Chapter 3 of my book Digital Media covers the What of Content Marketing in some detail. Naturally content has to be published. Chapter 4 of Digital Media Marketing Hotels Tourism is about “Spreading the word: What When Where”. This review covers several option several options for spreading the word and promoting your content, your product and service and your travel brand. It looks at social media distribution, promotion, video marketing, syndication and press releases. Social media has had a huge impact on hospitality and the travel industry so that where we start and end the review of chapter 4 of Digital Media, book 2 in the series Marketing Hotels and Tourism.
Be Everywhere Your Prospects Are
Mike Keonigs coined the phrase “YouEverywhereNow” several years ago: It is as true today as ever. Social Media is where you can be and should be everywhere. You need to be where your prospects are. That means being on the social network where they search for content, interact with brands, friends and people with like interests. Social media may not get you on top of Google as it used to, but it is an alternative that has grown substantially in popularity and impact. As Niel Patel says, Google does not care where your content is so put it everywhere. If you have a video put it on Instagram, on Facebook, Linkedin, Scoopit and on other video channels like Vimeo and Dailymotion. Be Everywhere Now.
I have studied with Mike Keonigs and followed Neil Patel for many years. They are both leader in internet marketing with a deep understanding of social media as it has evolved over the years. Mike is credited as the pioneer of video marketing and has written many best selling books on marketing. What I have learned about digital media is a result of following leaders like these and by implementing and testing strategies that I apply to hospitality, hotels and tourism marketing today. My series of books on hotel & tourism marketing puts it all into context with easy to read and practical examples that can be implemented right way.
Social Media Impact on Tourism
Today travelers engage with social sites to research trips, get honest reviews and to get recommendation on what destinations to visit, where to stay and what to do. They use social media to help informed decisions about their vacations. They also share their personal experiences which are informative and helpful to others. It may be about a destination, a hotel, a restaurant or an airline.
Sensis Social Media Report shows that “79% of internet users have a social media account, 35% check social media more than five times per day and 10% use social media to research holiday and travel offers”. According to the study Social media is most effective early in a traveller’s shopping phase. For travelers who are still deciding where to go and what option they may choose Social media can help fill in the gaps.
In Fact Sprout Social estimates that 52% of travellers are so influenced by social media that they changed their travel plans.
For hotel and tourism marketers, journalists and authors, it has made a huge difference. Peter Jon Lindburg writing for Travel + Leisure in 2009 explains how it was then: “As a journalist who writes about travel, I can’t begin to count the upsides to this earth-flattened age we’re in. I’m on the road every month, yet I rarely have to leave home, if “home” means the familiarity of RSS updates and NBA scores and Funny or Die clips, and having my entire social circle a mere button-touch away”.
There is just so much information now. in 2009 there were just 25 million reviews on Tripadvisor. Today it has 435 million reviews with eight million listings for restaurants, hotels, vacation rentals and attractions. There are so many places to get information that it can be overwhelming. That’s where social media is supposed to help. by letting you connect with getting information from people you know and trust. That why hoteliers and tourism marketers needs to reach out and share information everywhere. Information is now so abundant that people tend to use channels they are familiar with and that where you need to be.
The Deep Dark Web – How AI is Influencing Travel Decisions
It is a bit troubling when you think of the invasive qualities of Social Media: It certainly is not benign. It goes far deeper than a platform to share and communicate. Facebook and many other social sites are gathering data about everything you do. There are personal bot engines tracking what you look at what you like, buy and what you don’t like. It is working to analyze buyer behavior and personality traits 24 hours a day for every day of the year. Pretty soon they have a very good picture of just who you are and are predicting character and attitudes to help match you up with the right advertisers.
It can be helpful in Personalizing a Vacation experience. Travel persona fare now being used by social media and travel brands. Pinterest has several Personas each is associated with keywords that help target travelers and match them with the person services.
But whats most worrying is that personal data has been sold to companies who use it in ways you don’t know and don’t want, as in the case of Cambridge Analytica.
Keep tuned for more on the deep dark influence of the web as it grows its personal data engine and analyses every person on earth. Its called Psycho Social Profiling and I’ll be adding a new blog on this shortly!
