Social media is defined as applications or websites that allow users to share and post content. Social media has become a very important base for marketing in today’s world, including for a destination marketing organisation. “Social media provide a great array of online venues for destination management organizations (DMOs) to distribute information and communicate with others” (Popesku, 2014).
The most important activities on social media for a Destination Marketing Organisation are:
- To build communities that have an interest in their destination, for example online forums or blogs.
- To collect “user-generated content” such as pictures and videos people posted who have visited the destination.
- To display photos and videos on for example instagram and Flickr to give an image of the destination.
- To distribute news about the destination.
- To emphasize upcoming events and promotional programs.
- To “encourage word-of-mouth recommendations.
- Finally to collect feedback, for example by conducting surveys (Popesku, 2014).
However, as Peelen and Beltman state in their book ‘Customer Relationship Management’: “one should also determine which platforms are most suited for the marketing goals that are set” (Peelen, 2013). There are many different platforms one should consider, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and many more. How does a Destination Marketing Organisation choose which is the most important platform to focus on?
Nearly every platform is important when marketing a destination, however, each platform has a completely different use and a different level of importance. Let’s start with Facebook, Facebook is an online networking site that allows users to upload videos, pictures and text to share with family and friends. Facebook has grown to become one of the most popular networking sites of all time. Thus it is important that Facebook is used to market a destination. It can be used to share blogs of individuals who have visited the destination and have written a blog about it. Facebook could also be used to share news, upcoming events or offers of the destination. Facebook is an important platform to build up a customer basis.
Another important Social Media platform is Instagram. People tend to forget about Instagram, but Instagram is a growing platform with 300 million active users since December 2014 (Fiegerman, 2014). Instagram is an online mobile networking application that allows users to take picture, throw a filter on them and then upload them to either instagram or other social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr. Instagram can be used to upload pictures or videos of the destination and communicate with customers. For example, a DMO could upload a picture of the destination and engage the instagram customer base by asking a simple question in the caption. This will engage the customers more and help to create better relationships.
Other social media channels are Twitter, Flickr and LinkedIn. Twitter is an online social networking channel that lets users upload small messages called ‘tweets’ to their account. Twitter can be used to again share news or upcoming events. It is also a great channel to upload a picture once in a while or to ‘retweet’ messages of individuals who have visited the destination. Flickr is a great platform for DMO’s as it allows users to upload high quality pictures. Finally LinkedIn is a more professional platform, LinkedIn is a social networking channel which is Business-oriented. LinkedIn is also important for a DMO as it allows them to keep in touch with other businesses on the island and build their business customer base.
In my opinion, Instagram is a very important networking channel to market a Destination Marketing Organisation. Instagram shows potential customers the beauty of a destination whilst at the same time engaging the customer. The audience of a DMO wants to see the place they are visiting which is exactly what instagram does. Moreover, a DMO can post user-generated content on Instagram which builds relationships and trust. However, there are many positive and negative sides to each channel, I would love to read other people’s ideas on what the most important channel is for a DMO.
Fiegerman, S. (2014, December 10). Instagram tops 300 million active users, likely bigger than Twitter. Retrieved October 9, 2015, from http://mashable.com/2014/12/10/instagram-300-million-users/#0RVD_ff66Pqc
Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Pearson Education Benelux BV
Popesku, J. (2014). Social Media As A Tool Of Destination Marketing Organisations. Sinteza. doi:10.15308/SInteZa-2014-715-721