Facebook and Tourism Marketing: Best Practices

Social media is a standard marketing practice now, and holds several powerful platforms for tourism marketers. Taking on social media can be challenging, especially with limited time and budget. In this series, we explore best practices for destinations and attractions across different channels. Today, we’ll look at Facebook and tourism marketing.

Facebook and Tourism Marketing: Best Practices

Ah, Facebook. The social network so popular, everyone from your little cousin to your grandmother is on it. Of all the social media channels, Facebook has the biggest reach and most diverse audience. This makes it an ideal channel for almost every kind of business to find their target audience, destinations and tourism businesses included. While we dive into a few key considerations, keep in mind they are all connected in the grand scheme.

The Algorithm

The elephant in the room, the ever-changing, elusive Facebook algorithm. The algorithm is essentially responsible for what posts you see, who the posts are from, and how often you see them. The exact calculation of the algorithm remains (and will likely continue to remain) a mystery, but we do know a few key things:

  • It prioritizes posts from people over posts from businesses
  • Newer posts are considered more fresh and are more likely to be seen
  • Visual content and content with high engagement “lives” longer
  • Facebook has used the algorithm to continually decrease the organic (unpaid) reach of business posts, with the intention of increasing the relevancy of the posts people see. This trend is ongoing for the last five years or more.
  • The more people engage with posts from a person or page, the more posts they will see from that person or page.

In January 2021, Facebook finally revealed components of the algorithm.

Here is a thorough article from Hootsuite covering Facebook’s history and the algorithm revelations.

Posting Frequency

If you have a Facebook page, of course you have to post on it. But between the algorithm and the constant reports that Facebook is intentionally decreasing organic reach of businesses on Facebook, it can be hard to pinpoint the happy medium of posting. Unfortunately, there’s no quick fix or easy answer but you can use a few trial and error measurements to help you find the best balance for your page. Consider this:

  • How many followers do you have? As a general best practice, pages with fewer than 10,000 – 15,000 followers don’t need to post every day.
  • When is your audience online? It does no good to schedule your posts at noon if your audience is most active at 7 am and 4 pm. You can see an overview of when your audience is most active under Insights – Posts – When Your Fans are Online.
  • What type of posts do best with your audience? Again check your post insights breakdown to see which posts had the most reach, engagement and clicks. Identify those pieces of content, and what was special about them. If your audience loves behind-the-scenes photos, or food recipes, increase the frequency of those posts.

Finding that sweet spot between not posting enough and posting too much can be best determined by audience engagement. Which brings us to…

Audience Engagement

If you’re curious about Facebook engagement throughout the years, and how the recent changes have affected it, Buffer has a great breakdown based on analyzing 43 million business page posts. The article concludes that regardless of content or posting frequency, business pages have seen an overall decrease in engagement. This is due to several factors, including the algorithm and an increase in competition for eyes on posts.

Audience engagement and posting frequency go hand in hand, so by analyzing the posts that do best with your audience, including content and time of posting, you’ll be able to more accurately find the happy posting medium.

Pro tip: It’s always a good idea to be responsive to the engagement you’re receiving on Facebook, and across all social channels. If someone comments, take a second and like their comment or reply something as simple as “thanks!”

Visual Content

It’s no secret that of all the types on content, visual does best on Facebook. But long gone are the days where you could put a photo in a video format to boost engagement (just kidding- that never worked). With a decrease in engagement, good content is more important than ever. But don’t stress if you don’t have time to go out and gather gorgeous photos of your destination for all seasons? Utilize existing assets, like local influencers or travel writers you’ve brought in, and ask to use their content. You can even seek out any posts of your destination or attraction and ask for permission to use the image. As long as you give credit where it’s due, re-post away!

Bonus: Using other people’s photos lends an element of credibility, which potential customers (or visitors in this case) love to see. This is also known as user-generated content or UGC.

Drone photography and video are now well-established and many vendors offer drone services. Seeing shots like the ones in the below video from I LOVE NEW YORK are striking and memorable and modern – everything we want our destinations to be.

Analytics

Facebook changed the amount of analytics it provides users this summer. While the insights information is still available, the analytics tool is no longer available. Follower count, post scheduling information, engagement and reach and other useful data is still available in the Insights tools. More data is also available through the Creator Studio, Business Suite and Facebook Ads data remains unchanged.

Facebook Ads

While this is another topic in and of itself, the consensus is Facebook is decreasing organic reach of business posts to encourage promoted posts. They want you to increase your advertising and spending more money. While it’s tempting to simply click on the Boost button, we recommend going into Ads Manager to fully take advantage of Facebook’s advertising power. It’s worth making a note that of all the options for social media marketing, Facebook ads have the most detailed targeting, and are the most affordable. You can run ads for as little as $1/ or $5/ day (depending on your goal), perfect for any small business.