Social media should support your strategy. Here’s how.

Hotel Pattee Perry Iowa Welsh Room decorative framed quilt (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Decorative quilted wall hanging in the Welsh Room at the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa (photo by Sheila Scarborough)

Make it make sense.

Ideally, everything you do on social media should support your overall strategy, and the goals you’ve set for your destination, attraction, or hotel.

Need an example?

Look at your simple business plan or organization’s strategic plan and the marketing communications goals to support it.

Let’s say that one of your 3-5 year goals is to increase off-season visitors in winter.

Perhaps you decide that one of the off-season visitor types you want to try to attract are quilters and fiber arts enthusiasts because you have a small quilt museum, a lively locally-owned downtown fabric store, and a growing barn quilt tour in your area.

Once you’ve identified a specific market, you need to think about where to find them and tell them about your offerings. An integrated marketing communications plan for that would include social media that is designed to reach quilters.

Now we’re down to the individual social channels, so stay focused.

Which social channels are popular with quilters?

One of them is Instagram, because it is so visual.

Now you can start planning to post photos from your Instagram account that will attract the attention of quilters.

Include images with colorful quilt patterns and fabrics, using hashtags that quilters follow like #quilting, #fiberart, and sometimes #mqg (Modern Quilt Guild, for more contemporary quilt designs.)

And there you have it – an example of individual social media posts tracking all the way back to your organization’s overall strategy and goals.

(Of course, if we’re honest, at one time or another we all throw up our hands, post a photo of pies or puppies, and call it a day. Just don’t do that EVERY day!)

Two-way conversations and Q&A with quilters on Twitter or Facebook also supports your goals; such direct visitor interaction is never a “waste of time.” Broadcasting posts, links, and photos is only part of the social communications package – answering questions and providing online visitor/customer service is probably even more important.

Here’s a visual example, using bicycle tourism as a marketing goal:

Tourism Currents slide screenshot of connecting strategy to marketing goal to specific social media post example bicycle tourism

Destination marketing – on social or otherwise – needs a real plan for WHY and HOW you’re doing it. We like to emphasize that “big picture” view when we lead in-person training workshops and conference breakouts.

Make it make sense!

What do you think? Is this example helpful to you? Let us know down in the comments….

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