Let's talk Social Media Advertising for your travel business...Everyone is on social media these days and it’s here to stay! With more and more people turning to social media to find authentic reviews and recommendations on travel products and services, businesses need to be sure that they are ahead of this curve as it’s moving fast.
Let's start with the bad news first. While 2/7 of the world’s population is actively using Facebook right now, it's tougher than ever to get your content noticed. Additionally, conversion rates for typical social media campaigns are slipping.
Now for the good news…Social Media Advertising (also known as paid social) provides the most cost-effective and scalable content promotion opportunity currently available online. And what's more, targeting options are making it possible to reach out to people at any point in their decision making journey. As a travel business, this is where the game is headed.
It is important to note though, that Social Media Advertising is quite different from other forms of social media engagement such as posting to your page, commenting on groups and sharing funny cat videos. Social Media Advertising is driven by a completely different strategy with different tools and outcomes.
Many travel businesses now rely on Social Media Advertising more than ever. It’s easily one of the biggest social media trends in 2018 and with space on user’s profiles becoming rapidly more valuable, you’ll want to be sure you know exactly how to get your message in front of the right people at the right time.
Here are our top 10 tips on how you should be doing just that…
1. Make a commitment to Social Media Advertising
Social Media Advertising is a lot like investing – it takes time for your investment to grow. If you treat your Social Media Advertising campaigns like a “get sales quick” scheme, you’re going to be disappointed. True, Social Media Advertising is great for getting your message in front of the right audience quickly, however you will still need to develop a relationship with that audience in order to turn them into loyal customers and clients - and this takes time. So, make a commitment that you’re going to stick with it, and you’ll see the rewards grow as you give people a chance to become more comfortable with you and your business.
2. Establish a goal before starting
Once you’ve decided that you’re going to commit to Social Media Advertising, the next step is to start planning and setting goals. This is really important as, not only does it give you a target to aim at, but it also gives you a scale by which you can measure your success. Picking a goal can be a bit tricky at first so here are a few ideas of what you might want to consider to get you started:
Increase Traffic: Social Media Advertising is perfect for directing a specific set of users to your website or other online assets like YouTube videos. Increasing the traffic to these sites will inevitably increase the effectiveness of those assets.
Increase Visibility: (Branding) Social Media Advertising is a great way to increase awareness of your travel buisiness, product or event – and the best part is that you can choose exactly who you want seeing your message.
Increase Engagement: This is a great way to test what kinds of posts work best for you and your audience. Social Media Advertising will put posts in front of people you know are right for your business and allow you to measure how well they interact (engage) with these posts. You can then rinse and repeat with the types of content that your audience engages with best and dispense with all the rest.
Increase Lead Generation: Use Social Media Advertising to identify the users that are most likely to become customers and clients and communicate with these new leads in the moments that matter to them the most. You can target people who are planning a trip, recently returned from a trip, or even just looking for a place to stay and things to do nearby. This will give your business a personal touch as well as an edge over your competition.
Increase Sales: Social Media Advertising is one of the most effective ways to drive sales online, whether it be online retail, hotel bookings, or any other travel services. Users who start their journey with you online have a much shorter path to purchase than with any other medium. Attracting the right people with Social Media Advertising will take your online sales to a whole new level!
3. Take it to the next level with Custom Audiences
One of the comments we get about Social Media Advertising is that it is really complicated to understand how to target an audience effectively. There are so many options that it’s all a bit confusing. Well, this is where custom audiences can really help you. Simply think of it as profiling your existing, happy customers in real life and using all of their attributes to find more people just like them on social media.
There are a number of ways you can profile people, but the best way to start is to think of 5-10 of your best customers and write down the following about them: Age, gender, interests, location, and average income. You can then use this info to create a Custom Audience and target your Social Media Ads to people who best match your existing customers.
4. Social Media Remarketing
Social Media Remarketing, on average, will boost engagement by 3x and increase conversion rates by 2x, all while cutting your costs by a third. This is one of the best parts of Social Media Advertising, and what sets it apart from other advertising mediums such as TV or radio ads. You can re-engage with people who have responded positively to your Social Media Advertising and take the conversation a step further. This is HUGE and allows you to develop a relationship with your audience and meet them where they’re at in their journey with you and your travel business.
