#Instawoes? User Generated Content could be your answer!

Instagram is one of the most visual social media channels and when used correctly, it can be one of the most engaging, which is why its no surprise that most travel industry businesses have an account set up already, but gaining and keeping followers can prove tricky!

One of the hardest things about having a company instagram account is keeping it alive with differing and regularly updated content, if this content all comes from one angle (aka one person) it can get boring… FAST. Not only will you then lose followers but you’ll become irrelevant in your particular industry.

User generated content is becoming increasingly popular in the travel industry, especially with content driven channels like instagram. This amazing article by Buffer gives their experience with user generated content.

UGC comes in a huge variety, here are some examples:

  • Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 5.26.58 pmSharing a users photo
  • photo contests
  • reviews

What most businesses normally do is take the absolute best user content from the web and use it on their own social media channels, obviously giving credit to the creator of this content. Many travel industry businesses are already doing this, as Air New Zealand shows above, this photo received 2.1k likes! Yet the business didn’t have to fork out money for a photographer to shoot this, and it was a travellers real life experience which gains trust from other users.

Chances are, you’ve probably seen and been inspired by user content before without even being aware! The variation and quality you can find with UGC is incredible. UGC provides top quality content for your customers, takes the stress away from social media marketers from having to generate their own content, and still keeps you in control of what your putting on your social channels.

Screen Shot 2016-05-28 at 5.50.33 pmThere’s also a huge amount of engagement generated from UGC, your followers will increase significantly with the right content and you will see more interaction between users compared to posting the businesses own photos. UGC allows your brand to connect to its audiences in a whole new way, interact with them, give them credit for telling their own story!

Some research by Crowdtap indicates that some trust UGC 50% more than other types of content and buffer was able to increase their instagram following by 60% when they started using UGC.

You also can’t be everywhere at once, yet this form of marketing enables you to share content from all over the world from a users perspective, making it perfect for customers thinking about booking their travel with you to see what a particular destination is really like!

FYI: Its important to set some objectives when experimenting with this type of content, making sure that your brands message is consistent across all content. These three articles listed below explain the do’s and don’ts of using UGC, have a read if your still not convinced.

http://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/examples-of-user-generated-content#sm.0000nafqxn1c3yf83uxes6wp9qjr9

https://econsultancy.com/blog/66739-how-user-generated-content-is-changing-content-marketing/

Rights Management 101: The Do’s and Don’ts of User-Generated Content

 

 

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TICK TOCK…How to boost your social media in 60 minutes or less

 

TIME

You can never have enough of it! And in the social media world, things change in an instant! You can go from having 1000 facebook likes to 50,000 over night, as well as the dreaded reverse.

There are many simple, easy to improve things on all social media strade-time-for-moneyites that lots of businesses have overlooked or rushed past when setting up, yet have a direct impact on reaching your audience and could potentially give your brand a bad rep.

This fantastic article by Ash Read, lists and explains 15 ways to boost your social media in under an hour, which could make a huge difference to many travel industry businesses.

On majority of travel industry social media accounts images play a very large part in engaging your audience and attracting more visitors, likes and shares. Yet there are many businesses who fail to ensure their profile images are the correct sizes.

YES something so simple is often skipped when creating accounts and makes the business look highly unprofessional.

Click here for a detailed cheat sheet to all the current sizes….your welcome! social-media-profile-picture-image-size

As social media platforms change in popularity all the time, its very common to have many different social media pages (some that may not be used as much as you used to i.e. Myspace) however its still very important to ensure branding is up to date. Even if your not using it regularly its still the internet (and going to be there a long time unless you do something about it) and anyone could find it!

AND AGAIN I REPEAT…HOW UNPROFESSIONAL old branding looks when a potential customer is trying to do a bit of research on which tour company they want to book with. To continue to build credibility as a brand andspring-cleaning-no-pattern business you must ensure consistency across all platforms, keep them up to date and relevant to ensure a good brand image is maintained.

Now the last point I want to touch on that the article highlights is using analytics, be it facebook insights, Twitter analytics or anything else. Analytics are generally quite easy to use and provide valuable information in relation to your performance, the type of audience you are and aren’t reaching and can highlight problem areas easily and make sure your social media gets you the results you were after in the first place!

