Are you too busy to manage social media for your hotel, resort or tour agency? Do you feel overwhelmed by the idea of running a social media marketing campaign for your tourism business?
An experienced social media marketing agency can help to ensure you choose the best strategy and tactics to meet your goals without wasting valuable time and resources. But deciding to partner with an agency is only the first step. Choosing the right agency is key.
Digital marketing is an integral piece of the marketing puzzle for any 21st century business — but especially for businesses in travel, tourism and hospitality. A thoughtfully planned and executed social media strategy has the power to amplify your brand, grow your audience, and reach more potential guests than ever before.
While not every hotel, resort or tourism business needs to outsource their social media, most don’t have the time, staff, expertise, or — let’s face it — the patience, to leverage social media to its full potential on their own.
An external social media marketing team, however, can be a valuable resource for your business. Outsourcing social media can provide the specialized knowledge and expertise required to not only reach social goals more quickly, but to effectively initiate and execute those big-picture, high impact, campaigns necessary to ensure your social success.
Begin the Search: What to look for in a Social Media Marketing Agency
Finding a great travel and tourism digital marketing agency is a big business decision and it’s important that the team you choose is a good fit for you, your company culture, and, of course, your price point.
But, with so many different agencies out there, how do you make the best outsourcing decision? To help simplify what can be an overwhelming process, here are a few tips to choosing the right social media marketing team for your business:
Identify Your Needs
Before you begin your search, have some understanding of what social media means to you and your business goals. Do you need to create and execute a new strategy or tweak an existing strategy? Perhaps you want to boost your visibility, generate leads and bookings, or differentiate yourself from competitors. Are you looking to drive traffic to your website and amp up your SEO? Think about your direction and then consider an agency to provide clarity to your goals and who can layout a social media strategy and initiatives to best meet it. A good agency will create a tailored solution for your business.
Find The Right Fit
Social media marketing for travel, tourism and hospitality brands requires a marketing team or agency with unique and specialized insights and skills. Look for a partner agency with lots of experience working with businesses like yours and others in your industry, like hotels, resorts, destination marketing organizations, tour companies and more.
Explore Which Services They Offer
A social media marketing agency does much more than publish posts on your social networks. An effective and successful agency takes ownership for your accounts’ growth, equally invested in the successes, and failures, of your social activity.
That said, not all agencies offer the same services. Some may put all of their resources into amping up social media activity; some focus on web design, blogging and SEO; others specialize in digital advertising.
Once you’ve identified the scope of work you’d like to outsource, and having considered your own goals, you can start exploring agencies according to your individual needs and the services they offer.
As you gauge the offerings of various agencies,
keep the following questions in mind:
- How many social networks do they include in their social media management packages? Base level packages from one agency may include more or less than that of another. Don’t go into a social media management agreement assuming you’ll receive a wide variety of social network coverage, only to find out later that you’re only really paying for one network. A good agency will give you thorough details to ensure everyone is on the same page.
- Will they post or engage or both? Social media management means different things to different agencies. Some will simply schedule posts and some will monitor your interactions and engagement. The best agencies will do both. It’s often not enough just to schedule content – social media requires a conversation, and today’s algorithms reward those interactions.
- How often will they post to each social network? Perhaps you simply want to maintain your presence or boost your SEO through your blog. Maybe you want to pursue engagement more aggressively on your social channels. Have a basic knowledge of what is required by each channel to not simply maintain, but expand your profile. For instance, posting three times a week to Twitter isn’t likely to impact your engagement, let alone conversions, in any meaningful way. Whereas, sharing more than twice per day on Facebook might tire your followers, wasting not only your time but budget as well.
- What about customer service on social media? If you aren’t addressing customer feedback or responding to customers’ questions on your social media channels, you’re really missing the boat! As many as 63% of customers expect businesses and brands to provide customer service on social media. If your response time is slow, you can lose customers. Speedy response times, by contrast, not only reflect positively on your customer service but can successfully turn a complaining customer into an enthusiastic brand evangelist. Will you handle customer service on social in-house, or will you want an agency to help?
