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Hey destination marketers, are you making one of these social media mistakes?

By August 22, 2023 Stories
destination marketers working on a computer

Since returning to work from maternity leave, I’ve been fortunate to do a lot more marketing mentoring, and it’s given me incredible insight into what’s working and not working in the ever-changing world of social media.

Lots has changed in the six months I took off – I give you Threads and Twitter’s glow up – but lots has stayed the same. Engagement rates continue to decline, it’s harder to get cut through organically and the time it takes to do content … well, that’s only increased.

What a time to be alive on social media as a destination marketing organisation!

Clients, just like you, keep coming to us with the same gripes about their channels. Same challenges give similar solutions, so I’ve packaged them up into a handy guide in the hope you can take your socials to the next level.

Challenge 1: Content overload! Too many platforms! Too many users!

social media tips for destination marketers

Gone are the days of just showing up on Facebook and Instagram. There are now so many social media platforms and industry best practice is to have bespoke content for them all.

What’s more, it’s not just the amount of channels that are growing, it’s the amount of content that’s needed to fuel them  – take Instagram for instance where 100 million photos are posted daily on this platform alone.

What’s a DMO to do?

Solution: Use programs to simplify social media management

Using a scheduling platform like Later to consolidate, collaborate and share across multiple platforms can simplify the job of social media management. Now you are posting from one place rather than five, and that feels better.

Go a step further with your simplifying and prioritise your efforts into your most engaging platform. I’d encourage you to critically review your social media reports (steal our template here) and look where you’re getting those interactions and spend more time there. For us it’s LinkedIn and while TikToks might be fun, it’s not where our customers are lurking.

Your turn – write down which is your best performing channel and why.

Challenge 2: Declining organic engagement rates mean you’re speaking to no one

people sharing social media solutions for destination marketers

Keeping up with the content-machine can be hard work, especially when social media is changing faster than Kim Kardashian’s hair colour.

As a content marketer, it’s no surprise that I truly believe the organic content you produce is a true mark of customer engagement rather than anything advertising dollars can drive. You can read more on how I think you can measure ROI from organic content over here.

A good engagement rate for a business (of any industry, let alone tourism) to aim for is between 1 to 5%, with the average engagement rate on Instagram being 0.06% and Facebook, even lower, at 0.16%.

If you’ve only got 2,000 followers, don’t be surprised if only 1-2 people are commenting on your content … at best.

Solution: Make sure you’re making engaging content AND engaging back

Social media got its name for a reason and engaging with your followers (and new followers) is the best way to build engagement. In my experience, most brands are really good at talking to customers but not so great at talking with them. The engagement door swings both ways, and it’s not fair to question your engagement rate when you’re not doing anything proactive about it in return.

A daily community management practice is critical for building your engagement, not to mention answering your customers and followers which can lead to sales. If you’re working with an agency – ask if they handle your community management. We do this for all our clients, as it’s a critical step for any social media growth.

Still not seeing the engagement needle move? It might be time to review your content and ask the tough questions. Look at your top-performing content and ask why is it successful? Really analyse the content (the themes, timing, mode, message) and see if you can you make more content like it.

Your turn – write down what was your best performing content last month?

Challenge 3: Creative copycat syndrome 

people sharing social media tips for destination marketers

As social media content has become easier and more accessible to make, you won’t be the only one who’s feeling the scroll starting to look and feel the same.

With so many brands active on socials, it is easy to fall into the sea of all the same. The same trends, the same content, the same styles. It’s no wonder your content isn’t performing.

Originality wins out, which we know can be hard with the infinite nature of scroll culture, which means your best ideas and content is seen for approximately 3 seconds before the viewer scrolls on.

So, how to stand out?

Solution: Brainstorm it out

Stop looking for inspiration by scrolling. Go back to brainstorming basics, throw as many random ideas as possible on the page, collaborate as a team and wander outside for new ideas.

Be consistent with this process and jot down ideas consistently throughout the week. You never know when one might be useful for a client or your account.

On top of all this you can check out our tourism industry 52 week content planner designed specifically to beat content fatigue.

Your turn – allocate time for content brainstorming.

Challenge 4: Keeping up with new updates to social media platforms

learning how to keep up to date with social media trends for destination marketers

We all know the only constant is change, but social media’s constant updates that move the goal posts aren’t always what’s best for business.

Keeping up with key changes can be a full-time job to ensure you’re following best practice and what’s going on in the channels.

Solution: Stay abreast of changes

While you can’t control the algorithm, you can stay on top of updates by following pages which aggregate the updates into handy snippets.

We run a fortnightly Social Media News (like this) content series across our socials, sharing the key changes to the platform that we find interesting.

When you see an update that impacts your strategy, it’s time to change it. Opt for social strategies that are nimble rather than cumbersome three-year documents.

Your turn – review your social media strategy and see if it’s adequately favouring newer features like

Instagram Reels and Instagram Guides.

Challenge 5: Setting unrealistic and unachievable goals

We are all for shooting for the stars, but it’s not 2012 on Instagram and you’re not going to get hundreds of thousands of followers tomorrow, no matter how pretty your content is.

Unrealistic predictions and goals can place the focus in the wrong areas. To put it bluntly, no, you can’t have a million followers tomorrow unless you have over three million dollars for an acquisition campaign today.

Not on budget? Sit tight for these recommendations instead.

Solution: Set realistic KPIs

If you’re not measuring it, you can’t manage it, so KPIs should be the cornerstone of your activity. If you’re not sure what level to set them – speak to an agency, like us, in setting industry standards. For a great way to check in on your goals read this blog.

According to Hospitality Net, here’s how travel compares with other industries in terms of frequency and engagement on the key social media channels – I think you’ll find, awareness and engagement is alarmingly low:

  • Facebook median posts per week: 5.04 vs 3.36 in travel
  • Facebook median engagement rate per post: 0.06% vs 0.09% in travel
  • Instagram median posts per week: 4.6 vs 3.4 in travel
  • Instagram median engagement rate per post: 0.47% vs 0.47% in travel (same)

If you’re setting engagement rates well beyond the realm of possibility in the industry, don’t be surprised when your social media team don’t hit them.

Your turn – review your strategy KPIs and see how your social media results compare to the industry benchmarks above.

If you’re still lost or just want to hand over the reins then reach out, we would love to hear from you! hello@mediamortar.com.au

By Hannah Statham

Hannah Statham is The Boss at Media Mortar. She’s a heavy weight wordsmith, punching with puns, analogies and metaphors that leave readers wanting more. When she’s not refreshing her Instagram feed, you’ll find Hannah searching for the best gnocchi in town.