There are 12 other EASY things you can do in this article to make big differences to majority of your social media platforms, I would encourage all travel businesses to give it a read and brush up on these few simple things!

Quick and simple folks.

And if your still not convinced these things can help your travel industry business, have a read of a few other similar articles below:

  1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnrampton/2014/09/22/7-free-ways-for-boosting-your-social-media-engagement/#5191b9b52562
  2. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/248674
  3. https://blog.bufferapp.com/quick-wins-social-media-marketing

 

 

 

 

Live stream to keep your audience keen

AHEM, attention content writers..

If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many is a video worth? The answer…

TWO MILLION WORDS (in a 1 minute video)

Images play a huge part in the travel industry, after all, what drives you to go Hot_Air_Balloons_Cappadocia.jpgsomewhere more than an incredible picture that you’ve seen where you mentally add the place to your ever growing bucket list!
If a picture first entices you, think how much more a video would motivate you to go and make that trip happen! Video has the power to see so much more in a shorter time frame and really experience a place.

Picture this… live streaming, from ANY location, to see what the place is really like! What you could eat, see, do and discover! Technology has allowed us to take that next step and gifted us with live streaming.

 

This fantastic article by Rebekah Radice explains the most overlooked (but simple) ways to use live streaming video to your businesses advantage, allowing you to connect with your audience on another level, you can’t go wrong with these stats!

  • online video viewing = 50% of all mobile traffic
  • video drives 157% increase in organic traffic from search engines
  • 90% of online shoppers said they find retailer videos helpful when making buying decisions.

snapThere are many different platforms off which to live stream but choosing one will depend on your target audience and your goals you wish to achieve whilst streaming. Some quite popular ones being periscope (owned by twitter), Meerkat, Facebook live and snapchat. For example, snapchats main audience is aged under 25.

 

The travel industry has had huge success with snapchat, especially with “festival followers”. Take Drew Binksy who has over 35,000 followers over his social media accounts and uses snapchat to live stream music festivals from around the world. Someone like Drew has huge potential for travel businesses to sponsor/partner with him and gain a whole new set of customers (influencer marketing-read more about this here).

In the article she also talks about some other ways to use live streaming to benefit your business such as:

  1. Creating an interview series- to contribute to your brand story/image and make it feel more personal.
  2. Giving a sneak peak-on up and coming promotions, specials or sharing big news for the business to gain hype and momentum.
  3. Live stream events in real time-make everyone feel like they are THERE at the travel expo hanging out with you at your businesses booth meeting people. Facebook live is perfect for this. 

All of these things contribute to customer engagement! An engaged customer is going to BUY more frequently, SPEND more in one transaction and BECOME more loyal to your brand, the value of this being priceless!

If your still not convinced live streaming can benefit your business here are some other articles to have a read of:

1: http://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2015/12/16/the-benefits-of-using-live-streaming-to-brands/#7b9c3e986431

2: https://www.postplanner.com/blog/how-to-use-live-streaming-video/

3: http://smallbiztrends.com/2016/02/facebook-live-examples-streaming-video.html

Influencer Marketing – your new traffic driving hero?

Marketing has changed drastically in the last ten pjsyears with the changes in technology, the introduction of social media and the masses of information all available online. Power is now in the customers hands, anything and everything is one google search away! HURRAH for the customer who can now spend their Saturdays in their PJ’s (as it was always meant to be) rather than getting up and going in to a travel agency to ask a few questions about their dream vacation.
SO…how do businesses in the travel industry embrace these changes, remain successful and make money? Gone are the days of paid advertisements in todays content driven travel industry, they will no longer keep your business relevant, nor support your current business goals.

This article by Antonio Tooley simply explains how to use influencer marketing to boost your traffic and conversions. He highlights the importance of:

A) Knowing who your audience is.

B) Their social media preferences/patterns.

C) The creative uses a third party (an influencer within that industry) can provide.