- Do they provide social media advertising services? Social media advertising is typically considered a whole other animal when it comes to social media management. Business-related posts can find themselves buried in a Facebook feed unless there’s a “boost” – or money – involved. Ask your agency about their approach to social media advertising and whether or not it’s something they include in their management packages.
- How often do they provide social media analytics reports? Without reporting or analytics it’s impossible to get an accurate read on how efforts are truly impacting your social media presence. Any agency worth their salt should include monthly social media analytics reports that track: follower counts (and whether you’re gaining the appropriate followers for your brand), post engagement, click throughs and conversions, and the types of content that best resonate and perform for your brand.
- What social media management tools do they use? When you work with an agency you get the benefit of the variety of tools they employ to give their clients a leg up. From Hootsuite for scheduling and analytics, to BuzzSumo for measuring the types of content shared most frequently across various channels, their resources can more easily and readily amp up your social media game. It’s likely that your business might require a combination of services. Look to an agency that offers a range of services and is able to develop a clear strategy that deploys the appropriate services to help achieve your goals.
Ask for Referrals
As with any industry, you really can’t beat word-of-mouth when it comes to finding a great agency relationship. According to a recent survey, it’s peer recommendations that are the most popular way to find an outsourcing partnership that’s a great fit.
Agencies that have proven themselves reliable, appropriately priced, and experienced in their industry will be most often referred. Ask for recommendations and you’ll benefit from a shorter, previously vetted, list of prospects more certain to be a good fit for your business.
Be sure, too, to investigate existing or past clients. Reliable agencies will provide you with past clients to provide references and share their experience with the agency.
A worthy social media marketing agency will easily prove their skills, experience, and success through the testimony of past clients.
Size Matters – Small Can Be Better!
It’s not unusual for businesses to suffer the misapprehension that bigger is better when it comes to marketing, but it’s actually the opposite that’s more often the case.
A smaller shop will have more time to devote to your account and your customer service. You’ll likely enjoy a more personal, more individualized, experience where there is time to answer your questions and sit down with you, one-on-one.
Additionally, chances are greater you’ll have direct access to the expertise of the project lead, not simply passed off to a junior team member.
Asking questions will be vital to narrowing the search for the right digital marketing agency for your business. Here are a few to get the conversation started:
- Which areas of social media marketing are your specialties? What are your core competencies?
- Do you have any examples specific to the travel, tourism and hospitality industry?
- What is your approach to content development?
- How do you measure reach? Growth? Engagement?
- How will you research my industry?
- How will you communicate with me? How often?
- What is your reporting process?
- Do you outsource work?
- Can I speak to clients, former or existing?
Working in Harmony. Don’t Underestimate Good Fit
Culture fit can help boost productivity, streamline operational efficiency, and ensure greater chance of overall success. Conversely, a lack of alignment has been shown to negatively impact workflow and results.
Take the time to seek an agency whose mission, philosophy, and company culture aligns with yours. Do your homework. Review an agency’s online presence to gauge their experience and expertise. Peruse their blogs, client testimonials, and social media.
Additionally, be sure to ask yourself the following questions: Is this someone I can work with frequently? Would I want to hang out for a coffee or beer with this person? Do I trust them to represent my company on social media? How well do they understand your business? Make sure they listen to you and understand your goals rather than merely telling you what your goals ought to be.
Harmony between your team and theirs — from collaboration to communication to the exchange of ideas — benefits everyone.
Best Price Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Best Value
It’s natural to be on the hunt for the best price – we all do it! But, when it comes to making important business decisions, particularly when it comes to social media marketing companies, it’s critical to look for best value rather than simply lowest price.
You want an agency that offers the most services and superior expertise. You will get more value for your money, as well as results, when you’re provided an expert strategy using a wide variety of tactics.
Not sure what you need?
Stir develops and executes world-class social media solutions for businesses and brands based on their unique business goals. Whether you want to increase followers, run a sweepstakes, or drive targeted leads to your website via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or other social networks, our expert social media marketing team can help you find success.
Our social media services include:
- Social media management services
- Strategic social media marketing plans
- Social media marketing and advertising campaigns
- Social media copywriting, posting, and engagement
- Growing followers and engagement
- Social media contests and sweepstakes
- Online reputation management, and so much more!
Get in touch with the Stir Tourism team today to learn more about our services.