When collaborating with DMOs and CVBs to improve their social media strategy, I've found a few key things that successful accounts get right. I've put together five social media tips that destinations can quickly implement to elevate their social media accounts.
1) Create a Strategy & Actively Listen.
Many times, social media falls on someone's already-full plate, and they don't have the capacity to create a social media strategy, nor listen to their audience and evolve accordingly. Don't let the word "strategy" overwhelm you. This doesn't have to be an intense, in-depth report. Take time to see what posts your audience is engaging with the most, and the least.
What visuals get the most likes? What captions gain the most feedback? What types of content is most engaging: single image, carousels, links, reels? Create a document showcasing what works the best on each platform. In the same document, jot down your content buckets: dining, activities, nature/outdoors, history, shopping, art/museums, whatever is unique to your destination. Refer back when creating content for the week, as this guide will spark content ideas and provide a guideline of what will perform best. And, if something isn't working, don't force it.
2) Have a Consistent Brand Identity.
I've come across destinations that have had different logos from Instagram to Facebook to Twitter, inconsistent bios/about sections, and even different websites. If that's confusing for me, imagine visitors! Having a consistent brand (logo, bio, hashtag, website, etc.) across platforms helps users find your destinations, establishes credibility, and creates trust. Plus, it's a quick fix.
Take a look at each of your social platforms and update as needed to stay consistent with your destination's brand. Also, think about your website: make sure your social accounts are easily accessible and have the correct links.
3) Ditch Graphics.
Show off your destination with the best images possible. A 2017 survey by Schofields Insurance found that 40% of millennials choose their next destination based on how socially shareable (or 'Instagrammable') their pictures will be. This is huge for DMOs to realize. That's why it's important to be picky on this platform. Graphics usually get the least amount of engagement, and you've missed a chance to show potential visitors your destination. Plus, the brain process images 60,000 times faster than text.
If you have to share a graphic, use it as a second picture in carousel, leading with a strong visual. Speaking of carousels, keep on posting them!
4) Say "Hello" To UGC.
This tip should be #1, that's how important user-generated content (UGC) is to destination's social media efforts. Visitors are looking for authentic experiences, and you can share that with them via your accounts. Follow local photographers, explore Instagram places and hashtags, and pay attention to what people tag you in. You're sure to find great visuals of your location. "Save" them in the app so you don't lose them, ask permission to repost, and when you're ready, download the image to post (no screenshots). Look for beautiful shots of your destination's iconic areas, charming downtown scenes, delicious food, people enjoying nature, and more!
5) Announce New Business Openings.
Your local community will eat this up. Announcing new shops, restaurants, businesses, hotels, murals, and parks will not only keep your local community informed, but also show your destination's growth, generate excitement, and support your partners in one easy post.
These five tips will set your DMO on the right social media track. My goal is to help DMOs and CVBs represent the heart and soul of their destination on social media, inspire people to visit, and engage in conversations with locals. I hope you've left with a valuable tip to improve your destination's efforts.