Practical social media strategy for tourism based industries

A few days back I was asked by Bukidnon Provincial Tourism Office to talk on blogging and social media as an engagement tool for their provincial tourism office. Bukidnon provincial tourism office is composed of 20 strong municipal tourism offices each with their own set of staff. This office is also of staging the famous Kaamulan Festival, one of the truly ethic festivals I’ve seen in recent memory. If there’s a few take home points I want them to study and implement, these should it be.

“All right, stop, collaborate and listen!”- A Vanilla Ice-Ice Baby social media strategy.

Whatever you’re doing on social media now,

Stop:

Formulate a social media strategy

Whatever you campaign are- information drives, engagements, networking, promotions, feedbacks, the success of such activities depend heavily on a well planned social media strategy. This should be the first step. What constitute your social media strategy? The succeeding steps will tell you

Identify and roll out  measurable objectives

Are you going for an info drive? a promotional campaign? Tourism branding? Site feedback? Write it out clearly and make sure everybody in your team knows this by heart. Remember you can only measure what you’ve set out to do in the first place.

Identify your target audience

It’s pretty obvious who will be your target audience when you’re using social media as your channel of communication and feedback. While its true social media cut across age, gender, society or political boundaries, some are more accessible than others.  Digital natives are a lot easier to convince than technophobics.

Choose your social media channel and set up accordingly.

The social media channels is usually dependent on your objectives and target audience. Start with the 3 basic Social media accounts, Facebook, Twitter. Instagram then expand to other platforms once your are comfortable with it. I would also recommend a blog where to pour your content in. This should be your main platform where your audience will go to when they need more information on the campaigns you are staging.

Set up your metrics

If you are dipping yourself into social media engagements, you better be prepared to set up metrics for listening, monitoring and or measuring your campaigns.  These are all part of an efficient social media strategy. Would you monitor your brand? listen what your audience have to say about your campaigns?

Collaborate:

Publish and share useful content!

Whatever your social media platform is, content is king.  A well thought out and targeted content beats the crappy haphazardly posted content. Remember social media is about engagement not just promotion. The good thing about social media is that it can be your feedback channel too, and hence a very powerful tool to shape campaigns or revise a campaign plan.

Network with other like minded ambassadors

I cannot overemphasize collaboration and networking on social media. Aim for engagement. Brand your content, comment on various other platforms and introduce yourself if you are not yet known. There’s no shortcut to doing this.  Build the habit of engaging other like minded social media advocates whenever possible. It builds credibility and identity for your brand.
Measure using social media metrics

Listen:

While listening is part of the social media engagements metrics, it’s a good first step to amplifying social media strategy. Listening implies monitoring and monitoring means, your looking for telltale signals to improve your social media activities. It may be on feedbacks, what other people say about your campaigns, brands or site. When continuously done, it gives you an efficient and valuable tool to fine tune strategy, revise social media activities, or launch entirely a new one.

All this listening and monitoring is aimed at achieving and or sustaining engagement, the “holy grail” of social media activities. Wether it be brand loyalty, attention retention and so forth. Again the kind of listening and monitoring methods you should employ depends on your social media strategy’s objectives, the target audience or market, social media activities.  On facebook page for example, link likes, or posting comments mean more as a listening tool. On your blog a comment maybe a better way to monitor loyalty.

Measuring up success in social media is something a bit more of the end game. Knowing you’ve achieve (or not) something based on your predefined objectives is a bit new to social media activities but it definitely signifies a well thought out and efficient social media strategy!

van

(Vanilla Ice’s photo courtesy of AOLTV)

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