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local social media marketingThe writing is on the wall. Let's acknowledge that location based social media sites or LBS are here to stay. They are not only cool, they are profitably cool. If you have not started using any of these social media sites to promote your business, it is high time that you do so. These sites make it possible for you to stay in touch with prospective buyers. There are a hoard of location based social media, and it is quite tough to choose the right one among them. So, here's our list of top 5 location based social media sites, and the gist of what they can do for you business.

Foursquare: Right now it is the most popular mobile application around. Thanks to the ever increasing user list of this location based social media site, you can connect with a lot of people. This is perfect for those who have just started using LBS or have a newly opened business. You can use the sites reward point facilities and “mayor of the venue” offer to your benefit. Foursquare is always open to the suggestion of providing badges for your brand of business. This is a chance for you to suggest your brand name and get a badge, which your frequent visitors can get and display on their own individual pages.

Facebook Places: As obvious, Facebook too has also come up with its own location based site - Facebook Places. If you want to inform the world about your arrival, then this is the right application to use. Right now, it is best suited for iPhone users; however, it is believed that the company will bring out different versions for Android and BlackBerry phones as well.

Groupon: Use this location based social media site to advertise your brand name, special deals, discounts, and reward points. Groupon is, undoubtedly, a great place to get immediate attention of your customers. Moreover, you can also use the referral scheme to encourage your buyers to ask their friends to check in as well.

Blippy: Set your Blippy account and quite instantly, you will know what people think about your products. People post the reviews of products that they have purchased or the movie they have seen. This makes the site an ideal tool for knowing the pulse of the population. Open your page and find out what people are saying about your offerings or what improvements and changes, if any, they expect. The application allows it to be merged with Facebook updates too.

Loopt: Amongst the hordes of location-based social media sites, Loopt is another site that you can depend on. This is a good site to stay updated about people within your vicinity, a good tool to stay connected with your friends and contacts. Moreover, you can announce rewards and make promotional moves highlighting location-based discounts. Another facility is the ability to use Loopt Star Facebook game to let people win coupons.

instagram-vs-pinterest

As consumers are increasingly using various social networking platforms to know about and buy from brands, marketers too have changed their strategies to leverage the power of such media. Thus, it’s no wonder that visual social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have become extremely popular among both the consumers and the brands. This is primarily because the human brain not only likes visuals, but is way more impacted by them as compared to mere texts. In fact, some research results have shown that as compared to text, people process pictures 60,000 times faster. What’s more, 90% of the information transmitted to a human brain falls under the visual category.

In the travel and tourism industry, many business owners are using photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest to drive more business their way. Perhaps you too would love to join the bandwagon but are a little confused about making a choice between the two. While there is no harm in utilizing both of these extremely useful platforms, you might not have enough bandwidth to do the same always. This is where comes the question of deciding between the two. Here is a comparative study of Instagram and Pinterest that might be of help ­

Why should you choose Instagram?

  • After you take a photo or select a photo from the ones saved in your phone, you can edit and reedit the image. You can even use the multiple filters and applications to modify the final image of a destination to make it look more appealing to the prospective travelers.
  • While analyzing Instagram photo searches, you will be able to understand your target clientele better. Interact with your target audience, discuss about some particular images and thus, you can reach and tap into a hitherto untouched digital community.
  • Instagram is useful at each stage of a travel cycle, and not just for the stays. The images shared provide encouragement, guidance and inspiration during the stage of planning and even when the tour is in progress.
  • You can use Instagram to encourage people to share their travel photos. These images can then be broadcasted back to travelers who may be dreaming of a trip to that particular place one day, those who have just finished a tour there, or those who are yet to decide if they want to visit or not.
  • Tourism operators who are featured on Instagram posts can get a huge amount of additional enquiries, interests and bookings.

Things to consider:

  • With Instagram, you don't get any API access. As a result of this, you can't use any separate tools to publish.
  • In the Instagram pictures, links don't work in captions. This makes it a bit difficult for you to drive users to your website.
  • Instagram has limited integration capabilities with other social media platforms. This can cause problems when you want to link and share your Instagram pictures with other social media networks.
  • Another disadvantage of using Instagram is that it has limited scopes of advertising. Only big brands seem to be able to afford Instagram advertisements.

Why should you choose Pinterest?

  • It is already the third most popular social network, which attracts more than 1.3 million visitors every day.
  • It drives more referral traffic than the combined traffic of LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube, and therefore, is an ideal tool for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • It increases the visibility of your tourism business through the lively photos of different destinations.
  • With Place Pins, you can now add value to your boards by introducing new places to the prospective travelers and encouraging them to visit by giving the contact info that they can call for details or use to book a stay directly.

As a member of the travel and tourism industry, you can cash in on Pinterest, which focuses on the emotions and experiences of the travelers. This platform lets you offer better and information packed interactive maps and tourist guides to the travelers, many of whom may eventually become your clients.

Things to consider:

  • One of the toughest facts that you have to accept before jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon is that you just can’t talk only about your business and promote it unabashedly. You have to be completely discreet and subtle about your products or services while you focus on helping the travelers plan their tours.
  • Pinterest can't serve as the solitary social media site for your business. You can enjoy its benefits the best when you use it together with Facebook and Twitter. At present, it doesn't have the ability to go viral like other social media posts. You need to use travel related hashtags or a website link to make it reach your target audience quickly.

Thus, the final choice rests with you, but now can make an educated choice on selecting on what suits your travel and tourism business the best. Often, it’s the wisest to use both, if possible, and leverage the dual benefits that Pinterest and Instagram have to offer.

captivating-postsLooking for fresh ideas to post on social media? We’ve rounded up some topics to get folks sharing, interacting and wanting to visit!

