Central Counties Tourism is proud of the pool of knowledge that our team has across many sectors of the tourism industry. Our team’s first-hand experiences translate into opportunities to share expertise with our members across the region, like this article by Sarah Gratta, Central Counties Tourism Headwaters Field Manager.
Social media is easy when it’s for yourself but as soon as it’s for your business all of a sudden you feel like a deer caught in the headlights. It’s a no brainer to post a thought, picture, quiz or meme to your personal accounts – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, etc. but as soon as it’s for a business you need to put more thought, more effort and more time (that you probably don’t have) into it and it can become overwhelming.
I used to run a small business – a lifestyle gift shop and my only “advertising” was on social media. In my four years, I grew Instagram, my main social account, to almost 5,000 followers. That may not seem like a lot but I did not buy a single follower and had fantastic engagement both through comments and likes but more importantly from people coming into the store, messaging or calling to purchase the candle / card / spoon / pillow that I had posted that week. And then once I added e-commerce in 2020, I could see that my website traffic and sales linked directly from my posts.
So, while social for business can strike fear into even the most prolific personal poster it does not have to. At first, I found it super easy to post from the shop, to walk around and take pictures of new merchandise, do stories of my unpacking and being buried in barcodes, pictures of cute babies’ and pictures of the dogs visiting the shop all helped me create my tone of voice – welcoming, knowledgeable, fun, personable. During the busy times it was easy to find things to post about. During the quiet times, the winter months, the rainy days and the Covid days it was much harder. This is when I found that I needed a strategy to make posting less stressful and still impactful while not forgetting about the all-important algorithms, reels, stories, hashtags, tags, locations.
So what did I do?
I found that finding one day a month to plan out my content was very helpful. Not the actual day-to-day posts with pictures and hashtags, that for me was too prescribed and did not leave room to be spontaneous and capture things in the moment. That said, I did find it helpful in the slower months to create posts and have them scheduled (you can use HootSuite, Facebook, Loomly, the list is long). This way I was always sure to have at least two or three posts a week so as not to lose my followers and stay relevant with the algorithm. With the pressure off that left me lots of space to create on the fly or in the moment posts without the fear of over posting, because yes, that is a thing too.
Here are some of my tips to help get over what can be a paralyzing fear of posting to social media…
- Determine your posting schedule – while consistency is key – you need to determine what you can commit to. This helps establish reliability and trust.
- Choose categories. This keeps you focused and lets your audience come to know what they can expect from you. Examples of categories are; My Why/About Me, Behind-the-Scenes, Product Benefits, Product Showcase, Encouragement, Pets, Food.
- Choose your photo identity. These are the types of photos that will visually represent your brand on social media. Not just what you show but how you show it. For example, my product shots were often taken with red as the background colour or on my front porch.
- Batch your photography – for example if your topic is Behind-the-Scenes – capture a number of photos at once and then use them over time. Change your outfit, the coffee mug you use, the flowers in a vase and you can create photos for numerous posts. At the same time film a TikTok, reel or story.
Now, take a deep breath and grab a coffee, glass of wine or whatever your calming drink of choice is and start brainstorming those categories and what you want your visual identity to be.
Need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your Field Manager for advice. Looking for a more in-depth guide to social media and specific to the tourism industry?
Coming soon to the CCT Learning Lab is the Get Tourism Social Media Ready.
By Sarah Gratta