You can also use Social Media Remarketing to test things like pricing – for example, if you notice that a person has proceeded to the booking process but abandoned their purchase, you could remarket to them by offering them a discount if they choose to complete their booking. The sky is the limit with Social Media Remarketing so be sure to make the most of it.
5. Simplify your message
The best messages aren’t the ones that have the most words or the most comprehensive description of your product or business features. Rather, the best messages are the ones that are simple, impactful and get to the point quickly and clearly. When designing an ad, make sure your design is message intensive and not copy intensive.
Don’t try to say everything at once. Try to identify a single pain point that your travel business is going to help solve then use strong images to support your storytelling and give your message visual appeal.
Check out this tip in action with this highly striking, visually impactful and message-heavy ad from RIU.
6. Target mobile users
More that half of global internet traffic happens on mobile. That's a huge deal! One common mistake that travel marketers make, is thinking that mobile users are the same as desktop users, just on the go. The truth is, a mobile strategy needs to be far more attentive to the fact that mobile is very personal, there are many more touch points to consider, mobile is location aware...and the list goes on.
Here's a great post to read if you want to dive really deep into the topic of mobile advertising.
7. Tailor your ad content to specific people
Not everyone in your target audience is the same even though they might all be potential customers. It is important to note and understand the differences between those you wish to target and tailor content that is relevant to them in your advertising. One of the beauties of Social Media Advertising is that you get to do just that. Unlike other media platforms, there is no need (or reason) to deliver one ad to your entire audience. So make the most of this feature by running multiple ads to different audience segments to ensure you’re saying the right things to the right people within your greater target audience.
8. Reach more prospects with Lookalike Audiences
Like Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences leverage your current customer list to find people who are similar to your current customers. Using Lookalike Audiences is another great way to bring down your ad cost while at the same time homing in on a relevant audience who are likely to be more receptive to your message.
9. Power tip - Combine Paid Search & Social Media Ads
This is a slightly advanced technique but can be like pouring gasoline on your online advertising fire.
Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSA) is an incredibly powerful tool which allows you to target search ads on Google to people who have recently visited your website. The results for this method are staggering with a general increase in click-through and conversion rates by 3x while also reducing cost-per-click by a third.
The only trouble though, is that RLSA ads, by definition, only target people who have already visited your website and so you can’t reach out to people who are unfamiliar with you. This is where Social Media Advertising comes in. It allows you to get the process started at a much cheaper rate and utilizes the power of social media targeting to get the right people to your website. Once they have arrived and seen what you have to offer, they may not have a need for your product or services right away, but when they do, and they come to Google to search, you will be able to engage with them at this critical point, and they will most likely remember you from your previous content.
10. Track campaign results to measure success
Success, by definition, requires some sort of measurement and this is why setting out your goals in step 2 is so very important. Social media platforms will have their own reporting tools, plus there are dozens of other products you can use such as Hotjar to further track user’s interactions with your ads. The most important part of the tracking process though, is that you are able to accurately measure each of your goals and see if you are improving over time or getting worse. You can also use the reporting tools to determine what type of messaging works best for your audience and what doesn’t.
Bonus tip: Be ready to respond to what your paid traffic is telling you.
Finally, before you press play on your ads, be sure you have a system in place that will allow you to respond to what the results of your Social Media Advertising is telling you. The real-time nature of this medium means that you will start to see results immediately. Be sure you have anticipated certain scenarios so that you know how to respond when the time comes. The quicker you can respond the more effective your Social Media Advertising efforts will be.
Why are you still reading? Shouldn’t you be getting your message out to the world and reaping the rewards? Let me guess: you don’t have enough time to properly implement everything you’ve just read about? And while you know this is exactly the kind of thing your travel business needs right now, you just can’t commit the time or resources necessary to do this properly.
Luckily, that’s where we come in. We’ve been in the business of getting a message in front of the right people for years! Not only do we use these exact techniques to communicate to and grow our own audience on Stray Along the Way, but we help others do the same for theirs. From small owner-run businesses to massive multinational corporations, we’ve done it all.
So if you need a help managing or improving your social media implementation, or even just want someone to help you get started get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org
You know this is what your business needs to get to the next level, and we can help you get there.