Deepak Kannan of PickYourTrail shares organic Facebook hacks travel startups can use basis his personal experience, sharing a detailed of account what works and what doesn’t.
The way you engage with your customers is rapidly changing. With the advent of social media, there’s no-more a wall between you and your customers. You can understand the pulse of your customer right from wherever you are.
This significant impact that social media has is phenomenal and modern-day companies have all gone digital now. One such company with a huge emphasis on social media is Pick your trail, an online travel company.
Offering fully-customizable itineraries, the company was built with the aim of breaking the barriers of constraining packaged tours and dramatically transform the experience of travelling for customers. With an active social media following, Pickyourtrail has an agile marketing strategy.
Here’s a look at the organic Facebook hacks that Pick your trail follows to improve traction and gain authority in the travel space. If you are a budding travel startup, you might want to take notes.
The concept of Ask Me Anything (AMA) is not new to social media. For years, companies have promoted their brand on Reddit and Quora through AMAs. The content and the interaction that takes place here is almost entirely textual. But what about conducting an AMA session on Facebook?
Going live for your audience on Facebook takes courage and a huge leap of faith. Reddit and Quora are platforms where people are more likely to spend time reading. You could even claim that a large part of the audience are avid readers.
This is not the case with Facebook. While it is constantly evolving, there’s no common activity that you can tag as a popular interest for most, if not all of its users. In recent times, though, videos have continued to be clear winners on this platform. Pick your trail picked up on this and hosted a series of Live Facebook AMAs. For the viewers’ benefit, they roped in their in-house destination experts and travel hackers.
A typical session starts with the experts addressing basic concerns of the travellers, followed by an hour of answering questions the audience put up in the comments section. Exclusivity of the information establishes Pick your trail’s authority over other travel startups.
- On an average, each AMA session lasts for an hour, receiving around 25+ comments
- Promotion for the AMA’s start 1-2 weeks in advance
- Pick your trail’s AMA session on Europe reached over 24k people
AMA’s are a great way to understand the real-time pain points of the customers. Learn what your customer wants and try to inculcate it in your product.
Contests are a major engagement driving force on social media platforms and so is the case on Facebook. With brands conducting contests on a regular basis, it is a challenge to stand apart from the crowd.
Here’s how Pick your trail solved for this in its latest contest for Women’s Day:
Design a great poster. Pick your trail, for instance, chose a warm and sprightly colour scheme for its poster.
Another way to get your poster bang on is to keep it simple. Avoid information overload, you don’t want to overwhelm your audience.
Aligning your creative towards your target audience. You need to appeal to them and intrigue them. Pick your trail’s was women. While not stereotyping in anyway, pleasant colours like purple and pink do catch their eyes.
The rules, unlike many other contest posts, were not complex either.
Moreover a clear time frame made it easier to track.
Even when the winners of the contest were declared, a separate post was designed to garner interaction and make the winners feel celebrated.
Women’s day contest ran for two whole days.
From over 100 entries, three entries were awarded.
The post reached to over 3k people, receiving 100+ comments and 20 shares
Contests are a great way to drive customer engagement. Come with creative contests every once in a while and execute it timely for a greater brand reach.
3. Inspirational Stories
Blogs are an integral part of any travel startup. They are not just great ways to build credibility for what you do but are great way to generate engagement – especially on Facebook. While most travel companies are adept at churning out listicles, Pick your trail works towards producing creative, original content every once in a while.
This includes anything from telling inspirational stories of real travellers to posting interesting updates or developments.
Inspirational stories are loved by all and the amount of engagement that these posts bring in is priceless. The benefits earned here are invaluable: great engagement generation while driving real traffic.
The underlying note is how these travellers’ stories unfolded for the best because they each travelled with Pick your trail. A great way to drive home the point: don’t just keep them engaged; keep them influenced. Subtly driving them to choose Pick your trail sover and over again.
Pick your trail came up with inspirational women’s day article that revolved around the women in their office space.
The Women’s day article reached to over 3.5k people, inviting 380+ post clicks and 4 link shares in the first 30 minutes of being shared!
Publishing inspirational stories are a great way to connect with people. They are very easy to relate and will influence the decisions of your customers. Delivering the right inspirational story reaps rewards.
4. Real traveler’s Videos
There is a drastic change in the way the world is consuming content. People now have lesser attention spans and prefer videos to textual information. Pick your trail encourages their travellers to go live from their vacation destinations.
The challenge may not just lie in convincing the travelers to go live but also in requesting they capture the essence of the place they are at.
The viewers or the audience are treated to a slice from all these destinations. Keep your audience engaged with real-time videos like these to not only generate excitement from wannabe travelers but also convince them to start considering planning a vacation with you.
Influential traveler, Rohith Subramaniam aka Lone wanderer was on a 150-day long journey across Europe
His live video from Eiffel Tower had 6k+ reach, 2k+ views, and 22 shares.
Customers having a peek into the real-time videos of the customers gives them a clear idea of how your brand works in making their dream come true. This will propel them to choose your brand over others.
5. News Post
Towards the end of November 2017, Mount Agung in Bali erupted and there was panic amidst the travelers who were already there in the destination. Thousands of people were evacuated and it is safe to say that the airline industry was grappling in chaos.
The magnitude of the eruption was portrayed differently by every media house, making it difficult for travelers to determine what to believe.
Empathizing with not only the travelers in their responsibility but the entire travel community, Pickyourtrail got to action immediately and put out a travel advisory. Addressing the basic concerns of travelers, the Facebook post was widely shared, proving to be significantly helpful in the wake of volcano eruption.
In the month of February 2018, a state of emergency was declared in Maldives and Pick your trail again cleared the concerns of the travelers with a clear and a concise post.
News posts are an essential part of your social media strategy. Not only does this go a long way in humanizing your brand, but it also shows how much your truly care for your travelers.
Reaching out and reassuring the travel community or just sharing your two cents of wisdom goes a long way in not just capitalizing reach but also establishing some amount of leadership in the community.
Alert levels were at the highest in Mount Agung, Bali on November 27, 2017 and Pick your trail immediately put out a Bali travel advisory post on the same day.
It had a reach of 6.6k, 579 post clicks, and 17 shares
Attending to the needs of a traveler& not just your customers during the wake of a crisis reflects your empathy and the passion that you have for travel. Automatically the trust on your brand increases.
With a social media strategy that clearly revolves around the travelers, Pick your trail has grown multi-fold over the last two years. Currently, the brand has 8700+ followers on Facebook and an overall rating of 4.8 – one of the highest in the travel space. Further, Pick your trail has amassed over 700 five-star reviews (and growing)!
Things are slowly picking up in Twitter and Instagram, too. While the strategy may be similar, the format of implementation varies with each platform.