Let Your Staff Take Over Your Social Media To Connect With Your Customers

By Erick Tomaliwan

Marketing StrategiesMarketing Strategies

People jumping in water

Let your tour guides and staff take over your social media channels and create regular engaging content for your tour or activity company.

Constantly generating travel social media content for to reach your goals can be endless and daunting. What are your customers and followers even interested in? And do you have time to always think ahead and plan for more-than-daily updates and posts? Many tour owners and operators feel lost in developing and maintaining a social media strategy, but some seem to really have it figured out.

Your tour and activity staff are probably already using social media every day, and yes, even while working. But studies show that staying connected on social media at work doesn’t take away from their performance, and can often enhance it.

For companies that give tours and take customers on activities, there is a constant source of interesting content already being generated and you just need to learn how to harness it.

Some of the most effective Facebook pages (and Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest feeds) deliver more than company updates and the odd piece of interesting content, they deliver an experience as a part of their social media marketing strategy.

That may sound abstract and difficult, but it really isn’t. Most of us, including your staff, are already participating in tourism influencer marketing by sharing knowledge and experiences on social media. This is human nature and we live in an era where the tools to share with the whole world in an instant are constantly at our fingertips.

Have your staff capture moments right on their phones while directing their tour groups and upload them to social media (or provide them with shared tablets for this purpose). The possibilities of the types of moments they can capture are endless:

  • Video testimonials before, during, and after a tour or activity to capture the initial excitement and how it evolves throughout the tour experience
  • Photos of tour groups (and even staff) working together and creating connections
  • Photos and videos of the landscape your tours take place in (the cities, mountains, ocean, forest, rivers, and of course all the wildlife along the way)
  • Iconic landmarks and art
  • Interesting folks you meet along the way (In Victoria BC, there’s a notorious street performer that plays the violin dressed as Darth Vader.)
  • Livestream the tour and activities
  • Gain your customer’s’ perspective by providing an HD Action Camera (like a GoPro)

It may be necessary to lay out some brand standards and a brand style for sharing content on social media. But don’t let that hold you back from initiating an employee-generated content strategy, as some of those standards may have to be developed as you go. It can be really beneficial to trust your staff and let them run with their ideas.

Another strategy is to have your staff take pictures and videos that get uploaded to a shared folder such as in Dropbox or Google Drive. Then the content can be sifted through and posted by a designated staff member responsible for leading the company’s social media. That way you can have a social media lead who is familiar with the company’s standards and strategy, and they are provided with endless content.

Different styles of content your staff can generate:

  • Activate Facebook’s Livestream feature to share in-the-moment tour experiences
  • Use Instagram Stories
  • Use Snapchat to capture short 10 second videos (which can be uploaded to other social media channels, and also include fun location stickers, temperature readings, slo-mo action, and more)
  • Have groups tweet a selfie of their “I’m ready” face to pick the first person to start the activity (such as first to bungee jump or zipline)

Let your customers know in a follow-up thank you email that they can view and re-watch their videos on your company’s Facebook page or other social media feeds, and encourage them to share their favorites. Now you’ve just generated great content, increased engagement with your customers and followers, turning them into brand advocates.

It’s important that your staff let customers know throughout their tours that they can find the captured pictures and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., to reach those who may not read their emails.

Group of people taking a selfie

At first, you may find a little resistance to making social media and employee-generated content a mandatory part of the job.There may be only a few employees who are enthusiastic over this new job requirement and also have the personality for it. You could offer an incentive like a slight raise or monthly bonus. Or award a monthly or weekly prize for, such as gift cards to dinners, movies, and other activities. You could also provide the winners with a free tour for them and their friends, generating more content and word-of-mouth marketing.

Set up a staff meeting to provide an overview of your company’s social media channels, content ideas, and sharing methods. This is your opportunity to set some standards, ask your staff for ideas and feedback, and encourage them to have fun and be a part of something exciting!

Once you get the ball rolling, it will become second nature to everyone in the company and you will find quality engagement between your staff, company, and customers.

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