As far as digital disruptions go, none can be compared to social media. From the power to transform a business to endless opportunities it continues to present business owners and marketers with – social media is indeed (and probably by far) the most cost-effective marketing tool.
All businesses, big or small, are now using social media as one of their primary marketing tools. And the reason is simple really. Almost all customers are on social media so it makes perfect sense to be where the customer is.
You see, social media has become part of our lives. People are increasingly spending a good chunk of their time on social media doing all sorts of things. From sharing cat videos to ranting over bad customer service, social media is pretty much where everything under the sun happens.
For example, it is projected that this year alone, Instagram users will spend 28 minutes on the platform per day.
According to a survey by Global Web Index, internet users are spending about two hours and 22 minutes on social networking sites and messaging platforms per day.
By the end of 2019, Facebook had attracted a whopping 45 billion monthly active users. This helped the social media giant generate over $17 billion over the same period.
Social Media Marketing: A Key Growth Driver
Every company, regardless of the industry, needs to grow so that it can stay in business. This means that your marketing needs to be on point. Your strategy also needs to take into consideration where your target market spends most of its time.
As a travel agency, most of your customers will constantly be on the various social media platforms, whether it’s researching the next vacation destination or sharing photos and videos of the recent places they visited.
This is the number one reason why your travel agency needs to have a solid social media marketing strategy from the get-go. This will not only ensure that you are up to date with what in your industry is trending but also take part in the conversation.
Social media marketing has enabled businesses to grow exponentially. Companies and brands are now more than ever using social media to drive their growth mainly due to the growing popularity of the various social platforms.
In terms of popularity and active usage, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram continue to dominate the social media scene.
According to Buffer, 73 percent of marketers believe that their social media efforts and strategies have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective”.
The bottom line is that social media marketing is paying off big time. This is the reason why marketers are spending more and more of their revenue on advertising through social media.
According to a CMO survey, social media marketing advertising budgets are on the rise from 32 percent in 2017 and are expected to double by 2023.
So, if you are in the travel space and you aren’t fully utilizing social media marketing, you are missing out on a golden opportunity to fast-track your growth.
Let’s get you started real quick, shall we?
14 Ways to Grow Your Travel Agency Business Using Social Media Marketing & Integration
You’ve seen the numbers and how other businesses are reaping the numerous benefits of social media marketing. Now, you are probably asking yourself how do I get started and what do I need to know?
In no particular order, here are some of the most effective ways to boost your travel agency through social media.
1. You must create an integrated social media strategy
Social media is fun but at the same time a bit complicated. It is not just about posting randomly taken photos or videos or even comments. It is a process that requires a solid plan for it to work as intended.
Just like any other business activity, social media needs a plan too. This can be in the form of an editorial calendar, which generally allows you to execute your strategy in a systematic manner.
There’s no guesswork. Every month you know what content to post, where to post it and how frequent each post will appear.
Your social media strategy needs to take into consideration the target audience and how they are likely to react to your posts.
Apart from using your marketing activities to generate content for your social media strategy, make sure you also incorporate other social events that are happening around you. These could be parades, concerts, sporting activities, holidays, etc.
2. Generate valuable content
Now that you have created your social media strategy, you need to keep your target audience entertained, informed and engaged. This means that the content that you will share needs to be valuable to the audience.
Don’t just create content to fill up your social media calendar. It is imperative that you create content that inspires, motivates and provokes your audience to interact with it either through sharing or commenting.
How do you generate valuable content? You can easily do this by using social listening tools, for example. Such tools will enable you to closely monitor conversations that touch or are associated with your main keywords, related topics that are relevant to your business or brand.
These tools will also help you to also monitor your competitors’ interactions. This way you get to know what they are up to.
3. Create relevant content
Your content might be valuable but not relevant. This simply means that not all valuable content can be consumed by just about anyone who follows you on social media. When it comes to content generation, relevance is key.
Your content needs to resonate with your target audience. It needs to be content that they can relate to. The content they can very easily understand in order to interact with. Knowing what content will appeal to your audience is, therefore, extremely important.
Here, relevance basically means timeliness and the relation to your industry or what your audience is interested in.
You also need to ensure that you create relevant content that will, in turn, motivate your audience to share it. This will boost your engagement and also get you even more followers. So, in a nutshell, keep your audience in mind and create relevant content that triggers their emotions.
4. Post content consistently
So you’ve got your social media content calendar all sorted out. You’ve also figured out the best times of the day to post on the various platforms. The only thing remaining now is to post the content.
