Social media is now an important part of the marketing mix for African travel organisations.
The vast majority of businesses now have some form of social media presence.
My company, Ginger Juice, has been supporting WTM Africa’s social media activity for the last six months. We’ve seen some brilliant social media and some not-so-good.
The biggest challenge is a lack of strategy. Many organisations invest time and energy on social media but often it lacks strategic focus and poor delivery.
Here are 8 social media tips for the African travel industry:
1. Build your audience
Many African tourism organisations are producing brilliant content on social media, but few people are seeing it.
We recommend taking time to actively follow, mention and engage with relevant profiles to increase the potential audience for your content.
Also, make it easier for people to follow you. We’ve seen many travel websites with social media icons tucked away; out of sight – or not even there at all. Ensure all your email communication has your social media profiles listed. Every little helps!
2. Don’t sell (too often)
Too many African travel organisations treat social media like a blunt sales tool.
Social media marketing will not deliver a huge amount of business from selling direct. However, it will help you expose your brand, build credibility, drive web traffic and give consumers confidence in buying from.
As a rough guide, consider sticking to the 70/20/10 rule:
70% of your social media posts should be adding value; be helpful and interesting
20% should share other people’s ideas and posts
10% should be about you or your organisation
3. Treat Twitter Differently
Many organisations make the mistake of trying to ‘kill two birds with one stone’; by linking their Facebook to their Twitter account. The effect is often ugly and unengaging.
If you are going to maintain a Twitter page, it is best to treat is as an independent platform, not an add-on to Facebook.
4. Use more images
Africa arguably has the most eye-catching images of all, but too often, travel suppliers and tourism boards choose to not include images in their posts.
Ideally, you should be looking to include an image in EVERY single post. People scroll through their smart phones at high speed – you need to be creating posts that are ‘scroll-stoppers’.
5. Don’t over-stretch yourself
We’ve seen many African travel suppliers with five or six social media icons on their website. Looks impressive. However, on closer look, there’s been little or no activity on most of them.
Concentrate on being effective on one or two platforms; you’ll spread yourself too thin otherwise.
6. Business Blogging
It’s great to see many businesses with their own blogs – especially in the Safari sector. However a significant number of African travel businesses are missing a trick by not having a corporate blog.
Having a blog can provide serious marketing & commercial benefits for EVERY type of business. A recent report by Hubspot said that 79% of businesses with a blog had a reported positive a return of investment. The same report claimed that nearly half of all businesses had acquired customers because of their blog.
Blogging is great for business as it helps boost your rankings on Google (especially if you link your blog pages to your Google+ account). Blogging helps build credibility, generates leads (via subscribers) and helps amplify your company news.
7. Be mobile friendly
Remember that that vast majority of people will see your social media post via a smart phone or tablet.
It is vitally important to make sure your posts are mobile friendly. Use fabulous images and accompany them with short, pithy text and one simple call-to-action.
Gone are the days when you could reach all your fans with one single Facebook post.
Facebook now restricts how many people see your post, so that as little as 5% of you OWN fans will be allowed to see what you’ve posted.
You should consider using a little of your marketing budget to promote your page & posts to a wider audience. Even US$ 50 a month can make a huge difference to your reach.
Good luck and enjoy WTM Africa!
Managing Director of Ginger Juice – a social media agency dedicated to travel & tourism