Okay, so your a travel business and have embraced the new technologically developed world, you’ve got a website filled with fantastic educational content, a Facebook page and even an Instagram account yet you have barely any traffic to these? WHY?!

Okay, I’ll tell you. One word…           TRUST

y1qrhuyAs Tooley’s article says:

“people no longer turn to companies to inform them about what they want or need, they look to other people whose influence and expertise is valued among other users”

He suggests if your goals is to get more traffic to your sites and covert them into paying customers you need be where your customers will be and have the support of the people that matter within that industry.

There are millions of well trusted/respected influencers within the travel industry, be it travel bloggers, Vloggers or instagram stars.

Step 1: Start to build a relationship with these people, make the right connections with the right people.

Step 2: Adjust your brand around the content they are publishing.

Step 3: Promote their content on your social media pages and in turn they will hopefully promote yours.

By following these steps the customer is becoming aware of your brand via a well known, trustworthy and  most importantly INDEPENDENT source. Just to be clear, they ain’t getting paid to promote, but thats not to say a little thank you doesn’t go a long way. #travelblogtruth – If your interested in the importance of trustworthy content have a read.

trafficTherefore by leveraging off these influencers you will gain more traffic and become relevant in the travel industry once more.

Travel industry marketers –  once again I will repeat, paid ads have little power left. Embrace the change or get left behind.

If your still not convinced of the advantages of influencer marketing here’s a few more articles to read…

  1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2015/09/22/how-to-use-influencer-marketing-to-boost-traffic-and-sales/#420bde4542c2
  2. http://www.seraphscience.com/influencer-marketing/
  3. http://blog.wishpond.com/post/65540766079/influence-marketing-how-to-build-relationships

Did someone pay you to say that? Travel Blog Truth.

Travelling is fantastic but lets face it, it comes with ALOT of prep.

 

Step 1: Research, there goes your “me time” after work re-watching your favourite episodes of Friends. Once you decide to travel you’re going to spend a good three months (if you’re anything like me) researching where to go, what to do, where to stay, who to book with, the decisions are endless. You might find yourself completely in love with the sound of a specific place but the question you find yourself constantly asking is what is this place really like? ENTER TRAVEL BLOG.

woman_computer_annoyedA good travel blog post can be your hallelujah chorus at 3am in the morning when your STILL tossing up about whether the place to “find yourself” (in a two week annual leave limit) will be in Laos or Vietnam. Decisions, decisions. Some how this blog post AKA god, has answered every single question you can think of, provided the real life experience you just needed to read UNTIL…right at the bottom of the post you see those dreaded words “AND shout out to “XXX” for the free trip!”

 

HUH, WHO, WAIT WHAT THE?! YOU MEAN THEY WEREN’T JUST SOUL SEARCHING ON THIS TRIP.


sugar

Ulterior motive alert…are you being paid to sugarcoat the crap out of this? 

This article by copy blogger explains 10 rules for creating content people can trust and I think most travel industry blogs could gain more credibility (and not to mention bookings) by following these rules.

Take for example, Rule #1 Include other voices and Rule #8 Provide context…YES blogging is a very personal thing and for the most of it you are writing from your own perspective, but come on how hard would it be AND how helpful would it be to include someone, other than your own, opinion? you could:

Talk to other travellers:  quote them in! Include a bit about them, give us readers another direct opinion on the area without having to read another blog! A one stop shop, one could say.

traveller w local

Talk to the locals: 
what are they like? are they friendly enough to be quoted in your blog? Should I be scared of them? Do they like tourists being around? what’s the rudest thing they have ever seen a tourist do? Are there areas I should or shouldn’t go?!

 

 

Now, I ain’t gonna go saying that if someone offered to pay me to travel around the globe and write about it that I would turn them down…P.S. HELLO IM RIGHT HERE PICK ME…but travel companies investing in this type of content marketing need to be concerned with the honesty and reliability of their blog, your brands reputation is at stake here and in todays social media driven world we’ve all heard that story about one bad review ruining a brands reputation.

 

Bottom line…don’t get paid to sugar coat. Do your conscience a favour and tell it like it really is.

 

#Travelblogtruth