As an Account Director at Sparkloft Media, I understand the power of social media when it comes to travel and tourism marketing. I wouldn’t be in my position unless I did, and I wouldn’t want to be unless I believed in it. That said, I don’t use social media.
At least not in the way you might think.
I recently took a three-week trip to South Africa. It was glorious. I could use this entire blog post to share what I loved about the country, but instead I’d recommend you check out my Instagram to see 50% of why I loved it. Only if you had followed me on Snapchat while I was there, would you have witnessed (nearly live) 100% of why I loved it.
A little background: I kill it at vacationing. I get up early, stay up late and pack each day full of every must-do, never-heard-of and once-in-a-lifetime experience I can find. Funny enough, though, many (i.e. my co-worker who uses Google docs to create by-the-hour itineraries) would say I’m the worst vacation planner.
Here’s why: As a 30-year-old “social media expert” I only used three social media platforms to research my latest trip:
- I looked up safari lodges on Trip Advisor.
- I followed @VisitSouthAfrica on Instagram and searched the #VisitSouthAfrica hashtag.
- I watched Casey Neistat’s Snapchats while he was in South Africa.
I don’t know anybody else who travel plans like I do. I don’t know anybody who makes Google docs like my co-worker either. Your clientele are incredibly diverse in how they seek information and utilize it in their travel planning and booking processes.
You may reach empty nesters looking for a relaxing, luxury getaway on Facebook, but 20 and 30-year-old adventure-seeking visitors might only be planning on Snapchat. And yet other audiences may only be available to connect with via influencers.
While each traveler submerses him or herself in travel research differently, the commonalities within social inspiration are perhaps less diverse. Indeed, some would say there’s a universal social media truth that permeates across platforms, mediums and audiences:
“Jealousy is the highest form of flattery.”
I don’t mean jealousy in a negative way. But in an inspirational, “I want to do that, too!” way. Social engagement allows us to measure jealousy (via likes, comments, shares), so we no longer care if people actually copy us, but having them want to means enough (from a consumer’s perspective).
From a brand’s perspective, social bragging is gold because it ignites jealousy, which begets inspiration and births imitation. The road may seem longer, but in reality we are now simply able to follow our customers through their planning processes, when we could once only meet them at predetermined stopping points.
Even if you’re not broadcasting your messaging across every social channel, your visitors likely are. My select, best quality photos made it up on Instagram, but my daily photos and videos were broadcasted on Snapchat. My snaps were raw and shaky and in the moment, which is where the real jealousy is generated. Because while I’m snapping the herd of elephants playing in the mud, the cheetah purring in the shade and the scampering baby zebra, you’re sitting at your desk, maybe reading a blog post.
Jealous now? Start planning your next vacation.