How are you getting in front of over 500 million LinkedIn users?
A LinkedIn Page is your destination marketing storefront on LinkedIn.
Formerly called a LinkedIn Company Page, it is very similar to a brand Facebook Page, but most destination LinkedIn Pages have more of a B2B focus – showing what you can offer meeting planners, event planners, economic development experts and site selectors, plus tour operators.
That does not mean that you should never post leisure travel content on LinkedIn. For example, your visitors often switch from business/conference traveler to leisure traveler (“bleisure“) while they’re in your destination, so include content that shows off why someone would want to see your town, city, region, or state outside of the convention center.
There is also an SEO advantage to having an active brand Page. Social accounts have a lot of “Google juice” and will appear at the top of search results for your brand name.
A secret – we Googled our own brand name a few years ago, and an automatically-generated LinkedIn Page for us appeared at the top of Page One of the search results. We hadn’t even claimed or maintained it! We fixed that the same day, and our Tourism Currents LinkedIn Page continues to do very well for us.
One drawback to LinkedIn is that it’s still easiest to do most Page Admin activities on desktop. The LinkedIn app is pretty good for personal profiles and networks, but we are just starting to see mobile capabilities increasing for Page management through the LI app.
Right now there is not a separate Pages app like Facebook. In the LinkedIn app you type your Page name in Search, go to a mobile version of the Page, and then you can post as a Page Admin.
Based on our own experiences plus watching numerous CVBs and DMOs on the platform, here are the elements of a successful LinkedIn Page for tourism:
1) Before You Start (or Review This Even if You Already Have a Page)
Write down your answer to three questions….
* What are your goals for a LinkedIn Page?
* How will you measure whether you are successful or not?
* What is your tentative plan for posts for the first month?
Surprisingly, not enough people ask themselves these questions before they jump onto a social media platform.
No clear goals or plan results in what we see literally every day – abandoned social accounts that last posted six months ago or a year ago or even worse, often because whatever intern was told to set it up has left, and no one has the password.
We can think of a DMO LinkedIn Page that used to be one of our “best practices” examples, but the person in charge of it transferred, no one maintains it, and now it’s hanging out there making the DMO look a bit ridiculous.
Reasonable goals might include increasing visibility for your destinations’s variety of meeting spaces, and showing followers that there are plenty of things for attendees to do outside of a meeting. Even small towns can attract the SMERF meetings market (social, military, educational, religious, and fraternal gatherings.)
Measure the impact of your Page by post engagement rate, amount of referral traffic to your website from LinkedIn, a steady increase in Page followers who match your target market demographics, and asking meeting planners in surveys about whether your LinkedIn activities played a role in booking with you.
Your tentative plan for the first month of Page content should include about 10 post ideas that are a mix of text, links, photos, SlideShare, and video, tied to your marketing goals for LinkedIn. Don’t forget to include any job opportunities that are available in your organization.
—->>Tip: We’ve found that LinkedIn content is “stickier” – people often interact with our posts days or even weeks later. You don’t need to post as often on LinkedIn because it’s just not as noisy as Facebook or Twitter. Aim for 2-3 times per week.
2) Getting Started (or Reviving a Dead Page)
We mentioned earlier that LinkedIn may automatically generate Pages for brands, usually because someone adds it to their personal profile as their work experience. You may find, as we did, that you have a Page and didn’t know it.
Search for your brand name on LinkedIn itself, and also do a Google search like, “Visit XYZ LinkedIn” to see if an auto-generated Page pops up. Go here to learn how to claim an unclaimed LinkedIn Page.
To claim or set up a Page, you must
* Currently work for the DMO/attraction/hotel/business
* Have an active LinkedIn personal profile yourself
* Have a confirmed organization email address (not Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) through your personal LI profile
Once you’ve claimed the Page, edit it to add a brand-appropriate logo graphic and a header photo (here are current image dimension requirements) and fill out all of the information boxes.
Keywords matter in Page taglines, descriptions, location, website link, etc. Be thorough and complete, so people can easily find you through search.
Two final, critical items:
* Make sure that everyone in the office who has a personal LinkedIn profile connects to the claimed, correct Page under their Work Experience section, then….
* Get at least one other person to agree to be your backup Page Admin. You do not want your social presence to “go dark” if something happens to you (or if you perhaps would like to take a vacation sometime. 😁)
3) Get Staff Personal LinkedIn Profiles Up to Speed
Have each staff member Google their own name.
More than likely, their LinkedIn profile will be at the top of the search results.
It’s also likely that their LinkedIn profile hasn’t been touched in months or even years, and is NOT a solid, professional online representation of their talents and abilities.
People who only show up on LinkedIn when they need a job are doing themselves a disservice.