Syndication and Press Releases
Chapter 4 looks at Press Releases with specific examples and a review of the PR Services. It reviews the pros and cons of the leading services. Press Releases are a vital shout out in today’s noise filled media. Press Releases and syndication put your news in the top authority websites and create valuable credibility and backlinks for your brand. It’s available to all hotels and tourism companies regardless of size or status, from the world renowned Sandy Lane Hotel to the local Food Van Vendor.
Your content network is a strategic marketing resource and each part of it must be coordinated to create a lasting brand and your distinctive message. Press releases, syndication, publishing, blogging, video and social media are the main component of this network and each has a special purpose. Chapter 3 gives practical advise of the role of each in your storytelling and brand messaging. But all of that is only as good as its promotion and distribution. For that you need do promote the content with syndication and Presss Releases.
Several syndication and press release services are reviewed in the book. The strategy is to spread the word and amplify it with blogs, guest post, video, syndication and social media. Vut first lets consider how video factors into the social equation.
Next up is video – by many counts the most used and most popular of all social media – with YouTube leading the pack. Video options are reviewed in detail again with specific examples and recommendations to make the most of this vital content. In addition to YouTube, Chapter 4 gives special mention to Vimeo which could offer a number of features and advantages noted in the chapter. There are several others that should get a mention. Dailymotion videos rank well and their advertising and promo options are varied.
Not long ago there were dozens of video sites and videos were distributed by sharing them to social sites. Much of that has changed and now social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, etc., favour videos you load directly to their sites.
The trend now is to use video to entertain and engage audiences. BMW has a forward thinking attitude with its photography and video entertainment. It reaches audiences that are not confined to its traditional market of automobiles. The massive TV and online videos of Booking.com and its Booking.yeah campaign are highly entertaining and very tongue in cheek. The style of the new digital age is light and not self serving.
Amplification – Building a Social Index
The above example is the ultimate expansion of a very aggressive amplification campaign. It provide an insight into how information can be reformatted, repurposed and amplified. Its not suggested that you carry this out to the extreme as shown in the vide0.
Just pick 4 steps to start – blogs, videos, social media and syndication, are the prime building blocks. If that does not move the needle add a few guest posts. Later, if you are still not seeing the results you expect, add a pdf or info-graphics to slideshare.net and boost it with a social media blitz with bookmarks and social comments. Its always good to get a Google News Approved Guest Post and, if its newsworthy, do a Press Release.
Social Media Options Compared
For social media, Chapter 4 mentions Facebook and Instagram, the most popular social sites by members and users. There are many more, as you know. Their ranking varies on what metrics are used. The Fan Base gives us the rank, as noted on the chart here. Most Used and Most Popular are given different rankings. If you are looking at Internet Use, YouTube comes to the top of the list but for User Base and Popularity, Facebook is #1 as shown in the Digital Information World Chart here.
The strategy is to build a network of all pertinent sites. You can build networks for each target market and use them to share related events, projects and promotions. Google is still a huge factor in travel and social signals and activity still influence your ranking. Ultimately its a collaboration that wins the day.
Working with Google
Google is the worlds largest search engine and is the gateway for a large part of online travel planning. Whenever you search for a travel destination, flights, places to stay and things to do you enter a world of Google control. It used to be organic but now the top listing are to Google’s own channels and preferred suppliers. It’s increasingly self-serving. Still the largest search engine cannot be ignored. The OTAs know this: “Expedia spent about $5 billion last year on Google ads” (Forbes). According to Robert Cole, CEO of Rock Cheetah, quoted in the Forbes article “Google is the main source of traffic for hotels. And there’s not another channel where they can cost effectively replace that traffic.”
In my Book Series on marketing Hotels and tourism I talk about OTAs eating all your apples. They are taking direct business away from hotel and tourism operators as a result of their huge advertising budgets and massive choice. But Google is already playing in this field as a Meta-search engine and no one know for sure when that may transition to it becoming an OTA.
Chapter 4 of Digital Media does not study the entire range of social media for travel. It does not research specific accounts and their roles, benefits and disadvantages. We are adding bonuses on these for book buyers as there is much information we can add to help you plan a strategy. So keep watching this Markhat for blogs and bonus material.
