Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the world. It has nearly 2 billion monthly active users, many of whom browse content every day. Social media has impacted the travel industry, providing a wide audience and a platform for sharing content. As a merchant, you can use Facebook to reach this audience of social media users and build a strong online presence for your brand.
There are many ways to use Facebook for marketing, both through free Facebook features and paid ads.
Here are the ways you can use Facebook to market your travel business:
Create a page and build a community of followers
When you create a Facebook page for your brand, you can reach a new target audience. Make sure to include your logo as the profile photo, and an attractive cover photo that clearly show what your brand is about. Fill in the ‘About’ section to tell page visitors what your brand does and how to get in contact – Facebook is all about personal connections, so use a friendly tone, but remain professional.
After creating your page, you can start building your following. Encouraging past customers to like your page will help you get started. As you provide interesting content, you’ll get shares and likes from your current followers, making your content visible to their friends and reaching more users. In time, this should help you build a bigger community of followers who are interested in your brand.
Use images and videos
Visual multimedia content such as images and videos will attract the attention of social media users who are scrolling through their Facebook news feeds. Use eye-catching and professional images and videos to reflect your professionalism. This can include images of your brand’s products and services - and with people enjoying them.
Jumia Travel uses their Facebook page to share professional, attractive images of travel destinations, such as the image below.
Use customer reviews
Reviews from satisfied customers are worth their weight in gold. Potential customers will trust user created content more than any content produced directly by your brand. Building trust is the key to gaining new customers. Users can leave reviews with star ratings on your page, as part of Facebook’s built-in page tools. You can also quote customer testimonials in Facebook posts and share user images with accompanying reviews as captions. Anything that comes from the customer is social proof that builds a positive opinion of your brand. Here is an example of a positive review on Travelshoppe Kenya’s Facebook page:
Before embarking on your Facebook journey, create a schedule as to when you will share content and create a social media marketing strategy, including the topics you will post about. Plan to post content regularly. This will give you a framework to follow, so you don’t need to think of new ideas on the spot. Providing a steady stream of content also keeps followers interest and maintains your brand presence.
Make sure not to post purely promotional content - always ensure your content is useful and interesting. Post links to external articles, videos and the like, that may be of interest to your followers. Link to your own blog, website, or other social media channels too. Some ideas for interesting content include travel tips or recommended activities for different destinations. This useful content shows that you care about your customers, which creates a positive image of your brand.
Engage your followers by posting fun questions, such as “what item would you not go on holiday without?” This encourages visitors to get involved and allows you to communicate one-on-one, building a connection.
Provide coupons and special offers
Facebook is the ideal platform for marketing using special offers and coupons. You can post coupons as images, directly to your page.
The sharing features of Facebook means that competitions can be an extremely valuable way to get more users to see your content. You can provide competitions, exclusive discounts, and special offers to people who like your page and/or posts, or share your post on their newsfeed. This sharing increases your brand presence quickly. Friends of your followers see the competition and take part, sharing your content with their friends, and the chain continues, with your competition becoming more popular and reaching more people.
For example, Kenya Outdoors Tours and Travel recently ran a competition, offering a free ticket to a zip lining and hiking tour to the person who shared their post the most and invited the most friends to like their page.
Tell your brand’s story
One way to attract customers is through storytelling. Storytelling evokes emotions which builds a deep personal connection. Share behind-the-scenes, everyday images and videos of your team at work and your satisfied clients. This shows that there are real people standing behind your brand – it creates trust and confidence which will encourage potential customers to book with you.
Creating and using paid, targeted ads
The Facebook paid advertising platform allows you to target particular users who will be interested in your content. You can target using many different criteria, such as location (city, country etc.), relationship status, age, interests, birthday, and more. You can also track clicks and find out the demographics of the users who are interested in your ads. Ads can either be run per-impression or per-click, and you can set a limit to ensure your bids keep within your daily advertising budget. You can create different adverts for different target audiences too.
You can also remarket by showing paid ads to people who have visited your website or used your app. This can be done by using the Facebook pixel on your website, or the Facebook SDK. These pieces of code collect information about visitors to your website, or users of your app, and form a customer audience that can then be targeted. This allows you to show Facebook ads featuring the products or services users have previously shown interest in.
You can boost your Facebook posts so that they appear higher on people’s news feeds, so more users will see them. This is a paid feature. To boost a post, click ‘Boost Post’, in the lower-right corner of one of your posts. Then, choose your audience and budget and finish by clicking ‘Boost Post’.
Using Facebook as a tool against fraud
You can use Facebook to asses if your customers are genuine by looking at their Facebook profiles. A genuine account will have many friends (who were not all added within a 1-week time period), and a range of posts, shares and images posted across a long period of time.
Facebook provides highly useful marketing tools, many of which are free to use. Paid features are a worthwhile investment, too. Together, these features will enable you to build an online presence and grow your customer base on social media. Implement these Facebook marketing tips and watch your popularity (and bookings!) soar.