In the modern world, we’re seeing more and more travel brands using social channels as their primary platforms for branding and marketing. In fact, some have ditched blogging and other common forms of content marketing altogether in favour of the more immediate gratification and precise targeting offered by a social-only approach.
It’s understandable, as social media – and especially Instagram – has been a gift for travel brands, with the visual focus offering a chance to show off available destinations and experiences at their most enticing. However, we believe that social media is a tool that should be used to complement other forms of content marketing… not to replace them. For us, the best form of relationship is a symbiotic one. Here’s our take on why social and content marketing are tailor made for one another, and how you can use the two in tandem to boost your travel brand…
Social is a signpost, not a destination
Being active on at least some social channels is pretty much non-negotiable for ambitious travel brands these days. But while being huge on Instagram is certainly never going to be a bad thing for any brand, but there’s no point in harnessing all that energy unless it’s actually going to have some real-world benefits for your brand.
It can be easy to forget it in the flurry of likes, retweets and shares, but for travel brands, social is always a means to an end – and the end is directing interest to your business, your site and ultimately your products and services.
Social media builds anticipation for the main event – and whether that’s longer-form content on your site or a new product launch, the direction of travel is the same: from social to website, and almost never the other way around.
Web content dives deeper
All social platforms are by their nature limited in how deep into a subject they can delve. Instagram isn’t built for extensive visual explorations of a single place, and even Twitter’s greatest devotees are likely to lose patience with a thread around 20 tweets in. For sheer breadth and depth, there’s still no rival to good old-fashioned web content – whether that comes in the form of a blog post, a destination guide or as something else entirely. It’s sometimes said that social media profiles are the highlights reels of people’s lives, and the same is true for travel brands. If you want the bigger story behind a destination or an experience, social alone is never going to cut it.
What social media is great for is grabbing attention of people on the move, or people zoning out briefly at work who don’t have time to focus on a longer piece of content. But once you’ve grabbed that attention, you’ve got to keep it, and that’s where engaging, useful, in-depth and satisfying web content comes in.
Social trends aren’t just for social
What’s trending on social media can obviously serve as a guideline for what you should be posting about, but it can also help lead decisions about what destinations or travel news to spotlight on your site and in promotional mailings. The zeitgeist moves pretty swiftly these days, and keeping one eye on what’s happening on social is the easiest way to avoid getting left behind.
Your social media platforms are the dynamic face of your brand, changing more quickly and reaching more screens by far than, say, your blog. But with the quest to keep them dynamic comes pressure to produce more other content to share and link to, more quickly than ever before. Ultimately, travel brands need to utilise both social tools and website content to maximise their online presence. One feeds the other, and vice-versa.
The travel content writing advice section of our blog has a wealth of tips on perfecting your travel content, and our projects page can offer inspiration too. For all our latest travel tips and tricks, follow us on Twitter.