Social Media Marketing for Small DMOs

By Maghen Barranco

Social Media Marketing for Small DMOs

For smaller DMOs or DMOs with limited resources, necessary marketing strategies sometimes remain unexplored due to lack of funding, a small staff, or both—with social media being one of numerous underutilized tools. Fortunately, there are ways to put social to work no matter how small your team is. Here are a few ideas to help solve your "too much to do and not enough time to do it" challenges. Read time: under 3 minutes

You’ve likely heard the phrase, “work smarter, not harder”. And if you’re one of the few hands working in a small DMO, then you probably understand this phrase better than most. For DMOs with limited resources, we sometimes find that necessary marketing strategies remain unexplored due to lack of funding, a small staff, or both. And more often than not, social media is one of the numerous essential tools not utilized to its fullest capacity. But, social media is continuing to evolve into an essential travel-planning tool with travelers increasingly gathering inspiration for their next trip from shared content, so a sound social media marketing strategy is a must. Fortunately, there are some strategies to put social to work no matter how small your team is. Here are a few ideas to help solve your “too much to do and not enough time to do it” challenges.

Get Organized.

Social media marketing should (always) be a team effort. For a smaller DMO, consider forming a “content development crowd” or—more formally—a social media committee comprised of staff members and locals (that understand and are enthusiastic about your destination) to contribute ideas and content for your DMO’s social media efforts. Create a private Facebook group for this team as a way to organize and share content and ideas that could be published on your DMO’s social channels. Everyone in the group will get to see and help curate these ideas, they can weigh in and possibly enhance or contribute to this content, and they might even offer an image caption or important additional insight. Then you can curate that content and selectively leverage some of it into your DMO’s official social channels by simply scheduling it into the appropriate slot on your editorial calendar and setting it up to post.

Create an Editorial Calendar.

An essential tool for planning, scheduling and executing your social media marketing strategy, a monthly editorial calendar will help your team remain focused on who they’re talking to and what they should be talking about. And this effort will help you know what content you should publish when. This can also be a great guide to help you request certain types of content from your content development crowd. Not sure how to get started? You’re in luck! Click here to watch our “how-to” video and get an overview of this process in under 3 minutes.

Leverage User-Generated Content (UGC).

While your DMO arguably knows more about your destination than anyone else, your followers want to hear from peers about their experiences in your city. With their permission, regularly share UGC on your social channels to give potential visitors an “insider’s look” at your destination’s offerings. Not only does it reinforce the authenticity of your message, but it’s also content your team doesn’t have to generate. And don’t just rely on visitors—also promote content shared by residents and local businesses to spotlight the pride they take in their city.

Show Your Stakeholders Some Love.

Local stakeholders and their front-line staff have boots-on-the-ground access to most of the stuff visitors care about. Enlist them in the content-creation process. Encourage them to share imagery, reviews, products, and events with your team that can be promoted regularly on your social channels. And dedicate a day (or two!) on your editorial calendar each week to promoting local businesses, restaurants, lodging providers, and attractors.

Blogging. Make it short and sweet.

Block out one hour a week on your calendar to scan through your published social content for blog ideas. Look for subjects with high engagement, and set a goal to leverage that content into one blog post twice a month. But don’t stress over writing multi-page articles. Research shows that people appreciate Buzzfeed-style listicles—meaning short and sweet copy accompanied by quality imagery. This effort will help you turn your most popular social content into searchable content that will live on forever on your website. And this sort of abbreviated blogging will even help boost your Google ranking because you will be regularly generating fresh content for your destination’s website.

Focus on Quality, Not Quantity.

Posting on your social channels daily or multiple times a day can be beneficial if done correctly, but it takes a lot of time and energy to effectively execute. If you don’t have the capacity for an undertaking of this magnitude, focus instead on sharing quality content a few times each week. Refer back to your editorial calendar, and ensure that the content you are sharing is relevant to your target markets. And going forward, do be prepared to dedicate a portion of your budget to boosting high-performing organic content (that elicits higher engagement than is typical) so that it works its hardest for you. 

With a little bit of time and experimentation, you will learn what works and what doesn’t, and you can adjust your strategy accordingly moving forward. 

To discuss how to craft a smart social media strategy suited more specifically to the size and capabilities of your DMO, reach out to me here to set up a free, no-obligation one-hour consultation.