to be physically posting daily. Using a scheduling tool and getting a week’s worth of content together saves time. For fresh news or updates you can post these as and when they happen. There are a number of third party scheduling tools, as well as Facebook’s own tool that schedules to Facebook and Instagram.
Social media like Facebook also offers events, which are easily shared and shown in feeds – even to people that aren’t connected with your page. Using Facebook for events means that you can get wide exposure and also integrate your ticketing in the feed.
Some quick content tips to make your posts stand out include using faces in your post which always get a higher engagement – we love human engagement. Using emoji connects us and draws us in, using a single colour and negative space is kinder to the eyes and tagging a location gives a 79% higher engagement rate.
What about hashtags? Good question and a frequent one to the Digital Ready coaches. Hashtags are still predominantly used on Instagram and increasingly on Facebook. 9-11 hashtags are ideal, you can use trending hashtags or create your own. Make sure you have one hashtag that relates to your business name, and your location. Consider using Tasmanian tourism centric hashtags that relate to you and your business.
Let’s have a look at some free tools that will help you create great content. One of the best freemium tools for creating content is Canva, it’s easy to use and designed to help you make quality graphic design without any design skills. If you are looking for free images, Unsplash is a free portal for photographers to share their work that is easily searchable, with some Tasmanian content. If you are looking for more Tassie specific images, sign up for the Tourism Visual Library. Pic Monkey is a free collage maker tool for bringing together lots of images in a collage, perfect for showcasing events. If you want to make short videos, you can use Biteable, created in Tasmania now with a global audience that allows you to make fun video content.
Social media is constantly growing and evolving, you don’t have to be an expert, just dive in and begin and build your following along with your skills. Of course, your Digital Ready coaches are here to help too, so book a session and start creating a social feed any influencer would be envious of.