By 2020, 2.9 billion people are expected to be active on social media. Social media connects our world, providing travelers a means to explore places and cultures before actually experiencing them. An account, hashtag, or a single photo has the power to inform and inspire travel decisions, just as a travel agent, family member’s slide show, or folded brochure did years ago.
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have revolutionized not only how people interact with each other, but also how businesses interact with consumers – or travelers - or our potential our future guests.
Staying mindful of current best practices and incorporating them into your business’s social media strategy will keep your marketing efforts fresh and effective and at the top of the traveler’s mind:
Complete & Update Your Social Media Profiles
First impressions are important and lasting. Think of your social media accounts as your business’s digital first impression. Take a few minutes to thoughtfully fill out all your profile information – including contact information, location, hours of operation, and website. Profile and cover photos are worth a 1000 words!
What you post becomes a representation of the business. Stay aware of the image you’re crafting as a result of the content you share. Use the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of the content you post, or share should be entertaining or informative, while no more than 20 percent of your social media communication should relate to the goods or services your business provides.
You should engage with your online community at a minimum at least two- three times a week.
Interact with Your Audience
Interacting with your followers is key. Travelers seek feedback about our destination online. See a question or comment on Twitter you can answer? Send the person a friendly reply. Looking for recommendations? Ask your Facebook audience. Build connections like you would in person.
Be Transparent to Gain Trust
Should your business have an issue that causes a bout of criticism on social media, the worst thing you can do is try and hide from it. Respond the best you can, with empathy and don’t become defensive. Ask to contact the customer privately. Work to remedy the issue and let those who cared about it online know when it’s resolved.
Match the Right Content to the Right Network
Each social media platform has its own purpose and audience. Understanding this and matching your content and tone to the proper social media outlet is imperative for success.
Avoid Poor Grammar and Spelling
Grammar mistakes and spelling errors can quickly reduce your credibility. To help avoid them, prepare your social media updates in a document or spreadsheet with spell check. You can also ask for someone to proofread before you share.
Don’t #Abuse #Hashtags
Using hashtags connects your post to all other posts on that topic and with that same hashtag. It’s a convenient way to categorize and search content on social media networks. However, it’s not necessary to turn every word (or sentence!) in a post into a hashtag. Using hashtags correctly will increase your online visibility and followers. When used too much, it looks spammy and becomes ineffective.
Give Credit When Credit Is Due
Attribute the author or photographer when you share an interesting post or a gorgeous image. Take the time to find the social media handle responsible for the original post and include it in your tweet. Also, send out thank you posts to those who mention or share your posts. You can make great connections for your business when you play well with others on social media.
Brooke Meyer is the managing partner of Caymera International, a Caymanian-owned hospitality and tourism consulting and advisory firm. She holds a master’s certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY and has also earned continuing education certifications in Hotel Real Estate and Asset Management, Digital Marketing, and Revenue Management from Cornell University. She has an unwavering commitment to mastering the dynamics of the hospitality industry – and sharing that wisdom with her peers, clients, and stakeholders. Visit Caymera at