Social Media: Quiet During COVID-19?
Unparalleled meeting, event and travel cancellations have faced tourism marketers with daunting challenges and an eerie uncertainty as to the months ahead in the travel and tourism industry. Though many CVBs have taken to their social channels to support their local economies and spread messages of encouragement and much-needed positivity, many have remained quiet. Understandably so—at a time where travel is perceived as a direct threat to health, insensitive marketing and social messages are worse than no message at all.
Social media is a dynamic tool for crisis management. It allows destinations to “own their story” and determine how digital audiences assess the performance of that organization during a crisis while providing them with a powerful platform to keep their community informed and position themselves as thought-leaders through timely, informational content.
In the digital world, events and conversations happen at high speeds. People require transparency, accuracy, and a “facts, not fear” approach frequently and quickly. Social media allows us to create, reshare and repurpose content that stimulates dialogue and engagement to further build that connection and trust with your audience when they are feeling vulnerable—at the right time.
While direct calls to travel are not the messaging to focus on right now, we have put together some tips on how to leverage social media to share the appropriate messaging on your DMO’s social channels. While we move towards recovery, your organization should make use of its social platforms to be a guiding light, and, eventually, highlight how travel and business will resume and meetings will return.
Top Social Tips:
- Utilize your destination’s brand (typography, color scheme) to repurpose and create relevant graphics that speak to the crisis messaging to use across platforms.
- Pin overarching messaging and resources to your Facebook page, utilizing links to your COVID-19 resource page, so your audience can find information quickly.
- Change your Instagram bio link to your COVID-19 resource page, or a page with information on local restaurants/businesses locals can support.
- Create messaging in your destination’s Instagram bio that inspires responsibility and support.
- Reshare any content that your destination’s locals are tagging your social media handle in on your own social platforms in order to keep the community engaged and the conversation going (Instagram stories, as a prime example).
- Gather virtual experiential activities your destination is offering and highlight them to keep your destination top of mind (think virtual tours, live videos) and build anticipation for future travel.
- If your destination has a USP (unique selling proposition) that builds human connection or inspires, play off of it in your content (ex. music and how it brings people together, farm-to-table dining and how it inspires community support, etc.).
- Repurpose content across platforms.
- Example: Social content developed during this time from other platforms such as Facebook or Instagram CAN be used on LinkedIn. Just ensure the message is repurposed appropriately and consider frequency so as to not inundate LinkedIn’s audience with too much leisure messaging.
- Weave in curated or repurposed positive content that inspires and tells the story of the travel lifecycle: dream, consider, activate, travel. Travel WILL return, so keep the anticipation going and the dream alive.
These are dark times, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. And, we as marketers have the tools to shape the narrative, drive sentiment, shift some of the perceptions that COVID-19 has created as we move forward, and inspire the future of travel.
Let’s make sure we use them.