6 must-do moves for tourism partners BEFORE social media

Get the basics right first (ABCs by t00n at Flickr CC)

Get the basics right first (ABCs by t00n at Flickr CC)

With everything changing so quickly these days, it’s easy to lose track of the basics: spend your marketing time where it will do your destination, attraction, or hotel the most good. That means to focus attention on your market and how they make the decision to visit.

The pace of change can be especially overwhelming for your CVB or DMO members or tourism partners. Many of them know that they need to do “something” in social media but they’re not sure where to start, and they’re looking for some help to guide them through the noise.

What are some good first steps? Where can they make the biggest impact online?

Do These Things First

If we were talking to your members/partners who were starting at zero (or close to it) in social and digital marketing, here is what we’d recommend:

1)  Big picture and strategy come first. Have them sit down and define their ideal customer or guest and describe their market in a few sentences. Where are those customers right now on social media (Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? Instagram?) In general, what sort of information could the member/partner share on social media that might appeal to their particular market? Photos – of what? Information – about what? Video – of what? Customer service – how?

Make sure they stop and think at this level for 30 minutes before doing ANYTHING else.  🙂

2)  Talk about how visitors and customers find them now, and how that has changed in recent years. More from search? Do word-of-mouth referrals include online mentions? More referrals and mentions from social media, and if so, from which platforms? If they can’t tell you what brings people through the doors right now, they need to work on being more knowledgeable about their customers. That’s who they will be trying to connect with on social, so they’d better know those folks pretty well.

3)  Confirm that they do have a website, and that it has good basic information such as where they are (maps, please!) what they sell, operating hours, and contact information. Explain to them why it’s important to make that site mobile-friendly as soon as possible, if it isn’t already.

4)  Have them claim their business on Google My Business, fill out their profile and set up notifications of reviews. It’s the single biggest move that will help them be found, and listening/responding to reviews is a basic social skill. If they’re feeling ambitious, they can claim their business listing on Bing and Yahoo as well, but first take care of the 800 Pound Google Gorilla.

5)  If they’re a restaurant, also make sure they claim their business on Yelp and are responding to reviews.

6)  If they’re a hotel/motel, also make sure they’ve claimed their business on TripAdvisor and are responding to reviews.

…. THEN we’d be ready to talk about launching on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs, etc.

Final note:

Many of your members and partners are going to need some website help, and possibly some assistance setting up a blog on their website. It would be great if you had some back-pocket recommendations of local or maybe regional business partners who do such work.

Your Chamber of Commerce would be the place to start, then try networking groups and service clubs that have members that do that also. Check with your regional tourism groups to ask who does a good job with tourism sites.

One thing to tactfully mention is to stick with web designers first and foremost and look for those who are savvy with WordPress publishing software. Do not go with a graphic designer unless they are competent in the basics of web design and SEO (Search Engine Optimization.)

Looking pretty is nice, but beautiful work that doesn’t also support your SEO goals is not helpful. Brains have to come before beauty….

Need some help with the basics? Point your members and partners to the Intro Lesson from our online course in social media for tourism. They might also find our Lesson Two helpful since it addresses websites and blogs; the internet “home bases” that you control.

We can also work with you as your education partners, helping train your members and partners with in-person workshops and coaching. Contact us!

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