Social Media – how to engage, share and spread your message

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I like statistics (and am often surprised by them) so I’ve pulled together below some figures which I think are worthwhile looking at.

  • There are 44.9 million smartphone users in the UK in 2017
  • Of these 44.9 million, 13.9 million make no traditional voice calls each week
  • The top 3 websites in the world are no 1 google.com, no 2 YouTube and no 3 Facebook
  • There are 223 million facebook users in North America
  • There are 328 million facebook users in Europe
  • There are 559 million facebook users in Asia
  • Twitter has 319 million users worldwide, 17 million in the UK

So just looking at the figures above we can see the huge potential for social media as a vehicle for engagement, promotion and marketing. Using traditional vehicles, such as magazine advertising, how could any organisation (even the global corporations) consider and afford to reach 559 million users in Asia?

Research published in the Daily Mail a couple of years ago demonstrates just how dramatic the effect the internet has had on holiday research. Before the internet most people would look at a few brochures and hope that they had a good holiday. Nowadays an average of 30 hours is put into research before we decide on our holiday, with 4.5 hours spent on reading reviews of hotels etc, 4.5 hours researching accommodation deals and 4 hours spent researching attractions and activities. So if you are not on any of the social media platforms or OTA’s (on-line travel agent) you will not even register during this research process.

There are a number of social media platforms which should currently be seriously considered including face book, twitter, youtube and instagram. You Tube is popular for hosting videos and Instagram is ideal for storing photos with options to tag etc. Facebook and twitter are more fully explored below.

When setting up a facebook page it is a good idea to first of all consider who you would like to interact with. Initially it is advisable to like pages of the activities, events and attractions that your guests may be considering visiting. For example RRS Discovery, Dundee Rep, Glamis Castle to name but a few. By liking the page you will be able to discover what is happening under the pages feed section on your face book page and share any items of interest. It is important to encourage guests/influencers to like you page as the more likes you have the greater will be the reach of your posts and shares. One good way to do this is to run a promotion offering for example a night’s accommodation, a room upgrade or a complementary treat to the 100th person who likes and shares your post. Encourage all your guests to like and share your face book page as a matter of course, as active face book users can have hundreds of friends who can be tapped into.
Face book also provides insights into how your posts are actually performing allowing you to fine tune your page to achieve the highest reach and likes. In general photos are a must and videos gain more attention so make sure that you make the most of each of your posts. Linking in to celebrities, politicians etc also increases your reach.

When setting up followers and following others on Twitter it is critical to have a strategy in place e.g. an outdoor clothing company would want to follow other outdoor companies, outdoor pursuits, outdoor bloggers, outdoor professionals, outdoor enthusiasts etc. Twitter works best when 80% of the interactions are focused on driving retweets, replies and favourites. Rapport can be built through calls to action, signposting followers to website links and promotions for example.
A good idea is to set up a tweet calendar which focuses on the same type of thing each day of the week e.g. Mondays are for promotions, Tuesdays for behind the scenes information. By doing this your followers will learn to expect this type of interaction on certain days and will become much more loyal as a cadence of tweets is set in place.

Social media will not bring results overnight and needs to be continually worked at but as we continue to embrace the digital age it is crucial to have this form of presence.

As DAVAA, social media provides a number of benefits to us:

1 Allows us to communicate with the major tourism partners, local press, city councils etc. within Dundee and Angus on a regular basis, keeping our name up there and demonstrating just how active we are.

2 Provides us with a platform to attract new accommodation and associate members by demonstrating our active profile and in some ways making us look a larger organisation than we actually are.

3 Allows us to keep up to speed with what is going on in the area e.g. new developments and events coming to Dundee and Angus.

4 Provides a global reach to markets we may wish to target to encourage visitors e.g. by focusing on the tourism sector in Holland.