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Social media is one of the areas where marketers spend a lot of their time and also where investments are made with regards to creating engaging social media presences on a variety of social media channels. For some tourism organizations and destinations, social media is still in an early stage, others are more concerned about measuring the value of social media. This is especially the case regarding the planning of future investments and also to be able to justify the success or failure of an investment into social media. In the tourism industry, there is a discrepancy between how social media is measured the most efficient and accurate way. There is certainly a difference between measuring the value of social media on the basis of engagement or actual sales. eMarketer has now looked into this in more depth to identify the main goals of social media in the industry (eMarketer 2013).

SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING GOALS

Engagement and brand lift are still two of the major goals mentioned by 67% of US marketers when asked about social media marketing’s leading goal. 61% of marketers are using social media marketing to influence consumer behaviour and 59% for positive sentiment and 58% increased sales. This is very interesting, as increasing sales was considered as the most important goal in 2011 by all marketers in the US, 2 years later this has changed. Marketers are actually re-prioritise what goals social media marketing should have.

MEASURING SOCIAL MEDIA

In 2013, the primary metric to measure the success of social media differs. Engagement is the number one metric chosen by 23.3% of respondents, which is quite interesting. Increased sales was identified as the key metric for around 15% of respondents along with 12% measuring social media success on the basis of conversations and interactions. Sales only identified by 11% of respondents as highly important. This is very interesting, as it demonstrates that businesses are moving away from measuring success on the basis of sales only. With consumers becoming more social and using social media as an integral part of their lives, engagement and interactions with consumers are increasingly important metrics to measure success.

THE FUTURE

Already, more and more businesses worldwide are using social networks. 60% of worldwide brands are actually participating or actively engaging in 7 or more social media platforms. Only 4% had 3 social media sites and another 1.2% less than 3 sites, which is a good overall performance of businesses on social media. For many organizations in travel, the fundamentals have been set and therefore engagement and interactions are increasingly important regarding their overall social media success. Many destinations and other tourism providers are moving away from experimenting with their social media sites towards a more sophisticated social media approach. As measuring the success of social media might be a bit challenging for some businesses in tourism, many seem to rely a lot more on engaging consumers and setting that as a metric, rather than trying to link their social media efforts to sales. In the future, the tourism industry will certainly try and measure the value and their social media marketing success more precisely in order to see whether there is enough return on investments.

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