Jumping into the world of social media can seem daunting, but as a tour and activity business in a tourist destination, it’s an essential element to your marketing plan.
According to Frederic Gonzalo,
- Social media is one of the most successful ways to market your travel services, with more than 50 percent of direct bookings coming from social media accounts.
- Social media can reduce marketing costs by up to 24 percent, allowing your profit margins to increase significantly.
Twitter is one of the most important social networks to be a part of and have an active presence on, as it’s one of the most widely used social networking sites.
Basically, Twitter is a forum where people can send out ‘tweets’ to their followers. A tweet is a short message that can be no longer than 140 characters (links get shortened), and people use tweets to share things they found interesting, make big announcements, voice their opinions and send a quick message to their friends.
Personal tweets range from discussing the meal plans for that evening to voicing a political opinion. Business tweets, on the other hand, should be structured a bit differently (hint: link back to your website).
As a business in the tourism industry, you should join Twitter in order to connect with your customers on a more social level while also promoting your products and services.
Why Use Twitter for Business?
The popularity of Twitter is on the rise, specifically for businesses that are a part of the travel industry. In 2011, about 62 percent of industry businesses had a Twitter profile. By 2012, that number had jumped to 75 percent and it continues to climb today (Source).
- Customer engagement. It’s a way to connect with past, present and future customers. By joining the conversation, you will gain credibility as a business and develop a unique relationship with your customers.
- Customer service. Many travelers today want to be able to quickly and easily reach the companies and businesses they have booked with for their trips. You can use Twitter as an instant customer service line, allowing you to quickly and easily satisfy your clients.
- Promoting Brand Identity. Your Twitter account allows you to use an image as your signature photograph. Many companies opt to use a brand name or logo to increase brand identity among their clients. This image shows up next to all of the Tweets that you send out to your followers.
- Running competitions. This is a great way to interact with your clients and promote your business. Many Twitter contest rules involve retweeting a specific tweet and following a company. You can start your own contest to gain more followers and increase awareness about your tour and activity business.
Quite frankly, as a tour and activity operator, you need to develop a presence on Twitter to stay relevant to your customers and to compete in the industry.
Setting Up Your Twitter Account
You will want to set up your Twitter account in a way that makes it both efficient and effective. The following tips will help you get a successful start on Twitter.
- Name: First you will want to create an account name. It’s best to keep your Twitter name short, and avoid awkward and cumbersome characters. If at all possible, register your company’s name in order to make it easy for your customers to find and identify.
- Image: For your profile image, it’s best to choose a business logo. Make sure the logo will be visible in the tiny size that is on display when you send out a tweet. According to The Next Web, a monochromatic photograph is best. It’s best to keep your profile picture uniform and use the same photograph from your other social media accounts.
- Bio: Your bio is one of the most important parts of your Twitter profile, because most users will read your short, 160-character description before deciding whether or not to follow you. You have to keep it short, so choose your words carefully and make each character count. Sometimes including contact information like a phone number is helpful.
- Tweets: The ultimate goal is to send valuable tweets that will lend themselves to retweets. When someone retweets what you have said, your message is circulated out to all of their followers. This allows your reach to increase exponentially. Keep your tweets diverse, send out links to articles, promotional information, interesting quotes, twit pics and events. Be witty and get creative — tweeting is meant to be light-hearted and fun but also valuable.
- Photos: Tweet at least two or three photos every day. Researchers have found that photographs get the most engagement on social media sites, as people love something visually interesting and appealing. By tweeting relevant photos about your tours and activities, you will generate interest and excitement about your business.
A hashtag, formerly known as the pound sign, is a way of tagging your tweet so that it’s a part of a general conversation. It’s one of the keys to getting noticed on Twitter, but according to Hash Tracking you will want to choose your hashtag wisely. Follow these steps to pick the best hashtags for your tour and activity operation.
- Start by thinking about what your tweet is about. You will want to use a hashtag that is relevant to the content of the tweet.
- Choose a hashtag that is trending, but keep it general. For instance, if you are a tourism company in Detroit using hashtags like #Detroit or #PureMichigan would help you promote your tweet.
- Consider adding an additional hashtag to your post that is not trending as high but might help you reach more valuable followers.
- Never add too many hashtags. You want your tweet to be easy to read, and you don’t want it to be flagged for spam. You will want to strike the delicate balance between using a relevant hashtag without getting lost in the crowd.
Now that you know how to set up your Twitter account and you recognize all of the benefits it can have for your tour and activity operation, it’s time to jump into the Twitterverse today.
When you immerse yourself in this social networking site, you will find that you can quickly gain followers who will retweet your information. This promotes your business and helps you advance within the social networking site, and more than likely your business will continue to grow.
In the 21st century world, people conduct their lives through social media — and they are relying on it more and more to plan their vacations and excursions. When you have a presence on Twitter, you will find customers can easily connect with your company and book a reservation for your tours and activities.