The number of social media platforms is steadily growing and target groups are becoming increasingly unique.
Despite the abundance of different channels out there, social media is still one of the best inbound marketing options available to small businesses in the tourism industry.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have an account on every social network. In fact, spreading yourself too thin might do more harm than good. It is much better to limit your social media presence to a handful of channels.
Which Social Media Networks Should You Be Focusing On?
Well, to make the right choice about your social media platforms, you have to take into consideration the industry you’re working in, your target audience as well as your overall social media and content strategy.
Take a look at your competitors. Which social channels are they employing? Do they get regular engagement from fans? Analyze which channels are being used by your target customers. Think about the content you want to share and which platforms actually make sense for these posts.
In my experience, the three major social media platforms that work best with dive shops are Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. I consider these channels must-have networks. All others are optional, and some social networks might even be rather useless.
The primary goals of all of these social networks are pretty similar: increasing brand awareness, spreading information and approaching both regular guests and potential customers.
Let’s take a look at each of these channels in a bit more detail.
Even with recent negative press, Facebook is still a very popular social media network and the perfect platform to showcase yourself and your services. There are many different apps available that help you add a newsletter registration form, promotional campaigns, competitions and other features to your business page at no extra costs.
You can use Facebook to share photos and videos, post updates, host events, start a Q&A, and create polls. With a business account, you have many different customization options, which you can use to highlight contact information or the services you offer. Also, you get access to analytics as well as advertizing tools.
Why you should use Facebook as a dive shop:
1. The dive community is active on Facebook. There are groups focusing on diving-related issues. There are many fan pages dedicated to diving.
2. Facebook offers many free tools that you can make use of as a business in the dive industry. From posting underwater shots and videos to offering your fans a special discount and promoting events (e.g. beach clean-ups), the options are endless.
Unlike Facebook, Instagram is a visual platform that’s based on photo posts. Similar to Twitter, Instagram focuses on indexing content with hashtags. Today, virtually every community has its own series of hashtags, which can be used to find content and be found by other members of the community.
Over the years, Instagram has introduced several other features, such as Instagram Stories or Instagram Live, which can additionally be used for marketing purposes.
Why you should use Instagram as a dive shop:
1. The majority of the dive community is active on Instagram.
2. Being a network based on images and video, Instagram is the perfect spot to display your underwater footage and thereby reach and inspire potential customers. If you use the right hashtags for your photos, people will immediately find you when looking up photos from your dive location. Also, there are Instagram accounts that concentrate on finding good footage and reshare it with their followers. Being featured in such a post will give you lots of exposure. However, always make sure your pictures are high quality. Instagram is packed with semi-good (underwater) photography. If you want to be seen as a professional, you’ll have to provide sophisticated content.
3. With a business account on Instagram, you can access many tools, such as paid advertizing and analytics.
YouTube is a video-sharing platform where people can not only upload and watch videos but also engage with and share content.
Companies can make use of YouTube to establish themselves as an expert. On top of that, videos will make it a lot easier and more effective to create an emotional connection with your audience.
While it was ok to upload somewhat amateur video footage on YouTube a few years back, the community has become used to watching high-quality material on a daily basis and expects sophisticated content from any decent company. If you want to get into YouTube marketing, make sure to produce outstanding videos.
Why you should use YouTube as a dive shop:
1. The majority of the dive community is active on YouTube.
2. Just like Instagram, YouTube is a great platform to share your underwater video footage. There are tons of video types you can create, especially if you know a little bit about video editing. For example, you may introduce your team, take YouTubers on a virtual dive day with you or simply show them what they can expect to see when diving with you.
3. Video content is one of the digital marketing trends expected to increase significantly in the next couple of years. Therefore it makes sense to jump on the bandwagon and get into video marketing sooner than later.
What About Other Platforms?
Of course, there are many other networks out there, which may prove to be useful if implemented well.
Another network I’d pay attention to in 2019, is TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor used to be a platform where people can review all kinds of establishments, from accommodations to restaurants and activities around the world.
In November 2018, TripAdvisor launched their all-new design and concept, which is based on a personal travel feed. Just like any other social network, TripAdvisor now offers its users the possibility to follow other users as well as travel experts in the industry. In addition to reviewing, people are now able to share photos, videos, and links as well.
2019 will determine whether the new travel feed actually succeeds. Apparently, the platform counts over 450 million visitors per month, which makes it a valuable place for any business in the tourism industry.
Being listed on TripAdvisor will likely increase your dive shop’s exposure to a large and targeted audience. Also, with a business account, you’ll get access to many free marketing tools and materials, such as TripAdvisor stickers and banners that you can display in your dive shop.
Another platform worth considering is Pinterest, which may increase your website traffic immensely. However, getting to know Pinterest and running the account takes up a lot of your precious time, which you probably don’t have if you run an actual non-virtual dive shop. 😉
Another one would be Twitter, which is still considered one of the leading social media platforms out there. The dive community is active on Twitter, though, in my experience, those 140-character tweets won’t really help you connect with your audience emotionally. Apart from that, maintaining an active and decent Twitter account takes time as you have to find a lot of content worth retweeting and come up with your own content as well.
Which platforms are you mostly using? Which of them are most successful to you?