Let’s face it.. what started out as a space dedicated to curiosity, quickly became a forum for vainglorious self-advertising. Facebook speaks to our primal need to belong, to connect with and be seen by other humans. We can’t help ourselves – voyeurism and oversharing are the worst by-products of this social phenomenon, but there’s such power in it. Harvest that power to further your business ideals, yes, but don’t sacrifice that human element.
It’s easy to get cynical about Likes and Follows on social media but we can derive value from any kind of engagement. A like quickly affirms the positive effect your post has had on a viewer; followers indicate how to direct your focus for future marketing campaigns. This is not just some cyber popularity contest. What’s increasingly clear too is that Facebook is not the place to punt products and the generic, robotic hard-sell. For us it’s about establishing and promoting our travel brands, about building human relationships, and about fostering engagement with content that inspires trust.
Benefits do not engage people. People engage people.
Rachel Begg, Erik Juhler
Brand presence Inhabit the space your market interacts with; that’s where the smart money is. An awful lot of people use Facebook all around the world and spend a great deal of time on it, increasingly to research travel. As brand loyalty grows in importance in the way travel decisions are made, one small matter of equal importance is consistency. You need to be recognisable in your branding and content across digital channels – look and sound the same on your website as you do on your Facebook page and your sales/marketing collateral. Otherwise you make it hard for people to take your brand seriously. Get your logo on point, use the same tone and offer the same valuable experience with your content.
Consistency buys you credibility, and if your brand can be trusted, users will be more willing to access your content. Simply put, proves you’re no Mickey Mouse brand. Underlining all this effort is the human element.
It can be tempting to treat Facebook like a notice board to pin impersonal advertisements to, but you shouldn’t discount the power of the human voice. Get your staff with Facebook profiles to share your posts where appropriate, tag them, or even better, feature them! When you generate a feeling of humanity and community in the way your content is shared, it lends sincerity to your brand. It says your staff and others influencers vouch for your brand, product and content.
What to post Don’t bore your audience! Populate your page with actual experiences, local information, travel tips and destination advice, competitions, videos, funny posts and gamified interactions. It’s still a social site, so it must entertain; but it must also inform, teach, and create wanderlust. Good value in your posts will encourage sharing of your site/content among users. After an average of 7 views, your brand will become more memorable and your chances of being liked or engaged will grow. Blog posts with useful information conveyed in a personable tone, 3rd party input, personal anecdotes all lend credibility to your brand. You should ask fans/followers for feedback and use it to adjust your product design.
Crowd-source some of your content. We talk a lot about UGC precisely because it advocates so powerfully for your brand without your having to blow your own trumpet. In addition to using client stories, you can also invite fans/followers to suggest captions for your images.
Target emotions: the desire to explore, immerse and transform is huge this year; the need for escape, bond with family; the craving for unique, rare or quirky experiences; the growing momentum in conscience-motivated travel like voluntourism and ecotourism; the love of food! Finally, leverage current affairs and pop culture to show you pay attention and care about what’s happening in the world because, guaranteed, your travellers care too.
Relationship building Showing your human, caring side is the foundation of any community you wish to build, and sets the tone for engagement with your fans/followers. The ethos behind content strategy is really the establishment of trust between yourself and your audience, and this platform can aid your efforts to deliver better customer service. Good content strategy answers the growing demand among travellers for more value and less selling – more focus on helping them than serving your business interests. You build relationships when you show your interest in solving their problems, which in your case is the traveller’s struggle with choosing a destination, experience or brand to go with.
Instead of posting pics that overtly sell your brand, rather use indirect promotional imagery that speaks to end-user benefits, presented in attractive and diverse formats. Business2community.com claims that people are moving away from static content pages and towards interactive content. Give them links to click on and engage with your content – your Facebook page has a few simple but effective formats in which to present your content in different ways.
The demand for interactive content is on the rise…This year, the trend is content that allows for participation & custom experiences.
Always respond when someone comments on your page! Prove there’s a personality behind the brand, one that your community of fans and followers can relate to and trust. This is the first step towards making yourself memorable enough so that later, when they’re ready to book their trip, they’ll remember and consider you over others.
Facebook toolkit As a company page, it is decidedly different from a personal Facebook page. Your approach to managing and using Facebook to support your business should be to optimise the available tools: measure customer insights, create and grow brand awareness; engage potential clients in a productive way; all towards the ultimate goal of lead generation.
