Over a series of articles packed with our expertise, we will be offering you the most up-to-date information on how to promote your business online. This week we are starting with Facebook - which, with over 1.5 billion daily active users, is the biggest social media platform.

Why your travel business needs Facebook

Not every social media platform is completely essential for your business, but Facebook is one that you cannot ignore. For many internet users, Facebook is a key go-to place for finding information about your business, so it would be crazy not to take full advantage.

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Not only is Facebook important for any business, but for the travel sector, it's vital. 87% of travellers under 34 are going to Facebook for inspiration before booking travel, and in 2012, 42% of all content posted on people's Facebook pages was about travel experiences, making travel the most common content shared by users. This shows that Facebook is an unmissable opportunity for travel businesses.

What Facebook's good for

If you're looking for somewhere to create a relaxed, friendly community, Facebook is that place. It's generally a platform for casual, informal engagement. Facebook is the place to celebrate your company's successes such as awards, milestones, or even to share fun, internal news such as birthdays, annual events, or general office shenanigans.

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Photos are particularly well-received on Facebook. Posts that include photos account for 93% of the most engaging posts. When selling travel products especially, visual appeal is very important - as 52% of travellers said that photos they saw on Facebook influenced their travel plans. Show your customers that holiday they need!

If your business has a blog, then Facebook is a great place to showcase your articles. Nowadays, consumers are a tough crowd, and are looking to be seduced by interesting content from brands rather than bombarded with direct selling. With so many travellers on Facebook, it's the perfect place to amplify your content.

Facebook Ads: Connect to your ideal audience

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You’ve probably heard that Facebook's organic reach is ‘dead’ since they introduced new ways of ranking content on news feeds. With this in mind, there is a simple way to get your posts seen: put a little of your marketing budget into Facebook Ads.

Facebook Ads is an effective way of getting significantly more reach to drive traffic to your posts, blog, website, or wherever you’d like, and the good news is; you only pay per click on your ad. Research shows that paid adverts with a call-to-action get 2.85 times more click-throughs than organic posts.

Facebook Ads is also a great tool to target that perfect customer - especially with personalisation being a huge marketing trend - as it lets you refine the people who view your ad down to tiny details of demographics, interests and behaviour. If you wanted to target a male with an art degree, who is in a relationship, loves eating out in restaurants, travels regularly and uses Facebook on an iPad - you could.

Many of the major brands in the travel industry are running Facebook Ads, so it's probably time to jump on the bandwagon. Thomas Cook recently had huge success through Facebook Ads - by simply posting an image of a girl in a snorkel on the beach. They got their content to reach 27% of the entire population of Belgium in one day and achieved a 3.85 times return on investment.

That's a fantastic success story - but Facebook Ads is effective even with a small budget. The beauty of cost-per-click (CPC) is that you can set your budget and timescale to whatever you like - costs could average at just £60 to reach over 30,000 Facebook users with all the characteristics of your perfect customer.

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Basic tips for Facebook success

Before embarking on a Facebook Ads campaign, it's important that you first understand how to use Facebook properly.

1. Know your audience. If you are a company specialising in luxury travel, the way you communicate with your audience would be very different than if you're selling hostel deals to backpackers. Make sure you establish the right tone of voice to connect with your customers.

2. Post regularly. Your followers are there because they want to connect with you, not because they want to be neglected. On the other hand, it's important not to overwhelm your followers with random and unrelated content – the most important thing is to be selective and publish only content that is valuable to your audience.

3. Encourage engagement. When you attain new followers on Facebook, they’re not your ‘friends’ until you engage with them. Engagement on Facebook generally comes in the form of likes, shares, comments and clicks. You can create engagement through asking questions, sharing photos, creating competitions and offers, and posting at the right time.

4. Send people to your website. It pays to create campaigns that link to a relevant page on your site where your audience can read further information. If the reach on your Facebook posts turns into traffic on your company website, you’re doing Facebook well.

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Start now and boost your bookings!

Facebook is a big and powerful tool for travel businesses. By taking our pointers on board, you can establish your travel brand online, engage with your perfect customer, build relationships and ultimately increase your bookings by targeting that 52% of travellers who get their holiday inspiration from Facebook.

It may take time to get to know Facebook, but it's worth it. Next, we will be explaining Twitter's recent changes and how you can use the social media giant to become a marketing pro.

© Digital Trip