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 including “pay to play” business models being applied to organic post content.
Get with the (social) plan
While many DMOs understand the importance of having a presence on social media, many have not taken the time to establish a written plan. Typically, your social media plan will emerge from the data compiled in your destination’s Marketing Action Plan, which will have helped you identify your target audiences and established the beginning of an effective persona-based communications strategy.
Once personas are identified, take your social media program to the next level by establishing a social media editorial calendar. This effort will define an objective, measurable, and deliberate social media strategy — for an example, you can reference our strategy on building a social media editorial calendar here.
You cannot improve on any effort until you can measure the effectiveness of that effort.
Once you have a written strategy, the next step is quantifying organic post engagement. While benchmarks for social engagement differ for every organization, this effort will provide a framework for establishing goals and provide a go-forward mechanism for understanding what content is resonating with each target audience. This effort will give you critical insight as you increasingly will have to pay for your social content to be seen.
Open your wallet
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. In addition to the tracking you will be doing on your own, 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, the post made on March 27th 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 currently offers you five different options for targeting desired audiences based on your goals for engagement.
Five 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 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.
- Smart audience: If your Page’s details are accurate and updated, this option can be used and it will also include people near the business locations, people who interact with your page and have similar interests related to your page.
- To the local audience: If your content message is for the local audience, this would be a quick way to target that audience.
Strategically promoting your strongest content isn’t limited to Facebook. Other social platforms also allow you to target audiences based on demographics and other data identified in your Marketing Action Plan.
Twitter offers analytics that will show your top-performing tweets. See the below screenshot.
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.
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.