​Getting Social

Tourism relies on positive social interactions – potential visitors hearing about new places to visit, eat or stay from friends or family, delivering a friendly customer experience or ensuring that guests are thanked for their custom after their visit.

Social media is an important part of every tourism business. Responding to industry requests, the NCTA hosted a Social Media Master-Class last week, conducted by Jim Hardcastle from Viper Marketing.

We were delighted to welcome a capacity audience from a wide range of sectors, from DMOs to hospitality and retail, reinforcing the importance of social media to every business. This coincided with the launch of our new Social Media guide available free to everyone on our Resource Hub.

Social media platforms are influential tools during different stages of the customer journey, from driving awareness to conversion to retention of custom. To build followers/likes you need to ensure that your business splits promotional messages evenly, between sales drives, (“10% off rooms rates in January, for example) referral (eg, “have you seen the sunset”, “free gift”, “don’t forget the festival next week”) and personal messages (social content, inviting and responding to feedback, glimpsing behind the scenes, or how you source your local produce).

Good social content will get your business noticed/shared/liked; so it’s important to inspire, reveal something new, tell a story, or post something that’s funny, informative or that fixes a problem. It needs to create a social interaction, a conversation, or pose a question.

As important as answering the phone or emails, invest time in being social online, setting up and checking Facebook, Twitter, perhaps having a Pinterest or Instagram for you and guests to share - pictures of your venue/menu/attraction and setting.

Free programs like Canva or Pinwords take the hassle out of editing pictures and can easily be cropped to suit the different social media platforms – so you don’t need expensive programs or designers to be spreading the conversations about what your business offers. Ensure your social media pages are visually inviting, spreading the word and championing what you do best.

We heard that 78% of people are more likely to take up something if they have a recommendation from a friend, so getting social online will ensure you better engage with current customers and spread the word to new ones.

By Simon Hanney