Social media has become an integral part of consumer purchase journeys. The image below from emarketer.com shows the most popular social media activities that influenced online shopper behaviour in 2015.
Whilst purchasing through social is relatively low on the list, the prominence of social media as a tool for research shouldn’t be underestimated.
Here are 3 things to consider that'll help you make the most of the social opportunity:
Picking the right channel
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat, Google+, Tumblr, Reddit, Google+…and that’s just the big boys. Whereas once there were only a handful of options there are now so many more, which makes the decision of picking your channels all the for challenging.
So we propose a simple solution, you shouldn’t pick them. No we’re not suggesting you bring in a psychic, let your customers make the decision for you.
This will take a bit of an investment of your time but it will pay dividends. Take the time to understand your existing client base and where they are on social media. If you are just starting out, consider what your ‘ideal’ customer looks like and start looking for them on social.
For example; do you specialise in adventure holidays for young adults/students? Well you might want to consider getting yourself on SnapChat.
Spreading yourself too thin is just about the worst thing you can do on social media. Focus on one or two channels and commit to maintaining an active presence. This doesn’t just mean posting or retweeting the odd news article – create content for your audience and engage with your audience proactively.
If in doubt, focus on the big 3: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Know your platform
Properly understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the platform(s) you are using is really essential to you getting the most out of them.
Each channel can serve a purpose for your business. Here are some examples using those big 3 I mentioned earlier:
Twitter: Twitter is a great outreach tool for finding consumers talking about travel. It’s frequently use by travel agents as a customer support channel and is a popular place to distribute content links. Its character limit means you have to be succinct.
Facebook: Whilst Facebooks algorithms limit its organic reach potential it still remains the best place to engage and build relationships with consumers. If you’ve got a bit of money to spend on marketing (content or otherwise) Facebook has the ability to target spend based on interest which can be extremely effective.
Instagram: Travel is highly visual so it makes sense to get yourself on Instagram. Instagram provides a platform for you to create inspiration, motivation and build a visual identity for your brand.
There is an element of test-and-learn when you set out. Pay attention to what works on each channel and follow it up with more of the same.
Knowing the best times to be active/posting is also important, use this infographic from hubspot as your guide:
Give the people what they want
So you’ve got your channels all setup, people are starting to take notice and you’ve got a few fans/followers from sharing those curated news pieces. At this point you might be tempted to start posting about what you sell…Don’t.
People don’t like to be sold to, they smell it coming a mile off especially on social media. Unfortunately, the reason they can smell it coming is because most have experienced it. It generally won’t get you sales and you’ll find yourself haemorrhaging followers faster than you can say “check out these deals”. We recently created a list of content ideas that might help get your creative juices flowing.
Focus on what your audience wants and needs to know and how you can help them. Are they wondering where’s the best place to ski in Europe during March? Create a guide to the top resorts and share it with them. Or simply reach out to them on Twitter and answer them directly. This type of engagement can help to build you as an authority and pretty soon people will be knocking on your door for advice and for you to help them book their next trip.
Leave the ads where they belong; in the ad spaces. Engage with people as a person, build relationships. Sure it’s not quick but connections made in this way will be worth infinitely more to you and your brand.
Social media can be a real investment of your time. Here’s a list of time saving tools that can shave hours off your day – Hootsuite is one you’ll want to consider to help you out with social media.