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How Travel and Tourism Brands Can Leverage Social Media to Attract New Customers Take advantage of these simple but effective social-media strategies to majorly elevate your marketing game.

By Jonathan Riff Edited by Amanda Breen

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Social media is one of the most effective ways to attract new customers for any brand, but the travel and tourism industry can leverage it a bit differently. My agency works with multiple brands in the travel, hospitality and tourism industry, and social media is a major driving force behind their campaigns.

It's no secret that any business in the travel and tourism industry must use social-media marketing. When consumers look for information regarding traveling, hotels, resorts, restaurants, local activities and more, they turn to the internet, specifically social media.

Using social media to engage with travelers is a great way to attract new customers and get them excited about what you offer. The best part is the return because social-media marketing can drive the healthiest ROI out of all your online marketing campaigns when executed correctly.

Related: 5 Ways Social Media Has Transformed Tourism Marketing

Here are some helpful tips to leverage social media correctly.

Create an unforgettable personality across social media

Social media provides an opportunity to showcase a brand's personality, yet the majority of hotels, restaurants and resorts stick to very bland and dry content. While beautiful images are always going to be important, the captions and little extras make the biggest impact.

Get creative with captions, and while displaying your personality, be sure to also end with a call to action that sparks engagement. Ask a question that will trigger an influx of comments and tags, amplifying your content.

Posts that display personality and humor draw comments and tags over boring posts that consist of an image and transparent marketing caption. Let your personality shine and watch your engagement rate skyrocket.

Publish a blog to create content for social media

While social platforms like TikTok and Instagram are strictly image and video-sharing platforms, others like Twitter and Facebook allow you to share other content formats. Blog content is a great format that performs well and it acts as a magnet, attracting social-media traffic to your website.

Not only will starting a blog for your business provide you with great content to share on social media, but it can also complement your search-engine-optimization strategy when you apply keyword research to new blog topics.

Write blog posts that highlight your key selling points — information someone potentially interested in your offer would want to read and that pushes him or her towards commitment in the form of an in-person visit or booking.

Related: 3 Ways Tourism Hotspots Will Evolve After Lockdown

Run paid Facebook and Instagram ads

Posting organically on social media can attract customers when you combine great content with geotagging and a hashtag strategy. Organic growth can be slow, especially in the beginning, whereas paid ads can attract new customers almost immediately.

Facebook and Instagram ads use the same targeting options and share the same pixel data, and while advertising across both platforms simultaneously doesn't work for all industries, it's a winning strategy for hotel and tourism brands.

Many social-media users view Instagram and Facebook as an escape, jumping into their feeds to step away from reality and their day-to-day life. Brands that understand this can capitalize by using ads that entice consumers by providing an additional escape.

A dream vacation, a night out at a nice restaurant, a weekend getaway — your paid social-media strategy will see its best returns from retargeting campaigns. When your ads are only shown to Instagram and Facebook users who have previously visited your website, it improves their performance because the audience is already familiar with your brand. Additionally, you can target users with very specific offers that align with the pages on your website that they last interacted with.

Prioritize SMS and email data collection

Through your social-media marketing effort, you can collect data that gives you an even better marketing edge: mobile numbers and email addresses. Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to generate bookings and new customers, and SMS marketing is highly effective because of its almost 100% open rate.

Run contests to drive subscribers to your SMS and email list. Whether gift cards, free stays or comped dinners and drinks, there are many creative ways to do this that won't break your budget. Every mobile number and email address collected is a potential customer that you can market to indefinitely.

Related: 4 Innovative Ways Hotels Can Use Instagram to Get Travelers Into Bed

Jonathan Riff

Principal Brand Architect & Experience Designer

Jonathan Riff is the founder of Captains & Cowboys, a boutique digital agency bringing a human-centered philosophy to everything it creates.

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