About As the most visited section of your Facebook page, this tab should have your full contact details and operational hours visible, to look professional and to draw more viewers in Google or Facebook searches.
Reviews The plan is always to get more likes and follows, because the higher those numbers, the more traffic you earn. Nothing will make your brand stick in the memory more than the personal accounts and opinions of influencers (like travel bloggers) or other travellers. Invite reviews and a rating of your company from satisfied clients among your existing fans. If those get liked too, it’s welcome flattery for those contributors; because folks do love a bit of appreciation..
Imagery Hi-res pictures depicting destinations and experiences in album, gallery or carousel format, slick videos or even amateur UCG video snippets, 360° images or video that viewers can manoeuvre, linked images that click through to website pages with more content, these are all formats fully compatible with Facebook.
Here’s another super useful platform for your existing content and marketing collateral to live on and promote your products.
Make it good, keep it visual, and sharing will follow naturally.
According to an IPSOS study of global Facebook users, 61% share something they find interesting, 43% share something important, 43% share something funny, 30% share something they wish to recommend, and so on.
Facebook posts with images still perform better than posts without images.
Like/Follow/Share/Comment/Tag Start with an aggressive like/follow campaign with existing fans and satisfied clients, and invite them to like your page back. It’s like when someone stares at something in the distance and make people walking by curious enough to look in the same direction – as you start getting likes, it’ll draw more attention. It’s a laborious process at first, but stay the course for the reward.
With B2B influencing, like your partner pages as your Facebook company page to grab their attention, request them to like yours and get them to check out your page.
Tag them, like and share any of their posts that resonate with you, comment on their pages, and they, along with your existing fans, will be easier to engage and elicit reviews and comments from. Accompany those tags with trendy hashtags to pull in the extra traffic onto your page.
Use the back-end analytics of your page to see which posts drew what kind of attention and simply do more of what works. Your objective needs to be clear. Everyone wants to be liked but beware of quantity over quality – the size of your following doesn’t necessarily count as potential sales. There’s a thing called virtual empathy: people like/follow your page simply so you’ll reciprocate, but many who take the time to click that like, love or wow button, do so because you’ve posted something that impacted them emotionally. So take caution as you work up those numbers.
Messenger We’re hearing this increasingly: people are more inclined to deal with companies they can interact with in real-time or through direct messaging. Once upon a time this was superior client service that exceeded expectation; now it’s more of a demand because consumers live in the digital space and know perfectly well the technology for this exists. That Facebook now offers this convenience makes it a no-brainer if you don’t happen to have a messaging option on your website or digital itineraries.
..about a billion messages per month are exchanged between people & businesses across Facebook Messenger..
Book Now If you have this button on your existing content or Facebook profile, there are new features available for you to optimise this tool, like Facebook’s City Guides feature. It goes without saying how powerful it is to provide the option to book as soon as a traveller has been sufficiently inspired by your content to shift from planning to booking phase. Whether it goes to an email booking form or a booking engine, it brings the user closer to instant gratification than if they had to visit a different platform or site to act on their decision.
Dynamic Ads You can pay for dynamic ads for products or travel on Facebook. It works like remarketing with Facebook enabling you to target people who’ve engaged with your page. Create a custom audience based on different criteria, from among your website visitors, depending on specific actions taken on your app, over a specified period of time. Then you hit them with ads containing focused content. There are several travel companies who use this successfully, and find it requires serious investment of time and labour resources, plenty of testing to see what works and a marketing budget to follow it through.
Cross-sharing In social media and the digital space, you’ll find that even the different social sharing platforms collude.
Good news for your Facebook ads is that they can also be posted on your Instagram account to target specific audiences, and you can add tracking to measure conversions. Your Facebook page also offers you easy connections with Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, if you have accounts for them.
In travel and technology, everything is connected and social media is one of the forces that drive collaboration between the two. As Facebook is poised to break the 2 billion user mark, it would be remiss of us not to have a solid Facebook presence and strategy in place. The prospects it holds for us as tourism brands and destinations are especially bright as Facebook is itself venturing deeper into the sphere of travel discovery, flanked by Instagram’s scope for travel inspiration. Why on earth wouldn’t we use all the digital tools at our disposal to help develop our business prospects? It is in the Facebook of Things. OP