Now, make sure your posting is consistent. You took the time to create a posting schedule so follow it to the letter. Your audience knows what kind of content to expect at a particular time. The last thing they want is random posts from you. If they expect cat videos on Thursday at noon, don’t change to 10 a.m.
Inconsistency will only confuse your target audience. Consistency builds credibility, enhances your reputation and solidifies trust. According to HubSpot, consistent content impacts audience decision-making more than any other technique.
If you want to develop meaningful relationships with your audience, then make sure you post your content consistently.
5. Always perform research
Consumer preferences are always evolving. Needs keep changing and trends keep popping up on a daily basis. With such a fast-paced environment, it is becoming harder and harder to keep up with the consumer.
The only way you can keep up with the pace is through research. What your audience was interested in last month is most likely not what they are into today. Something else more trendy has come up and unless you are up to date with what is trending then your social media marketing will always be playing catch up.
By making research an integral part of your social media strategy, you will be able to accurately analyze your social media data. You will also be in a much better position to understand how your audience relates to the content you post.
Constant research will also help you understand your audience’s behavior and the conversations that are happening on various social media channels. Social media research can help your business in so many ways such as:
- Create outstanding campaigns based on behavioral signals from your social media audience
- Attract new customers and identify new opportunities within your market
- Provide great customer experience, which is what every customer wants
- Help you get a birds-eye view of your competitors in your industry or category
- Track your brand’s social media presence and online reputation
The internet is awash with highly effective tools that can help you research on social media and ultimately get very useful insights about your target audience.
6. Respond to customer queries in a timely manner
Want to strengthen your customer service and experience, especially on social media? Then always respond to customer queries in a timely fashion. Customers don’t like being kept waiting. The modern customer wants his or her needs or concerns addressed as quickly as possible.
Whether it is a price query or question about a vacation offer that you are currently running, make sure they get a response in the shortest time possible otherwise you might just lose them just like that.
According to Convince&Convert, over 40 Percent of consumers complaining of social media expect a 60-minute response time. Responding to customers is also a great feedback mechanism for your business.
It doesn’t matter if it is positive or negative feedback. Even the latter has value for your business — at least you will know how the customer feels about your company and its products or services. This way, you are now able to rectify the mistake(s) and make their experience even better next time.
7. Ask your followers to like, share and comment on your posts
Social media is all about interaction and engagement. It has “social” right in the name, you know? When you create good quality content that resonates with your audience, don’t be afraid to go a step further and ask them to like it and even share it as well.
Sometimes all you need to do is just ask. This is a form of call-to-action. Some of your followers will gladly oblige.
If your content gets shared, you improve your chances of growing your follower base. You also boost your awareness as well as build your online reputation in the process.
However, since platforms such as Facebook may penalize you for outrightly asking your followers to like, share or comment, you will have to find a better way of doing it. For example, instead of asking people to like your post, you can say something like “Show some love”, “Who’s with me”, Thumbs up if…” and so on.
If you want people to comment you can ask them, “How do you feel about…”, “What do you think?”, “We would love to hear from you”, etc… For Shares, you can say, “Show us some love”, “Tell a friend”, etc…
8. Always use hashtags
Hashtags have become a common feature across all social media platforms. They first started with Twitter but it’s now Instagram where hashtags are now more effective.
Hashtags are primarily used to discover relevant content on social media and specifically on Instagram. If you are using Instagram as your primary social media platform for your travel agency, which you should by the way, then hashtags should accompany all the images you post.
This way your target audience will easily find you and your content, interact with it and ultimately follow you if they haven’t already. Using hashtags as part of your content strategy has numerous benefits.
According to Social Media Examiner, hashtags will help you to organize and categorize your photos/images and video content. This will, in turn, enhance the process of content discovery and boost optimization.
When people are looking for holiday destinations, they will most likely turn to social media and search using hashtags. As a travel agency, all your Instagram posts should always include hashtags of some of the vacation spots you are currently marketing.
The more visible your content is, the more likely you will be able to create a much larger audience and ultimately generate more leads.
To help you get started with Instagram hashtags, you can use Brand24 – an Instagram Hashtag finding tool that will help you find hashtags related to your niche. See, it’s that simple.
9. Choose the right platforms
Social media has become an integral part of marketing for businesses worldwide. It doesn’t matter whether yours is a blue-chip company with a global presence or just a startup operating from a garage, social media is a must-have.
