How does a city become a destination du jour for new visitors? Well, one way is by working with R&R. Another is to get social. We don’t mean a friendly wave and courteous hello. This is about social media. It’s a medium of communication that is perfect for introducing your city to travelers.
A dynamic social media marketing campaign can transform your city into more than just a dot on the map. Interact with your target market before they even arrive. This is a chance to engage with potential visitors and establish a lasting impression.
What makes social media such a powerful tool for destination marketers? Let’s take a look at some numbers. A study by PhoCusWright revealed that 52 percent of travelers use social media channels to find vacation inspiration. Seventy-six percent of those users shared photos and information about their trip when they got back. Why is this particular percentage especially crucial? Because in life, online and off, we are more inclined to trust recommendations from our family and friends. A glowing review or an amazing photo album posted to a social media site creates credibility. Travel plans are often made based off endorsements from others and those endorsements are now found on Facebook and Instagram, just to name two. Quite simply, social media drives consumer-buying decisions.
So how can a city successfully implement a social media strategy to attract new visitors? Here is an introductory guide for three of the most popular sites for social media interaction:
Facebook provides a great opportunity to establish a consistently updated presence that showcases everything your city has to offer. Highlight community events and local attractions. Update exciting news that will drive traffic to your city’s website. Create photo albums that promote the best your city has to offer. Facebook also allows you to engage with users on an organic level. Respond to comments or questions in real time. By doing so, your city will be positioned as an active locale with a dedicated community invested in its success.
Pinterest continues to become a go-to destination for social media users. In its simplest form, Pinterest is a digital bulletin board. Users can “pin” pictures and other content, creating specific boards for related posts. What makes it unique is the aspirational quality of user activity. People will post about their dream destinations or hoped for gifts. This allows cities to cater to potential visitors in a very focused manner. You can create a board that has pictures of amazing venues to say “I do” in your city, attracting the attention of couples looking for the perfect destination to exchange vows. It doesn’t end there. Boards can highlight exquisite cuisine, breathtaking architecture and popular local events. Pinterest serves as a gateway to new visitors and creates a lasting impression.
Instagram is a great tool for any destination marketer. It provides the opportunity to show off your city in a distinctive way. With more than 150 million users, Instagram is a great platform to engage your audience and generate a following for your city. You can tell a vibrant story through strong visual content. With so many filters to use, it’s hard not to make a picture look good! Instagram is another example of the aspirational element associated with social media marketing. Find interesting places around your city and begin snapping away. It’s as easy as that.
Establishing your city as a travel destination takes times and commitment. To become such a place, planning and strategy are a necessity. By utilizing social media, your city can become a must-visit destination online and off.