Tourism Australia has set the industry an ambitious goal of making Australia the world’s most talked about holiday destination in social media.
The national tourism agency is sharing its own unique approach to social media by publishing some guidelines it believes the near one million people directly and indirectly working within Australian tourism can use to promote their business and the wider industry.
Tourism Australia Managing Director Andrew McEvoy said that Australia was the most popular travel destination on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram in 2012 and already had a loyal army of fans interacting and enthusiastically selling the country.
“Ultimately, we want our four million Facebook fans, the 23 million Australians who live here and the 6.1 million people who visited last year to become part of the world’s biggest social media team and ambassadors for our country,” he said.
The ‘five steps’ to Tourism Australia’s success in social media include creating social media platforms for fans and also allowing them to be the ‘hero’. One of Tourism Australia’s most senior Facebook fans is 81-year-old Harry Willey, who regularly engages with fans and has become one of Australia’s most passionate advocates.
Tourism operators are also advised to always be on the look out for ‘big waves’ and small waves’ – choosing the right social media opportunities to surf. Tourism Australia says a relatively easy small wave to ride is simply publishing your fans photos, something it does itself every week through its ‘Friday Fan Photos’ page.
Operators are also advised not just to tell stories, but instead give people compelling stories that they can tell themselves and, importantly, share with their own social networks. Finally, Tourism Australia advises operators not to be afraid of new ideas, but always to test them first and learn from them.
Mr McEvoy believes that social media offers an accessible entry point for companies in the tourism sector.
“78% of our industry is made up of small to medium sized enterprises, and a lot of them just don’t have the time or the resources to fund traditional marketing campaigns. Social media has levelled the playing field for everyone and is a proven and effective way to secure endorsement,” he said.
“If I own a hotel and someone tweets or posts about it on Facebook, they’re advocating for my business. This makes everyone who comes through the door a potential fan and advocate. We see the same opportunity from everyone that visits our shores and the industry can help itself by embracing the power of social media.
“In tourism promotion, compelling content is king. Our job at Tourism Australia is as creator, co-creator, curator and syndicator of this content. The more operators willing and able to become part of our social media team, to share their great tourism experiences and demonstrate Australia as an aspiring travel destination, the better.
“Hopefully we’ve captured a lot of useful learnings and insights, which operators can now apply to their own businesses,” Mr McEvoy said.