Social media for African Travel Industry.

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Social media is now an important part of the marketing mix for African travel organizations.The vast majority of businesses now have some form of social media presence. At Phink Digital, we’ve been supporting a number of players in Travel industry in East Africa for the last one year.  We’ve seen some brilliant social media and some not-so-good.

The biggest challenge is a lack of strategy.  Many organizations invest time and energy on social media but often it lacks strategic focus and poor delivery.

If you are on travel industry this tips will work for your brand:

  1. Work on building presence

Many African tourism organizations are producing brilliant content on social media, but few people are seeing it.We recommend taking time to actively follow, mention and engage with relevant profiles to increase the potential audience for your content.  Also, make it easier for people to follow you.  We’ve seen many travel websites with social media icons tucked away; out of sight – or not even there at all.  Ensure all your email communication has your social media profiles listed.  Every little helps!

  1. Don’t hawk (too often)

Too many African travel organizations treat social media like a blunt sales tool. Social media marketing will not deliver a huge amount of business from selling direct. However, it will help you expose your brand, build credibility, drive web traffic and give consumers confidence in buying from.

As a rough guide, consider sticking to the 70/20/10 rule:

70% of your social media posts should be adding value; be helpful and interesting

20% should share other people’s ideas and posts

10% should be about you or your organization

  1. Treat Twitter Differently

Many organizations make the mistake of trying to ‘kill two birds with one stone’; by linking their Facebook to their Twitter account.  The effect is often ugly and un engaging. If you are going to maintain a Twitter page, it is best to treat is as an independent platform, not an add-on to Facebook.

  1. Use more images

Africa arguably has the most eye-catching images of all, but too often, travel suppliers and tourism boards choose to not include images in their posts.

Instagram is an ideal platform to post those eye-catching images.

Ideally, you should be looking to include an image in EVERY single post. Approximately 70% of your fans are on mobile. They scroll through their smart phones at high speed – you need to be creating posts that are ‘scroll-stoppers’.

  1. Don’t over-stretch yourself

We’ve seen many African travel suppliers with five or six social media icons on their website.  Looks impressive.  However, on closer look, there’s been little or no activity on most of them.

Concentrate on being effective on two or three platforms; you’ll spread yourself too thin otherwise.

  1. Focus on story telling.

It’s great to see many businesses with their own blogs – especially in the Safari sector.  However a significant number of African travel businesses are missing a trick by not having a corporate blog.

Having a blog can provide serious marketing & commercial benefits for EVERY type of business. A recent report by Hubspot said that 79% of businesses with a blog had a reported positive a return of investment.  The same report claimed that nearly half of all businesses had acquired customers because of their blog.

Blogging is great for business as it helps boost your rankings on Google (especially if you link your blog pages to your Google+ account).  Blogging helps build credibility, generates leads (via subscribers) and helps amplify your company news.

  1. 7. Be mobile friendly

Remember that that vast majority of people will see your social media post via a smart phone or tablet.It is vitally important to make sure your posts are mobile friendly.  Use fabulous images and accompany them with short, pithy text and one simple call-to-action. Ensure your website which is your landing page is mobile optimized.

  1. Advertising

Gone are the days when you could reach all your fans with one single Facebook post. Facebook now restricts how many people see your post, so that as little as 5% of you OWN fans will be allowed to see what you’ve posted.

You should consider using a little of your marketing budget to promote your page & posts to a wider audience.   Even US$ 50 a month can make a huge difference to your reach.

*image credit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/

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Oliver is the editor and founder of Tech Guy. Oliver is a digital media Entreprenuer. He's also a SEM Specialist at RNW Media and writes for magazines and websites like CIO East Africa.