In honor of Dave’s departure from Late Night, I offer a handy count-down list to give you the perfect out on this Social Media thing. True, lots of destinations are crushing it in SM, but continue to consider the impact anecdotal. Social Media communications will be the make or break moment for DMOs to capture hearts and market share.
10. You have more followers than XYZ city.
I don’t have to tell you, that the number one brand in the world remains so because of diligent loyalty and attention. You may have secured that vanity spot, but beware it’s temporary. With $20 and a clever strategy, your competition can change that scenario overnight.
9. It’s too difficult to measure results.
Well, yeah – if your only tools are the installed measurements – you don’t know what in the hell that means. Isolate the value of this owned and earned media exposure with advanced analytics and solid research. The answer is waiting to be discovered for your destination.
8. We don’t have time to concentrate on Social Media.
You don’t have time to ignore it. The game has started, the ball is in play. Every single visitor has time to search Social Media in destination investigation (Google Travel Study, 2014). I’ll spare you my “level playing field” lecture and just say from one person DMOs to multi-staffed marketing departments, a solid brand communication plan can save hundreds of hours per year and yield predictable results.
7. Facebook algorithms have changed and no one sees our posts, anyway.
You have all the bricks in front of you, it’s your choice to build a wall or a bridge. Shameless plug: I can spend 15 minutes with your SM team and you’ll never have to pay for promoted posts again.
6. The young people/agency/freelancer handle our Social Media.
I’m all for outsourcing, otherwise I would have no career. But, let me lend you this thought: there’s HOW you do social media and there’s WHY. Truly building a loyal, shareable community requires mastering the WHY people should care at all. Social Media is not a “young” persons domain, it’s a communicator’s palace. If you aren’t absolutely motivated by your SM strategy, why should your visitors?
5. No one bought the package we promoted via social selling.
What lessons were gleaned from the experiment? Did you properly lead your group through the entire relationship process before asking them to buy? Did you retarget to others that were already shopping? Social selling is a relatively new concept, especially for DMOs. Consider reserving social sales for major events or dream packages that cannot be found elsewhere. Sorry, your Girlfriend’s getaway package is just not enough to move the needle. Step back and realign a better strategy.
4. We tried Vine, but it didn’t work.
I call this the “try-curious” curse. It bubbles, you posted a few times, hasn’t been touched since. Instead of being everywhere, pick unique channels you can own. Hold on to that goal like a dog with a bone and do not let up until you dominate. Trust me, perseverance is 75% of social success.
3. There is too much local chatter on our social channels, not all positive.
Hello, reputation management! This really points at deeper issues and begs the question if your destination really needs a community brand approach. If your community is positive, activate those cheerleaders! Incentivize them. For those who troll (negative for the sake of negative), consider removing the troublemakers. Your page, your rules. Whenever possible, use your charm to sway them. If you understand what they really are saying, you may win a die-hard fan.
2. We already see 20% of our web traffic coming from social media.
Ok, great. Do you know what that means, though? Were they using the site to plan, look at events or did they bounce? Loyalty tracking should start from first touch and really never end until the permission does. Also, DMO site visits are slightly down industry-wide, indicating the Google Travel Study was right when they suggested that some visitors may never visit a traditional website.
And the number one reason you shouldn’t concentrate on social media….
1. Our demographics are non-tech and older, so they don’t use social media.
Boomer and Gen X parents are the most prolific habitual users of social media, and their kids call the travel shots. Hit em low, hit em high.
Hope you enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek piece to motivate you to a much stronger focus on social media. It’s real business and there’s so much more of it out there for you.
Don’t know where to start or how to measure the real impact? Just give us a call, we are good therapists and can craft an impenetrable strategy just for you.
Jennifer is the SVP, Digital & Planning for North Star Destination Strategies. for inquiries, firstname.lastname@example.org