Social media in itself is broad and you need to carefully and strategically approach it so as to use it effectively. What most businesses fail to understand from the word go is that social media, and especially the platforms, is that they are not all the same.
Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and the rest all work differently and deliver different results.
If you choose the wrong platform you will not get the results you wanted. It’s simple as that. Choosing the right platform(s) is crucial if your social media marketing efforts. You first of all need to understand what each social media platforms bring to the table. Make sure you understand how each platform works.
According to Forbes, these are some of the factors you need to consider when identifying the right social media platform for your business:
- Consider the nature of your business
- Focus on your core target audience
- Consider customer demographics
- Go where your ideal customer is
- Empower advocates to find the right channels
- Research your competitors
- Build a consistent strategy across all platforms
10. Choose the right tools to schedule and automate
Managing social media is not easy especially if you have a small team. Once you’ve identified the right set of social media platforms to use for your digital marketing, you now need to go a step further and get the right tools to help you schedule your posts.
Such tools will ensure that your content reaches your target audience at specified times thus ensuring consistency in posting. These tools will also help you to closely monitor how well or badly your posts are doing.
This way you will always know which posts are resonating well with your target audience and which ones are performing badly. With this kind of insights, you can then make the necessary adjustments to ensure all your posts perform as intended and that your audience is kept informed and happy.
Some of the most popular social media management tools include Hootsuite, Buffer, Tweet Deck, Sprout Social, and Sendible.
All these tools are extremely effective and will help you get the most out of your social media campaign. Using such tools will also get you analytics and reports that will help you fine-tune your social media strategy. With such reports, you will also be able to develop and run better campaigns in the future.
11. Monitor your progress
Social media monitoring is also extremely important. No social media campaign is perfect. Customer dynamics are changing every single day. What worked in your last campaign will most likely work in the next one.
This is why you need to keep monitoring how your social media marketing strategy is doing on a day-to-day basis. By doing so, you will always know how your target audience is reacting to your posts at any one given time.
Monitoring is also important because it lets you respond to customer queries promptly thus keeping the audience engaged and most importantly, happy. Monitoring is also an effective feedback tracking process.
It’s always good to know what your customers are saying about you. Are they happy? Are they disgruntled? Are they satisfied with the experience? Monitoring helps you answer these questions and more.
The feedback you get will, in turn, help you improve your products, services, and your overall customer experience.
12. Videos and images are a must
Humans are visual creatures. What we see sticks to our minds for a long time. That is why videos and images do extremely well on social media platforms. Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter – all encourage the use of high-quality images and videos.
This is because their consumption is high. Social media users react well to images and video clips than text-only posts.
According to Jeff Bullas, articles with images get 94 percent more total views. Mark Zuckerberg also once said that Facebook will be mostly video in five years. We are now seeing a lot more videos being shared on the popular social platform.
With is in mind, another strategy that can work very well in the travel agency space is using user-generated content, especially videos and images of your customers that were shared during or after their vacation.
13. Use social media buttons in your newsletters/email marketing
Email marketing and newsletters are some of the most effective methods of reaching out to your customers. They are good for communicating company events and marketing activities that you’d like your customers to be part of.
They are also highly effective for informing customers of upcoming promotions and sales and generally keeping them in the loop on what is happening with their favorite brand.
So, every time you activate your email campaigns, don’t forget to also include all your social media buttons as part of the email.
14. Integrate your marketing automation software
You can achieve a lot from your digital marketing strategy through integration. Integration basically helps to enhance your marketing team’s productivity.
By automating and integrating some of the repetitive but important tasks, your sales and marketing teams can efficiently follow up on leads, which can result in more conversions.
Take for instance Cazoomi’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM to Mailchimp and Mailchimp to Salesforce integrations. If you work with these integrations, it won’t be just your social media that’s on auto-pilot. You will get a complete overview and unparalleled insights into all your marketing and sales operations.
SyncApps can also enable your travel business to easily automate all of your workflows and track customer touchpoints seamlessly.
Now you know the value social media marketing can bring to your travel business. As soon as you identify a winning social media platform combination and have the right management tools in place, the only thing remaining it so find yourself a competent integration partner.
The right integration tool will then help you take your digital marketing to a whole new level, freeing you and your team to focus on ensuring travel bookings are done on time, leads are followed up and travelers enjoy their experience.
Get your travel agency on its growth path today. Talk to our integration experts, get signed up and see how it works.