How to use LinkedIn for destination marketing
A lot of CVBs and DMOs are asking us about the best ways to use LinkedIn for destination marketing, especially on the B2B and Sales side. Let’s give you some content ideas and real-world examples.
It’s great to see so much interest. After all, LinkedIn is the biggest social media business network and professional development site in the world.
We give you a lot of information in our popular blog post about how to build a successful LinkedIn Page for tourism marketing, but we think it’s time for even more tips and ideas.
But first, as always, start at the top
Do not jump onto this (or any) social media platform without asking some version of these questions:
1) How will adding an active LinkedIn presence (both in staff personal LI profiles, and the DMO/brand/organization’s LinkedIn Page) support your overall strategy and your specific marketing goals for the next 12 to 36 months?
2) Are your markets there? Your visitors, guests, or customers? Yes, meeting planners are on LinkedIn, but so are a lot of people. Yes, it’s a B2B opportunity, but a reminder…
Social media is a powerful set of tools for sales leads; it helps you build relationships, qualify prospects, and nurture leads. You can try to make more direct offers when the timing is right, but understand that the culture does not tolerate the hard sell.
If you show up on social media only to make pitches and close deals, you will fail, because you’re “making the ask” before building trust and relationships.
3) Do you have the time and resources to add LinkedIn to the work you’re already doing? Is there a less-productive activity that you need to drop, so that LI can fit into your workflow?
4) Especially if you are a tourism partner, are you first taking care of what we call The 2 Things online marketing basics before doing anything else?
—->> A DMO example of doing more with LinkedIn, from Gathan Borden with VisitLEX (Lexington, Kentucky) –
“We started with going through all of the sales team’s profiles and having them updated with headlines, About me, etc. Our VisitLEX LinkedIn Page performs well, gets good engagement and a nice amount of impressions too. We share the same type of content on there we do on our other social channels, we just don’t post as frequently… mostly once a week.
Once a post is made, we hit that ‘notify employees’ button so the staff can then go in and share the Page post [over to their personal LinkedIn profile, which increases engagement, similar to sharing from Page to profile on Facebook.]
The money piece is beneficial for sales managers (once group business comes back) through LinkedIn Sales Navigator [a paid feature.]”
Gathan is right about not needing to post as frequently on LinkedIn (yay – less work!) Content is “stickier” there; we often see engagement with posts on our Tourism Currents LinkedIn Page weeks after posting.
Ideas for what to post on your LinkedIn Page
Your specific marketing goals and who you are trying to reach must drive your social media content decisions, on LinkedIn or any other digital platform.
Our most important advice is to have a holistic approach to your LinkedIn Page content.
Yes, tourism B2B information like meetings venues, conference servicing, motorcoach details for tour operators, etc. plus economic development news are all fine, but there’s a human at the other end of your posts. That human wants to hold a meeting or tour in a destination that sings with possibilities.
Do not feed them the usual dry, dull B2B content in your posts.
Conference attendees of course switch from business/conference traveler to leisure traveler (“bleisure”) while they’re in your destination (maybe they even brought their kids) so definitely include content that shows off why someone would want to see your town, city, region, or state outside of the convention center or meeting.
Analyze your LinkedIn Page Analytics and website Google Analytics traffic data and refine your content efforts accordingly (do more of what works.)
More Page post ideas for LinkedIn for destination marketing:
** New hotels, attractions, parks, and restaurants opening in your destination, or significant improvements, re-design, or upgrades to any of them.
** Job openings at the DMO, or at major tourism partners.
** Economic development news – a new business coming to town, expansion of a current business, local entrepreneurial activity, downtown development and activity. Tag your EDC, Chamber, or Main Street/downtown LI Page, if they have one.
** Significant media mentions of the destination, tourism partners, local celebrities, or local community movers-and-shakers (including your Board and local ambassadors.) Be sure to tag the media outlet’s LinkedIn Page, if they have one.
** Mix up your media. Don’t make everything a link post. Try a poll, or stand-alone photos, photos with a graphic overlay using something like Canva, short video, ask to have LinkedIn Live video livestreaming capabilities for your Page, and (Power Move Alert!) consider re-purposing some of your blog posts as Articles published from your LI Page (this feature used to be available only from personal LI profiles.)
You can also create a Page post that allows people to download documents. Click the “Add a document” option when you start drafting a post. We’ve had terrific engagement when we’ve shared some checklists, tip sheets, and survey results summaries.
** Transportation improvements that also benefit visitors, like airport improvements, or new bus, trolley, streetcar, train, bicycle, or scooter service.
** Media visits, familiarization tours, and press trips, particularly how staff and locals showed off your destination.
** DMO staff activity at travel trade shows, conventions, conferences, especially if they won awards, or were speakers or sponsors.
** Whenever DMO staff or significant locals are featured in a media story, including as guests on podcasts, TV, or radio shows. Be sure to tag the media outlet’s LinkedIn Page, if they have one.
** When a significant conference is in town (especially one that you’ve booked) mention it. Tag the association or organization’s LinkedIn Page.
** In continuous rotation: periodically encourage sign-ups for your email newsletter, re-share your most popular and evergreen blog posts, and invite follows on your other brand social platforms.
—->> Some more DMO LinkedIn Page content suggestions, including sports tourism, from Chris Joy with Florida’s Sports Coast –
“I post all of our video content, repurpose our Facebook Live videos, blog posts, any press or news stories about us or other destination highlights, sports stuff happening here (we have a lot of amateur tournaments), FAM content, paid partnership stuff such as Atlas Obscura and Matador Network, and so on. The other day I posted a nice sunrise. I link to our other social channels occasionally too. That amounts to 2-3 posts/week.
Partners, other industry types and staff connections are probably most of our Florida’s Sports Coast LinkedIn Page audience. We went from 7 to 275 in the last year. It’s growing faster than we expected and is a great way to reach partners beyond emails.
We definitely have LinkedIn connections with meetings and especially sports – which is huge in our destination. We get tagged in posts from sports trade groups, by governing bodies, tournaments and so on. Our Sports Director is pretty active on there.
Feels like there’s untapped potential to reach an audience with a lot of spending power, plus a lot of the content isn’t a good fit for Instagram or Facebook.”
(Update with another DMO example) —->> From Rachel Semik with the Tempe, Arizona Tourism Office:
“On the Tempe LinkedIn Page, we post blog content from our website, video links from our YouTube, and community updates from our partners. We do have targeted meeting planner content, which is also good, as our LinkedIn Page is an extension of our sales team.”
At Tourism Currents, we see so much potential in LinkedIn for destination marketing, and it’s still an “early bird gets the worm” situation. If powering up on LinkedIn makes sense for your marketing goals, give it a try.
Contact us if you’d like us to do an LI audit for you, and then work with you to improve your LinkedIn presence and impact. We are fully vaccinated and ready to help you with the travel rebound.
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