Facebook and Instagram have become some of the premier social media channels for marketing purposes, and doubly so when it concerns the travel industry. And, there’s never been a better time to be a travel company on Facebook with its more than 1.8 billion users (of which over 1.2 billion are active daily), making it the largest single marketing platform for the $7.6 trillion global travel industry.
Facebook is already a source inspiration for many users, with over 87% of millennial travelers alone using the platform’s photos and videos to help plan their next trip. Given this, it’s the perfect place for travel marketers to connect with their audience, but it also creates a unique challenge for brands to stand out in order to be competitive, especially with the network’s ever-changing algorithm. As a Facebook executive said a “…lack of differentiation is a challenge for many travel companies.” So, what better way to stand out from other travel brands than by incorporating user-generated, or earned, content (UGC) into your Facebook presence to drive better marketing experiences? Read on below for a few tips on how to create more authentic marketing with UGC on Facebook.
Capture the Live Travel Experience
With hundreds of options for travel-related pages on Facebook, when someone decides to follow your page, they usually expect a unique experience. They don’t just want information from your company’s point of view, but also from other users who enjoy your brand and what it has to offer. Encouraging travelers to not only share to their personal social media accounts, but to your branded accounts as well, can assist in helping you stand out from the crowd. Travelers are already organically sharing their experiences, with 60% of travelers and 97% of millennial travelers sharing photos while on a trip. When people post directly to your page, your brand automatically becomes more authentic because it encompasses real users’ experiences.
It’s also a great opportunity for you to upsell opportunities without bombarding your email list. Let’s say you’re a tour company that offers an upgrade for a better room or an extra activity. When people can see other travelers taking part in that activity, and it’s clearly unstaged, they start thinking about making their own memories with those experiences in mind.
Encouraging people to post about your brand while they travel also increases the activity on your page, which can improve your standing in Facebook’s algorithm. Do your best to give people a semi-live experience with your brand through more frequent, timely posting instead of publishing images or posts weeks or months after they occurred. If your followers are about to travel with you soon, it builds their excitement more and exemplifies why they chose you over another company.
You can also encourage UGC creation and sharing during your company’s experience. This could be as simple as using, self-designated ‘selfie-spots’ like the hotel chain, Marriott, has done in the past. Discover how hotel brands, including Marriott have seen success with promoting social sharing during a trip in our latest travel whitepaper. To get more people to share their live travel photos, your brand can also consider offering incentives like a free upgrade, discount, or meal ticket to someone who posts to your designated hashtag.
Take Advantage of Diverse Post Types
Facebook has several new post types you can use for your page. For an example with an “Offer” post, travel companies can share discounts, buy-one-get-one offers, or giveaways to their page. You can use up to 5 images or a video within your offer, which is a perfect opportunity to showcase your happy customers using your service with their UGC. Additionally, be sure to use Facebook’s audience targeting, which allows you to segment who might see the offer from your followers without having to invest in an ad.
Facebook’s Canvas is another tool that provides your page visitors an immersive experience, available to the site’s 1 billion+ daily mobile users. Using this feature, you can tell your company’s story or highlight a particular offering with a combination of text, video, and images that are made to load faster and be more interactive on mobile devices.
As a travel company, you can easily highlight a particular destination on your tours, unique hotel locations, or a particular activity type, such as mountain climbing or local wine trails. Grab your audience’s attention within your experience by incorporating visual user-generated content and first-hand reviews from delighted customers to supplement your brand’s story.
Curated, Personalized Feeds
When you share a normal Facebook post, such as a single video, update, or image, you can still provide highly personalized interactions with your brand through the platform’s audience targeting. Travel companies often appeal to several distinct segments, such as “family travel” or “adventure travel”. In the past, you’d need to create content that could appeal to your top audiences without becoming too narrow, but now Facebook is giving travel companies another option.
Through the platform’s Audience Optimization, your brand can now narrowly or broadly target your preferred audiences. For example, if you have a segment that enjoys adventure travel, try to curate ideas, quotes, polls, or other content types that only relate to that audience. UGC can also be used to supplement personalization by providing context and insights into your different audience segments’ tastes and preferences.
Additionally, you can do more than segment by interest. You can also segment by age range and geographic region (city, state, region, country). For instance, adventurous travelers are between the ages of 20 and 55, for example, serve the 20-30 age range with one image, and the 30-55 age range with another image that is more relevant to them. When users see your posts, the content they see will be highly relevant, making them more likely to convert and/or become advocates for your brand by sharing content online or telling their friends about you, offline.
With Facebook’s advanced audience targeting options, unique post types, and ease of sharing, it is an ideal place for your travel company to drive discovery, inspiration and purchase with potential buyers at minimal cost to your brand. With the right targeting strategy, customer insights, and user-generated content your brand can drive loyalty and create advocates on one of the world’s largest social media platforms.
To discover how you can curate and activate earned content at scale to drive better social media marketing experiences, get in touch!