I was recently talking with a friend in the industry on ways that tourism operators could improve their marketing efforts. I've decided to share some of the insights, tips, and tricks I've gathered over the past few years!
The First Impression:
- Your Profile Photo - As this is what people see anytime you comment, it is the first thing to catch people's eye. Make sure it accurately reflect your services, a logo works great here.
- Your Cover Photo - This is the opportunity to showcase what your business does, using a high resolution photo is best here. For example, as a fishing lodge, this would be a great place to show off someone with a huge catch.
- Claim your username - this makes it easier for people to find you online.
- A Call to Action Button - This will allow potential customers to easily contact you. You can also have this link to your booking page, or give customers the option to send you a message.
Another great way to direct traffic to your page is including the link to your page under work experience on your personal profile.
Top Tips for Improving Your Page:
- Picture your ideal guest(s) - is it families? is it millennials looking for a unique dining experience? Post content that will appeal to that demographic.
- Don't Neglect Your Page - Social is one of the top tools for getting customers into your business today. If you often forget to post, try using a free content scheduler like Buffer or Hoot Suite!
- People Love People - Choosing content that reflects real people and experiences can make your potential customers feel that your business is relatable.
- Interact! - If someone is taking the time to interact with your business, you should give them the time of day! Make a habit of checking comments on your business page. If someone asks a question and you don't respond in a timely manner, that can impact whether or not they choose to visit your business.
- Say Thanks! - If anyone reviews your business, make sure you thank them for coming in! If it's a good review, letting them know you are happy they enjoyed their experience. If they leave you a bad review, not responding can damage your public image. Apologize in a timely manner then make it right. Here are our tips for dealing with bad reviews!
- Stay Relevant - We're all sad that Dorothy's cat down the road hasn't been seen in a week, but your business page is not the place to share that information. Stick to sharing things that directly impact your business / are of interest to your following.
- Timing - Choose times when your users are most active, generally in the mornings, at lunch time and in the evenings to maximize your posts' reach.
- Catch Their Eye - No one is going to stop scrolling for an all text post. Try adding photos or videos to your posts.
- Do Your Best (Again) - Take a look at your most recent posts, what has the highest engagement? Is it photos of a meal you recently served? Photos from an event you held? This will give you a good idea of what is working and what isn't.
- Don't Oversell - Posting content that your followers can engage with will convert to customers much better than if you only post specials or promotions.
- PLEASE STOP DOING THIS - Typing in all caps is more likely to annoy your followers than catch their eye. Maintain a professional image with shorter, to the point posts. Always read your posts out loud before you post them. Pretyping them in Microsoft Word can save you from any embarrassing spelling or grammar errors.
Creating Awesome Content
One great way to generate content is letting your customers do it for you! Creating a branded hashtag on instagram or having signage in your establishment encouraging patrons to share photos of their experience can be beneficial! Always ask people before you repost their content!
Perfection is the enemy of productivity. If you're under the impression that every post has to be picture perfect, shot with a DSLR and photo shopped to the hilt, you're wrong. Some of the best advice I have received is share your everyday. What is going on in your business?
Some great examples of sharing your everday:
Asking Easy Questions
As my mentor Krystal Hobbs recently said "People love giving their opinion". Asking easy questions is a great way for people to do that! I love this recent example from Storeytown Cottages! Other ideas can be "Would you rather relaxing by the fire, or spending the day snow shoeing?" with pictures of both. If people are good enough to interact with your business, it's always nice to respond to their comments!
Behind the Scenes
While you should absolutely post your finished pizzas on occasion, it's also great to share what is going on behind the scenes! This can be the making of one of your signature dishes, or even a photo of your latest shipment of kayaks on the way to your establishment.
Video content can be a great way to catch your audience's eye. This great video by 1809 tells of Jesse's experience at 1809, it truly shows the passion he puts into his culinary practice!
Showcase Your Staff
People love people! Have a staff member your customers love? Share their story! We love this post from Upper Oxbow "Upland birds in an idillic Miramichi countryside. J1 may be Grand Dad but he can show the young fellas a trick or two. Great work John." It makes you want to spend the day upland bird hunting with John when you've never even met him!
Other Content Prompts:
- Celebrate Your Milestones - 100th customer of the season? Five years in Business? A team member celebrating ten years with your company?
- Show your audience something you're excited about! - a new menu item? an upcoming event?
- What's on the menu today!
- Tell Your Story - Why did you start your business? What are some challenges you had? Maybe it was your great grandfather who started it and you took over? What is the best thing about your operation? If you're a family business, share a photo of family members pitching in!
- Come from Away! - Tell the story about a unique guest. Maybe someone came all the way from Australia to stay with you? Maybe they caught an EXTRA LARGE fish?
- Throwback Thursday - Share photos of days past from your business. In the winter that may be to warmer days by the river. It could be showing older photos of your business's first opening, or even telling the story of your building's history.
- Happy Holidays! - When significant holidays are coming up, wish a "happy X" to your customers, thank them for their patronage. Share photos of your decorations! You can even take advantage of weird social media holidays that are relevant to you.
- Tag a friend posts - Have a great photo of two chairs sitting on the riverbank? Maybe a dessert that is too big for one person? Ask your followers "Who would you want with you? to share this with?"
- Pet Friendly? - Few people are going to think to scour your website to see if you are pet friendly. Sharing photos of four legged friends enjoying your property is a way to get that message out there and attract new customers.
- Showcase another business! - If you're a bed and breakfast, perhaps share a photo of a great meal at a nearby restaurant. Perhaps in turn they will share a photo of your accommodations! Create mutually beneficial partnerships.
- Things You've Learned - Attending a conference or seminar? Share some of the things you have learned that are relevant to your audience.
- Be Informative - Share articles that benefit your audience! For example - Wilson's shares a great river report! If you're a campground you could consider sharing an article at the end of the season on winterizing your trailer.