Engaging with travelers through social media is one of the most effective ways to connect them with your destination. But reaping the benefits of your social activity is becoming more challenging as social media giants like Facebook and Twitter continue to evolve the way they treat and prioritize the display of organic social content. For your social posts to generate high levels of visibility and engagement, they must follow a clear-cut social strategy.
Get with the (social) plan
Most DMOs understand the importance of having a presence on social media, but few have established goals for engagement or taken the time to assess how their current content strategy supports those goals. Typically, your social media strategy will spring from the data compiled in your destination’s Marketing Action Plan, which will have helped you identify your target audience(s) and established the beginning of an effective persona based communications strategy. When you are ready to take your social media planning to the next level, refer to our strategy on building a social media editorial calendar.
Benchmarks for social engagement differ for everyone, but there’s no question that DMOs should take advantage of the exposure afforded by social media to draw more visitors to their destination. But how can you do this effectively when major social platforms are increasingly embracing a “pay to play” engagement model? The answer is by strategically boosting high performing organic social content.
Know which social content to boost
When choosing what content to boost or promote, base your decision on organic engagement levels.
I’m sure you’ve been notified by Facebook when one of your posts is performing better than others, and you are invited to “boost” that post to extend its reach. And while giving your content a boost will almost certainly increase its visibility and engagement, knowing what content is worth your marketing dollars is just as important. The “Insights” tab of your DMO’s Facebook page can help you make this decision. Here is where you will find a performance summary of all your social media posts which allows you to review organic and paid reach, post clicks, and reactions to get a better picture of the type of content that resonates most with your followers.
In the above example, you can see that the post made on March 8th received a lot of attention. The high organic reach, as well as the number of post clicks and reactions, make this an excellent example of a post worth boosting. The cost for boosting your organic social content is surprisingly low, and Facebook offers you three different options for targeting desired audiences based on your goals for engagement.
Three types of Facebook social post boosts
- To followers of your page only: Simply posting something to your page doesn’t mean that your followers will see it. Selectively promoting the content that seems to be generating the highest attention organically will increase the likelihood that content will be seen by a more of your existing audience.
- To followers & friends of followers: This approach is great for DMOs that want increased exposure while maintaining social value. When the boosted post appears on a non-follower’s page, it will include which of their friends are also interested in your destination – helpful as an implied endorsement.
- To a select audience: If your content is getting a lot of shares, investing a bit more to boost it to an even wider audience based on those identified in your Marketing Action Plan is a great way to generate new interest in your destination.
No matter which option you choose, boosting the highest performing organic content is sure to reach travelers who may otherwise have not considered your destination as an option for their next vacation or business trip. For example, when strategically boosting organic social content on behalf of our clients, we tend to go with option two—to followers & friends of followers. On one campaign, we assessed the performance of our client’s social posts, boosted the highest performing content and reached an additional 2,500 people who then reacted positively to what that DMO had to offer!
Strategically promoting your strongest content isn’t limited to Facebook. Twitter also allows you to target audiences based on who they follow and promote tweets to audiences based on demographics and other data identified in your Marketing Action Plan. Just remember: when choosing what content to boost or promote, base your decision on organic engagement levels (such as the number of clicks and retweets) your posts have received. Hint: We have found that by leveraging images that “transported” viewers to the destination, we were able to increase click through rates by an average of 5.8%.
Whether your budget is big, small or somewhere in between, strategically boosting organic social content can have a positive impact on the exposure your destination receives in social channels. And have no doubt, popular social media platforms will continue to monetize so your budget line item for this effort must increase or the reach and effectiveness of your social strategies will diminish over time.