The social media landscape is ever evolving; the trick is to predict what’s going to happen next. In the travel space, it’s now an established fact that millennials tend to book their flights and accommodation through comparison sites like Tripseats, Skyscanner and Booking.com, always on the hunt for the best budget deals. But whether you’re an established or emerging brand, tour operator or hotel chain, you need to stay ahead of the game if you’re going to draw customers in through your social media outlets.
Instagram is On the Up
It’s been growing in popularity and shows no signs of slowing down. Instagram will continue to be the travel marketer’s Holy Grail as we further our way into 2017. At the moment, user engagement on the platform is around 10 times higher than Facebook and over 50 times higher than Twitter, writes Digital Trip.
The power of images in social media marketing strategies has long been identified as an essential tool in engaging consumers. But Instagram has cornered the market and continued to impress. The platform is perfect for travel brands looking to sell an inspirational lifestyle through visual storytelling.
Use Your Imagination
Think beyond useful and emotional posts and use your imagination. Yes, useful pieces do appeal, and yes those posts that tug at the heart strings can quickly go viral, but 2017 is all about creativity and inspiration.
Low-key images that simply show something beautiful, like a deserted beach or colorful fiesta are set to become ever more popular. Consumers are saturated, and it’s time to step back and concentrate on understated advertising and marketing campaigns.
Concentrate on imagery and sentiment to give your social media strategy a post-modern twist.
In the same vein, regular, standard-structure posts are going to lose out to more informal approaches. Social media is inherently casual but burgeoning platforms like Snapchat and Facebook Live require travel brands to engage in relaxed storytelling. Up to the minute footage from exotic destinations is likely to trump more rigid posting habits.
Video Will Dominate Facebook
Facebook has predicted that within five years, video will dominate news feeds, with regular posts that simply feature text and image falling by the wayside, writes Digital Trip. Again Facebook Live has a lot to do with this, but so does the introduction of video ads.
Facebook is by far the largest social media network, so it pays to follow the company’s advice when it comes to developments in the industry. For travel marketers, it’s time to invest much more time and energy into creating appealing video content. Whether this means taking on a production team is a choice that only budget can determine, but if you want to sell travel products and services, the public will want to see them in action.
Artificial Intelligence Is Gaining Traction
So the automated chatbot established itself last year as a means of travel companies to communicate with customer queries. But away from figuring out why a flight is delayed, or how many euros a dollar will buy, experts predict that the use of AI in social media strategies will accelerate in 2017 (Digital Trip).
Who knows, soon you might be introducing yourself to an electronic tour guide as they lead you through a live tour of a hotel. That’s just one way that AI could have a real impact.
Twitter Will Continue its Downward Spiral
2016 was a terrible year for Twitter, and sadly for the platform (and my heart), things aren’t looking great as we head into 2017, reported Forbes. The quick, fast-paced nature of Twitter has lost its appeal. Instead, users want to see more in-depth, substantial posts.
For travel marketers, this isn’t such a bad thing. The nature of the tourism industry allows for long form content. Exciting imagery, adventure, and wanderlust can easily drive a more detailed social media strategy. Other brands that have built their identities on Twitter's quick-witted insights might struggle.
But, while Twitter withered, another social media Goliath is taking its place. Snapchat is growing at an incredible rate. No longer is it just a means of sharing disposable content. The platform has embraced video streaming developed a space for brands to tell up to the minute stories and even run campaigns. With more technological advances expected from the platform during 2017, Snapchat is the one to watch.
Here's to 2017!