Social media is a critical component of marketing for many travel advisors. Facebook is still king, but TikTok is quickly narrowing the gap, while Instagram and YouTube remain viable, and LinkedIn is used primarily for B2B outreach. The thing is, travel advisors are experts in travel (not social media) and they do not always have the time to understand the intricate dynamics of the social media universe.
Help is at hand. During the ALG Vacation’s FAM trip to Greece in September 2023, the company paired 10 hand-selected travel advisors with five travel influencers. Throughout the event, while exploring Athens and Corfu, the advisors interacted with the influencers in small-group workshops and one-on-one coaching sessions to learn practical tips on how to use social media to build their businesses. The pairings were further enhanced by the fact that the highly social and engaging celebrity, Carson Kressley, actively participated in the first half of the 7-day trip, giving real-life examples of the power of social media.
While there is nothing quite like that kind of face-to-face, boots-on-the-ground coaching, we have gathered these top five tips from those influencers to help advisors everywhere take the next steps in mastering the art of social media.
1. Tell authentic stories
“Share real experiences, both the highs and the challenges, to create genuine connections with your audience,” says Michael Amanor, Luxury Travel Creator. “Whether it’s an unexpected encounter with a local or a lesson learned from a travel mishap, authentic stories resonate and create trust. Incorporate anecdotes, personal photos, and behind-the-scenes moments to bring your content to life.”
2. Leverage video content
Amanor also advises, “Video is an influential medium for travel content. Showcase destinations through vlogs, virtual tours, or even short cinematic montages. Platforms like Instagram Reels, TikTok, and YouTube offer unique ways to engage with audiences. Remember, it’s not always about the production value, but the narrative and the perspective you bring.”
3. Provide educational value
“Offer informative and educational content,” suggests Bernice Padilla, Travel Content Creator, Trendy Traveler LLC. “Create guides, tips, and advice about travel destinations. This establishes you as an expert and resource for travelers. Also share personal experiences to make it more relatable.”
4. Get creative shots using video apps
Professional photographer and travel influencer Will Byington says, “The best camera is the one you have with you all the time: your cell phone. Be creative with your shots, go low, go high, go wide, go close.” And remember, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take [while waiting for the perfect shot] … so shoot away.” He also recommends experimenting with various apps. One that he demonstrated is Insta360, which allows you to capture all sorts of creative angles (like third-person shots or even fake drone shots).
5. Use the three pillars rule
Travel Content Creator duo Kirstie Pike and Christine Diaz, On Airplane Mode, offer this rule for creating social media content that engages audiences: “The three pillars to building a social media presence are sharing content that is relatable, edu-taining (entertaining and educational), and inspiring … These three pillars create an authentic relationship with your audiences who could potentially progress into clients.” Take a moment to check each post before sending. The more your posts adhere to the three pillars, the better your engagement will be.
To learn more about how travel advisors can leverage the marketing clout that social media offers up, download TMR’s free white paper here.