Bonuses are listed on the site: MarketingHotelsTourismOnline.com/digitalmedia/
Chapter 4 Bonus Instagram Insights for Tourism
As part of that bonus, I am happy to offer some important tips on using Instagram. Instagram is now a hot channel for hotels, destination and travel brands and should be in every tourism site’s marketing plans. It’s like the best free brochure you can get anywhere. I am not personally an Instagram guru so I’ll simply share recommendations from others who are. One tip that worked well for me recently is sharing amazing photography from influencers. How to do that is Tip #3 in the list below.
You will notice that there are absolutely amazing photos on Instagram by some of the best photographers in the world. They set the pace for quality with highly polished images, often using sophisticated after effects, filters and optimization. According to the latest news, a CBC documentary concluded that there is a bit of a backlash to that, which is excellent. Today Instagram pages that are earthy and real are doing very well.
The Instagram Business site BarbadosTravel (for the destination Barbados.org) is trending well with 21,000 followers. It is a major tourism portal with good traffic and many followers of its own. Small businesses and personal accounts, however, often struggle to get meaningful traction.
1. Do not buy links and followers or use spammy automation tools.
2. Use approved tools – Examples are Buffer and Later. You can use these to schedule posts to many Instagram accounts.
I have several Instagram accounts and it is better to repost and share rather than uploading duplicate content. With Buffer, I can schedule posts to my personal Instagram account and then repost to several other accounts like LifestylesOfTheArtisan, my Book and others. See more about reposing after the tips.
3. Share amazing pictures from influencers.
I have found that this is a good way to boost your content and start to network with influencers. Remember that you must get permission to repost. Most Instagrammers will be delighted to get the extra exposure you might offer. However you should build up your content. Add quality videos and photography so that they see you are serious and credible. See How to Repost to Instagram at the end of the tips.
4. Set up an Instagram Business account and link it with Facebook. See: https://www.freelogoservices.com/blog/2018/02/20/how-to-set-up-an-instagram-account-for-your-business/
5. Promote your posts that are doing well. I ran a couple of Promos for my book at a cost of just $5 a day for 6 days. I got over 30,000 views and several clicks to my Amazon page. It gives you good exposure but ultimately, it’s what you you say in your profile and the content of your account that will get followers.
6. Use Hashtags Strategically. Here is a good resource to help you choose the right hashtags and shows you what to avoid: https://www.plannthat.com/how-to-find-instagram-hashtags/
7. Ask for Follows. Ask those who like your photos to follow you. I don’t do that but it’s a tactic that’s important if you really want to grow you followers. It is surprising to me that people who like your posts don’t automatically think to follow you but they do not even think of it. Once person who likes and comments on my account asked if we could network. I suggested we start by following each other and they did that immediately. You do have to ask.
How to Repost or Share an Instagram Photo or Video
I use this technique to repost amazing photos from professional photographers.
Find a photo you like, such as this spectacular photo below:
i. Click on the image you like to display options
ii. Click the 3 buttons on the top right of the photo (as in above)
1. Using Buffer to Schedule and Re-Post Videos and Photos
iii. Select the “Share to” option.
iv. Select Buffer (You will need to download Buffer on your phone and set it up in Buffer).
v. You can set up your Buffer to post direct or to post to your phone with a call to let you complete the post.
This is the most effective way I have found for what I want to do.
If you don’t have Buffer and don’t want to set it up, you can use an app like Repost App:
2. Repost App for Instagram
2 iii. In this case, in step iii above choose “Copy link”.
2 iv. Open the Repost app and it will be automatically posted to the app.
2 v. Select it and click Repost. This will open up Options.
2 vi. Select Instagram and follow the steps it presents.
2 vii. When you get prompted to Add a Caption, just click & paste.
All the tags and credits will be applied.
There are several repost apps. I have used Repost App for Instagram. It’s easy to use and fairly intuitive.
The free download gives you a limited number of reposts. I quickly ran out of free reposts and upgraded to the paid version for approximately $2.90 US.