What is the best use of Twitter for tourism and destination marketing?
Many CVBs, DMOs, and tourism partners find that engagement is down on their Twitter accounts in recent years, especially when compared to Facebook or Instagram.
Is Twitter still worth the effort, or is it “dead?”
Today’s Best Ways to Use Twitter for Tourism
Let’s face it – Twitter is a noisy social channel, especially during breaking news events.
Since Twitter feeds are still chronological and fly past quickly, a tweet’s lifespan (and therefore the chance that it will be seen by followers) can be very short….some data says 18-24 minutes.
That’s why you need to send out multiple tweets about events, or destination ideas, or links to your blog posts (don’t forget to re-share those evergreen posts from your archives, too) in order to get decent engagement and traffic.
Using quality images and graphics in your tweets, plus a hashtag or two, is more important than ever.
Twitter can still work for you. This past year, it brought us the most traffic of any social network, and it is our second-best network for conversions.
However, if ALL you are doing with Twitter is running on a broadcasting treadmill, pumping out pre-scheduled tweets all day, that may not be the best use of your time, nor will it necessarily support your destination marketing strategy.
Besides “standard” broadcast tweets, here are three other powerful ways to use Twitter….
1) Visitor, Guest, & Customer Service: Be a Digital Concierge & Virtual Visitor Center
Talk to people on Twitter!
It’s stating the obvious, but put social back into your social media.
Interact with your visitors.
Answer their questions. Give tips and advice. Simply welcome them to town, like the Waxahachie CVB did in the screenshot at the top of this blog post.
When visitors need assistance, do you tweet back with relevant links to your website pages or blog posts? If they ask for a local coffee shop recommendation in a certain neighborhood, do you tag the Twitter accounts of good coffee places in your reply tweet?
Match your excellent offline visitor experience with a friendly, helpful online experience. The result is a more engaged, loyal visitor.
2) Lead Generation
The whole point of social media is ultimately to bring more visitors to town, right?
Once someone mentions your destination, or follows/interacts with you on Twitter, have a process for further engagement. This could include adding them to a private Twitter List of prospects or particularly enthusiastic informal ambassadors, or offering special deals only to your followers.
Twitter advertising can help bring followers to your website, giving you more opportunities to encourage email signups or destination guide/app downloads.
Your sales team should definitely interact with meeting and event planners on Twitter.
Start by following key meeting planner accounts. Keep an eye on the #eventprofs hashtag for planner insights and news. Pay attention to conference hashtags like the ones for PCMA and MPI events.
3) Networking & Learning
Media people and journalists are often active on Twitter.
Are you connecting with them to get the word out about your destination?
Probably our favorite way to get maximum networking and learning value out of Twitter in a short time is by participating in Twitter chats.
A Twitter chat is a set time frame (normally one hour, sometimes less) when people gather on Twitter for a live discussion around a particular topic. They can be regularly scheduled, or one-off events.
Each tweet includes the chat hashtag, so if you do a search on that hashtag, all related tweets can be grouped together and you can follow the conversation.
It includes the monthly #tourismchat (we’re part of the chat organizing team) plus chats and hashtags both general and niche where you can get in front of prospective visitors in a freewheeling, friendly environment.
A Download for You
Our co-founder Sheila Scarborough spoke on this topic at this year’s Simpleview Summit. If you want more examples and screenshots, here is the PDF of her presentation slides for “Not Dead Yet – Twitter and Tourism.”
Thoughts, feedback, or suggestions on Twitter for tourism? Let us know in the Comments down below….
(PS. Learn more about what we call “outposts” to your website/blog home base – including Twitter, Instagram, social video, LinkedIn, and more – in Lesson Three of our online course in social media for tourism.)
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Join Us For the Next #tourismchat on Twitter
The next chat topic is about whether your CVB or DMO needs a mobile app, and if so, how it can be successful and help your destination.
Join us on Twitter on Thursday, April 27 at 2 p.m. Central for this open, informative discussion. You’ll learn a lot and meet fellow travel and tourism pros.
#tourismchat has a Facebook Page (how meta!) if you want to keep up with chat announcements and let us know you’re going.
Update – here’s the chat transcript.