It is more than a job-hunting platform. It is professional social networking and a great place to keep up with current industry issues. LinkedIn (itself owned by Microsoft) owns SlideShare and the online learning site Lynda.com – part of their ongoing effort to grow as a professional development hub.
Here is a good post about building a better LinkedIn personal profile, especially if you are a marketer.
If they aren’t already doing so, encourage staff to build their personal LinkedIn networks when they attend trade shows and conferences. Make a personalized LinkedIn connection request with business contacts, in addition to sending the standard follow-up email.
Staff can help your Page by sharing Page updates over to their personal LI profiles. They can also include your Page URL in their official email signatures, and continue to build diverse networks on LinkedIn (everyone connected to the same people does not help get the word out about your organization.)
4) Post Regularly on Your Page
Your Page’s status update posts are free little billboards for your destination, attraction, hotel, or business. Use them! Like all social platforms, LinkedIn has gotten more visual, so make ample use of photos, graphics, and video.
It looks like live video is coming soon to LinkedIn; more here about LinkedIn Live.
We also mentioned SlideShare earlier in Section 1 of this post; if you have presentation slide decks of interest to meeting planners or site selectors or tour operators, post them on SlideShare and share them as a Page post. They work really well.
Don’t forget the obvious on a career networking site – post your job opportunities.
You can also buy ads on LinkedIn, including sponsored posts similar to Facebook’s. The targeting is pretty good, too, so you can set that ad or sponsored post right in front of the people who might be most interested, including members of event planner LinkedIn Groups like BizBash and Event Planning & Event Management, association Groups like PCMA, or economic development Groups like ED 2.0.
Note that the advertising cost per click is a LOT higher than Facebook….often US$6 and up per click rather than mere cents per click on Facebook.
To get content ideas, you can now use and follow hashtags on LinkedIn. See what people are posting by doing a search for hashtags like #eventprofs, #eventmanagement, or #meetingprofs.
Some DMOs have event planner-focused blogs, like Experience Grand Rapids, Michigan’s Meeting Minds blog, which is perfect for sharing on a LinkedIn Page.
For more inspiration, follow Pages like….
- (state/province) Tourism & Events Queensland, Australia
- Visit Philadelphia (disclosure – we worked with Visit Philly staff on getting started building a stronger LinkedIn presence.)
- The Fredericksburg, Texas CVB
- (regional) Roanoke Valley/Virginia’s Blue Ridge
- A convention center example from Helsinki, Finland – Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre
- (state/province economic development) The Georgia Department of Economic Development
- Visit Newport Beach Inc. in California
- Hamilton County, Indiana Tourism
- (regional) Tourisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean, Québec, Canada
- Discover Albany, New York
(Update – we met with LinkedIn reps at the 2019 SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive tech conference, and they showed us this helpful resource for your tourism partners – The 11 Best Small Business LinkedIn Pages We’ve Ever Seen.)
5) Cross-Promote & Integrate LinkedIn
To grow your following (on any social platform, not just LinkedIn) make sure that you integrate social across your marketing, and do some cross-promotion.
Mention and link to your LI Page as part of connecting social media with your email newsletter. Even better, tell people why they should follow you there, and link to a few of your recent most popular and engaging LI posts.
Make sure that your paper info packets for meeting planners and tour operators include your Page URL and why they should follow you there.
Tell followers about it on other social media, again with an explanation of why, for example, a Facebook Page follower might want to also follow your LinkedIn Page. Be clear about what you post, and how often.
(This is why you don’t want to share the exact same content across multiple social channels, especially at the exact same time. The audiences are different, and if people know they’re going to see the same stuff everywhere, then why would they follow you in more than one place?)
In summary, for a more successful LinkedIn Page for tourism, you need to set goals for it, do the work needed to establish a presence, grow followers, and keep engaging those followers with useful updates. Check your analytics and metrics often, to see if what you’re doing is working. Analyze your LinkedIn Page Analytics and website Google Analytics traffic data and refine your efforts accordingly (do more of what works.)
Do you have questions, ideas, or tips about LinkedIn? Tell us down in the Comments….
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Today’s the Day for the February #tourismchat on Twitter
Today (Tuesday, February 26 at 9 p.m. Eastern, a night chat for many and a morning chat for Australia and Asia) is the monthly #tourismchat on Twitter.
We’re proud to be part of the chat organizing team.
Our February topic is growing music tourism in your town, and the guest chat host is our own Leslie McLellan /@LeslieMcLellan on Twitter.
Here is the Event page for the chat; tell us you’re coming!
Chats are a great way to get a LOT of value out of Twitter in just an hour.
We’ve also tried a Facebook Live #tourismchat, about email marketing, and plan to do more of those for future chats.
There will be a chat transcript (here are transcripts from previous chats) if you can’t make the live event at 9pm Eastern on Twitter, but it’s really more fun to attend in person.
See you there?