Social media marketing is another way to find potential customers by posting at the right time in the right place to get them to book a trip with you. The big part of social media a lot of brands forget is the “social” aspect. You need to post engaging content, respond to comments, and consider running paid ads.
Here are several reasons why you should start using social media as a marketing tool if you haven’t started yet:
As a guiding company, your visuals will excel on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, and Snapchat. In fact, most of your guests will take their own pictures and post them on these platforms.
If your customers tag you on social, make sure to comment and thank them. Then, ask for their permission to repost their content on your channel. This helps you save a lot of time on creating your own content.
If someone sees their friend scaling mountains with guides on their feed, they’re more likely to book with you too (if you’re tagged) if they get that FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) feeling. It helps to remind your guests to tag your company on social media because they won’t always think about it when posting.
Not only will you stay top of mind when you post regularly to your social channels, but your guests will be able to continue to connect with you long after their trip. This means you can encourage them to book future trips or to tell their friends and family about your company.
Another reason for social is that 90% of respondents in a Sprout Social survey said they use social media to communicate with a brand. More people would rather communicate via social than phone or email when they have a problem or question.
You can’t communicate with your guests through TripAdvisor, but you can respond to their messages on Facebook and Instagram. Plus, you’re likely able to help them faster through social than the phone or email.
If you create a stunning post of your latest group expedition up Mt. Whitney (and including hashtags), and someone is browsing on Instagram for Mt. Whitney trips, they may see yours. If you have a CTA (Call-To-Action) telling folks to visit your website to book a trip with you, this person may click through and book a trip.
Or, they’ll start following you so when they are ready to climb Mt. Whitney, they’ll use your guiding company. Social media may be used more to get your company’s name out there, but it will eventually lead to more bookings the more people become aware of you.
Social media is also like word-of-mouth marketing. If you have new followers who share your content on their own channels, they introduce you to a whole new audience. Adventure-seekers find new places to explore and guides that will take them through a lot of time through social media.
Even if you can only put in the bare minimum to keep an active account, it’s still better than not having a social presence at all. Social media is one of the first ways people research a new company. Using the right hashtags, posting at certain times, and using unique and eye-catching photos can help you grow your audience without having to pay anything for it.
Social media can definitely be time-consuming. Without a team of experts to run your social media accounts, you’re stuck with you and some of your guides. But you don’t need a team to run social either. You can do this by coming up with a plan, setting realistic goals, and posting consistently. If that means one time per week, that’s fine. At least you’re doing it. Consistency will pay off.
A SMART Goal is: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. As you create a goal, think about how specific it is. You wouldn’t make a goal “grow my Instagram followers” because there’s no way of knowing how well you did. Instead, a specific goal would be, “grow my Instagram followers by 5% in the next 30 days.” This can also be measured.
Next, you don’t want to set a goal you’ll never meet but you don’t want to set a goal that doesn’t stretch you a bit either. Make sure it’s achievable. You also want to make sure it’s relevant to you and your company. If growing your Instagram followers makes no sense for your business, don’t make that your goal.
Finally, make it timely. This keeps you on a path. Find a deadline that’s realistic for you.
The fancy term for this is “buyer persona.” Essentially, put yourselves in your customer’s shoes. Ask yourself, “What does my guest find entertaining?” “What do they want to know?” Come up with their interests, where they live, what do they do for work, how old they are, etc.
It’ll help to know who your ideal customer is because you’ll have an idea about the social media platform they’re using. Younger customers will be on TikTok and SnapChat, Millennials are usually on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and older people are mostly on Facebook.
Know that you don’t have to be on all of them. We recommend starting on one or two and seeing how that goes first before expanding to more platforms.
Social media is a job in and of itself, so you need to be realistic about how much time you have to dedicate to growing your audience on there. Create a sensible schedule to post on social and engage with followers.
If you have the marketing budget, you can grow your audience faster through paid ads, but you don’t have to do that if you want your marketing to go elsewhere. Just know that it’ll take longer to grow your audience organically.
We’ve already touched on User Generated Content (UCG) but it’s a time-saving technique you can use immediately. If you’ve been tagged on social media, reach out to the poster and ask them for permission to repost their content. Make sure to tag them in the description to give proper credit. Also, if you have a unique hashtag your company uses, search for it on Instagram to find other UCG.
Sure, there are some things you need to be aware of when it comes to social media. Organic engagement is dropping, and at the same time, it’s costing more to use paid ads. Focus less on the likes you get on a post and pay more attention to the traffic you get from the platform. You’ll be able to get more traffic by including those CTAs in your posts, asking your followers to visit your website.
Another con about social media is that it can go viral in a bad way, like when you post something offensive. Then you have a PR crisis on your hands. If you ever think what you’re about to say may not sit well with followers, ask for a second opinion. It doesn’t hurt to be conscious of how others will react to your posts.
Remember that social media is meant to be social. Create a community around your guiding company. Help and entertain others and you’ll see your brand grow.
About the Author:
Jessica is the Digital Marketing Specialist for Origin. Origin is innovative online booking software designed specifically to help tour guides and outfitters keep trip reservations and staff availability up-to-date, prevent overbookings, and even help you assign guides to newly booked trips with automated text messages to confirm availability. Interested in learning more? Schedule a call with us or visit our website: www.exploreorigin.com