Jaillan Yehia

Online Marketing For Travel Brands: How To Avoid These 5 Social Media Mistakes

Are you making any of these easy-to-correct social media errors?

Whether you’re working with travel bloggers, creating your own online content or trying to connect with potential customers on social media, there are a few huge pitfalls in the online content world, which are all too easy to fall into.

I’m Jaillan Yehia – find me online @savoirthere

Don’t fall into this huge hole like Thelma & Louise did (it’s the actual filming location)

Pitfall 1: Confusing, inconsistent and secret social media accounts.

Social media accounts should be your brand’s showcase – like an artist’s portfolio or an ever-evolving CV.

This is your opportunity to show the world how reliable, trustworthy and consistent, yet cool and fun (insert alternative brand values here) your travel company is.

So please avoid these basic pitfalls  – all of which will confuse / irritate your potential customers and collaborators.

  • Starting multiple social media accounts and then letting some of them fall dormant.
  • Having multiple different handles across social media (pick one that works across all platforms and stick to it).
  • Having no online presence at all.
  • Not having a hashtag, or not using the one you do have.
  • Not linking to your social profiles on your website (are they a secret?)

‘Travel businesses that don’t have at least one social media account and actually update it at least once each week. I can’t believe the amount that have zero presence on social media!’

‘Tourism boards who have different handles for every social media account. They should all have the same handle to make it easier to share across platforms and also not to drive influencers crazy trying to remember which handle goes with which platform!’

‘It’s confusing when you find a hotel or tour operator on a social media platform, and then realise they haven’t posted since July 2016. Have they closed down? Stating ‘Come follow us over at our new account @xyz’ is fine, but when all updates just cease suddenly, it looks really bad.’

Pitfall 2: Not making it clear where in the world you actually are.

I’d love to go to this drive-in film festival so I spent about 5 minutes clicking around until I found out it’s in North America.

It would be a long and very water-logged drive for us all to get there.

It’s called the worldwide web, right? People could be looking at your accounts from literally anywhere on this planet.

Make it clear exactly where in the world YOU are + what your business does.

Don’t make customers work for information by clicking on the map or digging around in your account like detectives because most of them won’t bother.

As yourself, ‘if I was a potential customer, would I take the time to figure this out or would I just leave?’

Pitfall 3: Broadcasting online, instead of engaging online.

Years ago I heard something during a presentation about twitter which really stuck with me.

Being online is like being at a party were you meet a bunch of new people.

You’ll probably want to introduce yourself and tell everyone a bit about what you do, sure. But you’ll also want to ask other people about themselves, and maybe even pass some chips and dip around.

What you won’t do at that party is stand in the corner shouting one line sentences or impressive statistics about yourself and how successful you are.

Think of the online world like this party. Sure, tell people about your successes sometimes, but pass another partygoer the dip too.

Pitfall 4: Putting good content in the wrong place.

This meme from The Good Place might entertain people on Facebook and Twitter (as it did me). But it will not necessarily work on Instagram.

Overlaying text on images doesn’t really cut it over on Instagram anymore.

Pinterest, which started out as just images is now all about putting (stylish) text over (beautiful) images to create the ultimate listicles and clickbait.

It can be hard to keep up.

Everyone’s heard of the social media donut analogy, right?

This has been doing the rounds in various guises for years.

As new platforms come and go (Vine, Snapchat etc.) and existing platforms change, morph and add new elements (Instagram stories and IGTV) it’s not as basic anymore, but essentially it still holds true.

Staying up to date with how and what you tell the world about yourself and your delicious donut is kind of important if you want to grow your online presence the right way.

Pitfall 5: Creating generic or emotionless content because you want to appear professional.

You represent a brand, and want to keep that brand’s social media presence professional, of course.

Balance that with the need to engage and entertain the humans who are consuming that content – and do that by using emotion.

The biggest sin in traditional travel writing is describing a destination in generic terms could equally apply to a million other destinations on the planet, because a travel writer’s job is to showcase what makes your destination special and get people to connect with that.

But the second rule of print travel writing is to start each story with a hook: a detailed, zoomed-in and highly personal description of something that happened on the trip which evokes emotion.

Capture the imagination of the reader, listener or viewer immediately, leaving them wanting to know more then zoom out for the bigger picture once you have them hooked. This is what you want from your content.

NOW LET’S FLIP IT: 3 POSITIVE things to remember when managing your brand’s online channels:

Positive Message 1. You’re already an expert and you probably know a lot more than you think – share that knowledge with the world.

Imma leave this here.

Feel Good Fact 2. Don’t be afraid to do things your own way. Be honest and be real. Customers will remember you for it.

I wrote a blog post for this panel session at Experience Africa rather than a Powerpoint presentation, because as a blogger it is easier for me to write a blog post than is it to write a Powerpoint presentation.

I’m also hoping that if you want to refer back to this presentation you’ll visit my blog.

I’m content marketing to you in a session on content marketing! #winning.

And I’ve admitted this to you, which hopefully makes you remember me for my honesty.

Now I’m going to admit the reason I didn’t brush up on my Powerpoint skills as planned is because its currently 29 degrees and sunny outside, and I wanted to take a day off to go jump in the nearest pool – which I imagine is what 99% of people would like to be doing this week too.

I hope admitting this makes me relatable.

Making your brand real, human and relatable and your social media genuine and authentic will help people remember you in a sea of pretenders.

And finally 3. When in doubt, you can always create and share a numbered list.

Numbers always make the information you’re giving out seem far more essential and important, and appeal to our basic human need to tick stuff off lists, so they will never stop driving those clicks. 🙂

Anyone see the irony of this headline? No, just me?