WRITTEN BY JAMES CAVE
Social media is usually seen as a silver bullet for businesses to achieve their marketing objectives. As well as helping to sell consumer products and promoting local events, social media can also be used to increase tourist trade during the low season.
Here are five great ways you can use social media to increase business.
Having an active presence on Twitter is a good way to increase your client base. During the low season you can schmooze with travel bloggers, who may then be open to you writing a guest post for them. You can also conduct searches for people talking about visiting your area. Jump in and suggest your own place of business; remember to be friendly. This isn’t a sales pitch; it’s the chance to build a relationship.
Offer money off codes to people following you on Facebook and Twitter to attract attention, gain business, and keep a loyal base of followers. Offering low season discounts is a successful strategy currently used by state tourism bureaus in the USA. Your followers are likely to use the discount codes as they will feel they’re getting an exclusive offer, and they’ll probably recommend you to any friends looking for an off-peak getaway.
With 750 million worldwide members, it would be negligent not to consider Facebook advertising. Paid adverts on Facebook cost very little when compared with Google, and you can target your ads based on information given by users; e.g. if your business concentrates on the honeymoon demographic you can focus on people who are engaged or are in long-term relationships.
Be creative and think outside the box; if you want to promote hotels in Mombasa, you could target fans of the Halo video game or Inception film, both of which feature scenes set in the city.
Add your site to as many directories as you can, such as WikiTravel and Google Local. It may sound obvious, but this will raise general awareness of your business among people who are searching for low season holidays.
Word of mouth is still important. Keep an eye on TripAdvisor to ensure that any negative reviews are responded to positively. Apologise to guests that had a bad time and offer them a money off voucher for the low season; likewise to anyone who has given a good review (kind behaviour should be rewarded).
James Cave writes for Skyscanner.net, an Edinburgh-based travel comparison company.