  • Post a photo of your resort pool with a caption, “Who wants to play? MARCO!...”
  • Post photos of local or your speciality food – everyone loves food pictures!
  • Post photos of the lovely grounds, flowers, the view, sunrise, sunset with the caption, “who needs a vacation?”
  • Photos of things to do… swim, scuba, kiteboarding, skiing, paddle boarding, etc and ask visitors what their favorite water sport is?
  • Sinking your toes in the sand with a caption, “Wish you were here!”
  • Post a beautiful photo of your resort or view and add the caption, “Tag yourself if you need a vacation.” You could even make this into a contest if you want and select someone who tagged themself as your winner.
  • Post a photo of something unique visitors would see so they can almost envision themselves there - local street vendors, a unique artifact (totem pole, statue, pier, etc) or well known sign (Welcome to Las Vegas) that signifies your visit-worthy locale
  • Post a photo of things going on nearby: a street player playing jazz, a surfing event, a race. You never know who’s looking and what they’re interested in - it just may be what you capture a photo of!
  • If you offer excursions or travel related services, post photos of what they will see on the trip and post a caption like, “You’re invited” or “Here’s what you’re missing!”
  • Who is your demographic? Older retired couples? Singles? Young adventurous types? Post something that would appeal to them - a bicycle built for 2 that they can rent? Excursions for solo travelers or maybe a wild and adventurous trek.
  • Post how your business is contributing to sustainability, eco-tourism, protecting coral reef, wildlife conservation, low water usage, recycling, energy conservation, local sourcing of food, etc
  • Ask people what their favorite thing to do when visiting is
  • Post a screen capture of the current weather conditions and a caption saying, “it’s perfect here for you to come visit”
  • Post photos of the various things to do when traveling with kids
  • Share posts and photos from other nearby businesses that your demographic might be interested in. (IE: if you’re a resort, you might want to post photos of a travel excursion that went on a trip to XYZ and shared it on their page)
  • Ask visitors what their favorite beach is, favorite snorkeling spot, favorite place to eat
  • Take a photo of some “off the beaten path” place and ask if folks can identify where it is or what the photo is of
  • Iguanas? Tropical Fish? Birds? Share photos of sights and sounds of nature around you.
  • Stage a photo of cervezas under a palm tree on the sand, a surfboard at the beach on top of a jeep, guests getting on gear to go on an excursion, etc - anything that makes visitors wish they were there living in that moment!
  • Take photos of guest having fun, enjoying their time or relaxing. Ask them if you can share it on your website blog (even better to get a model release signed) as well as on Facebook. Ask them to tag themselves or if you may.

When you find what your visitors interact with the most, do it often, but also don’t forget to still have a good mix that will appeal to your target demographic.

Showcase your food optionsPinterest allows you to share as well as organize every interesting thing you see on the web. With the help of this pinboard-style social picture sharing site, you can produce and manage a wide variety of theme-based images, which may include interests, leisure pursuits, events, and more. Since users can ‘like’ photos, browse other pinboards to get ideas and inspiration, and ‘re-pin’ images to their own assortments, this medium can help you to drum up publicity for your business and brand.  Let us see how restaurateurs can benefit from Pinterest:

Posting pictures of food: Since Pinterest is more of a visual platform, this is the best media to display high quality pictures of the various unique food items offered at your restaurant. Visual impact is much effective to woo new clients and retain your existing ones.

Post events: It is essential for you to share pictures of the events you entertain in your restaurant. People are attracted by varieties that are offered and constantly look for something new. Hence, keep improvising and updating these pictures.

Post pictures of your restaurant: Most people look for the ambience of a place, especially when they decide to dine out.  The interior of your restaurant would certainly make a huge difference to the ambience followed by the food that is presented with an appropriate customer service.

Post the ingredients: Though you may have your secret recipes, you must mention the special menus that are unique to your restaurant with some of the key ingredients used in them. With the increase in health awareness, people do look into what they eat and how hygienic it is.

Post offers: There are times when you would offer free drinks with a meal menu or let the 50th visitor enjoy a free starter. When you use the Pinterest to post these offers, you can expect more people to take note of such offers, which in turn may increase the number of visitors coming to your restaurant.

Post images of work areas: This actually makes a difference in getting more people. Posting the pictures of kitchen and the work areas projecting the chefs at work etc, would give an idea about the clean kitchen and other food items. This in turn would motivate more people to visit your restaurant.

Plan contests: From time to time, you may plan a contest with people who follow you on Pinterest. Offering the winner a free night out or dinner could make more people interested and even give you some word-of-mouth publicity, not to mention the re-pins that your post may get.

Talk about special achievements: You can pin about milestones achieved by your restaurant like being in business for 10 years, or talk about other successful milestones like hosting a dinner party for your city’s soccer team, making it special for a guest’s birthday or anniversary etc.

Post about other things: It’s not wise to always talk about your restaurant, recipes etc. At times, you may go off topic to pin about a special news or your city’s sport team to show that you really care about the place your live in and want meaningful interaction with fellow citizens. Pinning about your family roots and why or how you came into the restaurant business are also good ways to break the monotony.

Pinterest can help you tap into new audience while retaining your existing clientele. You can even increase the number of visitors to your restaurant’s website by using this medium wisely. You can use a Pinterest follow button and Pin It button on your website to let your clients easily connect with you and share your content online. So, use the tips mentioned above to give your restaurant business a boost.