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Social media is crucial for any organisation in tourism. In the US, 75% of consumers are looking for deals on social media, around 30% particularly for travel. It is therefore very important to get the most out of individual social media channels. Customer reviews and positive feedback on social media can make a huge difference for tourism companies. They should try and make use of the consumer as a powerful marketing tool that can start a conversation around the tourism brand. This article will look at key tips in terms of how to make the most out of Facebook advertising (Marketing 2013).

FACEBOOK OPEN GRAPH SEARCH

This year, Facebook has launched its Graph Search providing major opportunities for consumers and the tourism industry. Consumers can now search for hotels for example within Facebook and the social network will display search results based on friends’ previous check-ins or posts. This very personalised search provides major opportunities for consumers as they can read friends’ reviews and comments that can help them in the decision making process. Tourism companies therefore need to provide their exact location and ensure that sufficient information is being provided about the company’s services and products. It is crucial for tourism companies to encourage consumers to write reviews about their experiences on the Facebook page in order to increase the organisation’s fan base as well as reach in the social network.

CUSTOMERS = MARKETING ASSETS

Consumers are very powerful marketing assets that tourism companies should utilize, as worldwide travellers are looking for travel info on Facebook. Engaging consumers and making them share content on the social network will increase tourism companies’ promotion on Facebook. The social network is also offering the opportunity of page post ads and sponsored stories that can influence consumers in their decision making process when searching for information on Facebook.

ENCOURAGE SHARING

User generated content can make a difference and convince consumers that they want to experience similar things as their friends did. Especially photos and videos are key, as these provide major opportunities for tourism companies’ marketing purposes. Tourism companies should therefore encourage consumers to check-into locations and share content with others in the social network. This can influence other consumers’ opinion about brands or tourism companies for the better.

ENCOURAGE FEEDBACK

Consumers are looking for information they can trust on social networks. As Facebook is integrating TripAdvisor reviews into the social network, consumers can access reviews and user generated content directly in Facebook. Encouraging consumer feedback through Facebook is therefore crucial, as consumers trust this content a lot more and can use this content for their research process.

RE-ENGAGE CONSUMERS

Consumers trying to make a travel decision will visit more than one website in this process. Facebook needs to be used to re-engage consumers who already showed interest into the travel brand. In this process, marketers need to be sure they know in which stage of the buying cycle the individual consumer is in, in order to address them with a specific message. Marketers can also make use of custom audiences in which tourism companies can target specific consumers on the basis of offline information provided. This can be another way of getting the most out of Facebook as a marketing channel. Tourism companies worldwide need to ensure they are engaging consumer, making them share content and reviews and re-engage consumers already interested in the brand. Using tools within Facebook at their full potential will ensure that tourism companies will be successful on the social network.

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