Social media is the greatest marketing tool of modern times. Only in 2014, over 100 million Africans were using Facebook, 4.5 million of them were Kenyans. This number jumped to 120 million in 2015. In an era of mobile devices, we access Internet basically anytime and anywhere. It is not a big surprise then, that over 80% of social media users, access them on their mobile devices.
Although Facebook has been recognized as one of the top social media channels, we should not forget about other, equally significant ones. Especially in a travel and hospitality industry, visual content plays a major role. People like seeing the places they are going to. They like knowing how the hotel looks like from different viewpoints. They like beautiful and esthetic photos and videos. It strongly affects their decisions on whether or not to use your services.
It is important to keep in mind that running a travel company or a hotel goes far beyond posting beautiful content only. Firstly, it means building your credibility and presenting yourself as a professional as a businessman or a business woman. This factor very often plays a main role in customer acquisition. On top of that, it also means customer service. Happy customers will return and recommend you to his/her friends and family. It is not difficult to realize that multiple channels would be needed to make the most of these purposes.
The saying “jack of all trades, master of none” applies to marketing strategies too. Make a list of all areas you need to cover. You will probably think about customer acquisition, helpdesk, business relations with partners, and simple boosting of brand awareness. You may also want to think of where majority of your customers come from. Are they domestic travelers, coming from Kenya and other parts of East Africa, or international travelers from Europe or the Americas? Based on that simple analysis, you will be able to decide which social media channels to enter.
LinkedIn is more suitable for maintaining business relations, Twitter or WhatsApp might work better for customer service. Instagram would be suitable to share interiors of your hotel or snapshots from the last safari you organised. Pinterest, on the other hand, may work for attracting customers from across the oceans, but won’t work equally well for attracting domestic travelers as it is not so popular in East Africa.
The newest trend are social media channels based on videos. Snapchat or Vine enable you to record shorter and longer videos and share them with your customers in real time. Both of them give a perfect opportunity for showing something more interactive than photos.
You do not need to be present everywhere. Make an educated guess on which channels are necessary in your niche.