Social media as a search engine in tourism: why social media should be part of your marketing strategy
An increasing number of people, particularly Millennials and Gen Z, are now using social media as a search engine. They are utilising the search bars on popular social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube to learn more about a broad range of topics, trends, products, and services - including travel and vacations. Social media is transforming the way people make decisions: they can easily explore holiday destinations, gather sightseeing tips, read/see travel reviews, discover the best hotel deals, or get inspired for their next vacation with just a few clicks. They can even stumble upon completely new destinations and accommodations before they book a hotel or embark on a trip.
Instagram and TikTok are at the top of the most popular social media platforms
According to experts and analysts, social media users are spending more time on these platforms, but they're also becoming more mindful and selective about the digital content they consume. This means that companies now face an even greater challenge in creating content that's targeted and attention-grabbing to establish their brand's presence and add value through digital channels. The use of social media search has been increasing, overtaking traditional search engines in popularity. Instagram leads the pack as the most widely-used social media platform, with TikTok, the short video service, quickly gaining ground and even surpassing YouTube and Facebook. The hashtag #travel is used in billions of TikTok video views worldwide, and research shows that users tend to book trips or services after seeing content about them on the platform.
More website traffic and hotel bookings thanks to social media search
Social media platforms strive to keep users engaged on their site for longer periods of time. If you have a social media channel, you can use it to increase awareness of your hotel, showcase captivating content about your property and brand, provide interested individuals and guests with another means of getting in touch with you, offer exclusive deals for accommodations, wellness services, or dining experiences, connect with your target audience, and ultimately increase website traffic and bookings by directing them to your hotel website.
As a hotel, you should recognize the potential of social search and integrate social media into your marketing strategy. Offer guests a contemporary customer experience and establish a presence on pertinent social media channels. Show up where your target audience is and broaden the touchpoints with your business. Engage with users, listen to their feedback, address inquiries, respond to comments, connect with them, and actively improve your ranking in the platform's search results. Focus on high-quality photos and videos, coupled with compelling information on the subject matter, because social media should be entertaining!
- Users are increasingly using social media platforms to get information.
- A social media channel and interactions (engagement) with your target audience contribute to more website traffic.
- High engagement influences the ranking in the search results of social media platforms.
How to optimise the content of your channels on Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Facebook
Now you know how important social media is for successful marketing. But are you already doing things right? The optimization of social media content is crucial for the search algorithms of social media platforms. Follow these tips for Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Facebook to optimise your hotel profile and content - for your brand and your target group!
Optimise content for Instagram channel
- Keywords: write a keyword-focused title, also include keywords in your bio, image description, hashtags, and alt text.
- Hashtags: List up to 30 hashtags and use both popular hashtags and niche hashtags.
- Carousels and Reels: Increase the reach for your content using carousels and reels.
Optimise content for TikTok channel
- Keywords: Put the most essential keyword in the title and other keywords in the video description, in the hashtags and in the video itself (text/sound).
- Hashtags: Use three to five hashtags and go for a mix of popular hashtags and niche hashtags.
Optimise content for YouTube channel
- Keywords: Place keywords at the front of a YouTube video title and keep the title short (ideally less than 70 characters, including spaces, so that the title is displayed in full in search results). Add a meaningful description to the video about its content, placing the most important keyword in the first few lines before the entire text can be viewed via the "View more" button. Place the other keywords and a final call-to-action in the following lines of text.
- Tags and Hashtags: Add five to eight tags to the video and three hashtags around your keywords that describe what your video is about to gain more reach and visibility for the video.
- File name: Give your video file the name of your video title.
- Audio: Use keywords in your soundtrack as well.
- Subtitles: Activate this feature to automatically generate subtitles.
- Category: Select the appropriate category for your video.
Optimise content for Facebook channel
- Keywords: Add keywords to the description of your profile and your content, including hashtags that match your industry, your hotel and the content. Use a photo/video that reflects the central keyword and use this keyword in the alt text as well.
- Videos: Post especially videos as they have a higher reach, achieve more engagement and get better search results.
Implement these tips carefully and develop a content strategy that fits your hotel and is well-received by your target audience. Keep an eye on popular travel hashtags and pick up search queries around the topics of hotel, travel, vacation, wellness, restaurant etc. Create your own relevant content for your social media channels.
Take advantage of the platforms for your marketing and sales goals and also benefit from the fact that travellers increasingly share their experiences and most important memories with a wide audience. This is an effective advertising tool for you to gain more attention for your hotel, strengthen the relationship with your guests and attract new guests. The key to hotels' social media success lies in collecting social shares and positive user reviews.
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