Effective use of Social Media for engaging visitors

The SHAPE Report on Social Media (available in this link) gives tips to ecotourism businesses on how to best use social media to promote their products and activities. It was researched through a desktop study of industry reports and web sites. In addition, Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere undertook two case studies: one related to the use of Facebook by a start-up company in the Biosphere, and a second one engaging a travel blogger to undertake a ‘Biosphere Experience’ and communicate her story.

Social media has fundamentally changed the way that many companies communicate with and market to their target demographics. For the travel and hospitality sector, in particular, the increased popularity of social channels has altered travel marketing. Social media and tourism marketing are definitely a good match. In fact, travel is one of the most shared topics on social networks such as Facebook and Instagram. People love sharing new experiences and travel is full of them. They also love telling their networks about upcoming travel plans and reminiscing about them after returning.

The Key Contemporary Social Media Platforms for Tourism Businesses


Instagram is the platform that businesses in the travel industry should be using as a channel for branding and inspiration. Instagram is a platform where authenticity rules and regular people’s photos have a lot more credibility than professionally staged branded content. So travel brands should be posting photos and dedicating resources to their efforts.


Facebook is now used by many brands as a customer-service platform: to promptly handle complaints; to create a discussion platform to answer potential customers’ questions; ‘remarketing’, a specific kind of ad that targets people who have recently visited a website; and its advertising system – having the ability to choose an incredibly specific audience. The case study is a great example of a start-up company successfully harnessing the power of Facebook.


People use Pinterest to look for ideas and inspiration, and travel is one of its most active categories, as is it used to discover inspiration and ideas that people want to try in their own lives – such as planning their next family vacation or researching remote island destinations.

Starting the Conversation

Travel blogs are increasingly playing a significant role in influencing where people decide to travel. Travel bloggers discuss their trips, experience, advice, and open the door to new ideas and adventures for their followers. People seek travel blogs to get a better grasp of what to expect on their vacations. One of our Scottish partners was delighted with the interest generated after it hosted the travel blogger Watch me See.

Hashtags: How to Boost Posts on Social Media and Increase the Reach

Even though proper hashtag research can be time consuming, hashtags can double traffic on businesses’ social media pages, especially on Instagram. Tourists now use social media to find inspiration for their holidays, and hashtags work by bringing together a community around a certain theme or topic, thereby increasing the reach. But it is crucial to choose the right ones.


For more details, read the full report.