When starting a business, funds and finances are inevitably tight; budgets for large advertising campaigns and PR pieces do not normally exist. However, the explosion of social media has made it possible for brand exposure and brand loyalty to be created in an inexpensive way. Here’re some of the ways MyDestination.com used social media to grow their business on a shoestring budget.
My Destinationhttp://www.mydestination.com is a global travel resource powered by a diverse community of local experts on the ground. As My Destination is run as a franchise model, having franchisees in many different destinations across the globe, each franchise destination is given responsibility for its own social media presence. This allows for franchisees to use social media sites, in particular Facebook and Twitter, to provide local knowledge and information about their destination.
The key is for each destination franchisee to develop their own voice and engage those interested in the travel destination. So a destination franchisee will make Facebook posts and tweets about exciting events occurring in their destination, discounted prices for restaurants and local businesses they have relationships with, and other locally based knowledge.
Franchisees make a concerted effort to build up a local following, centred on their destination. This means that those who are following them will have a direct interest in what the franchise social media presence communicates, thus allowing for the franchisee to show off their expert local knowledge, through interactions and conversation with their social media followers.
The recently-launched My Destination blog has significantly boosted their social media traffic. The blog has allowed the business to create an informal voice and communicate with people in a more personable manor, whilst also allowing us to write about a wide range of subjects. The blog is integrated with all the social channels, thus giving this increased promotion.
All My Destination franchisees receive a full social media guide instructing them on best practice and how to maximise their social presence. The guide gives them a reference point when they are devising their social media strategy, with varying ideas for campaigns included in the guide. Furthermore, franchisees are able to contact the social media team in London with any questions they have or request assistance in a social campaign. This degree of support means that franchisees are able to develop an understanding of how to use social media and avoid making mistakes.
My Destination’s use of social media offers a number of lessons for start-up entrepreneurs:
- Keeping your social media strategy focused upon your target audience is essential for the success of a start-up. It’s vital that those people who are engaging with your brand are those who are likely to be interested in the products and services of your business. Your Tweets, Facebook shares and other social actions need to reach the right people for them to have any impact.
- A blog can be a great way for a start-up business to create some initial traffic to a site and boost their social media presence. It will allow your social channels to have something to promote and also great content for people to interact with. You can also ‘show off’ your industry expertise through a blog, aiding you in becoming a reliable and authoritative business.
- It’s vital in a start-up company to grasp an understanding of how your business can best use social media and implement strategies with minimum risk, using simple concepts rather than expensive campaigns, when budgets are tight. Educating yourselves and reviewing other successful social media campaigns will allow for this.
Social media can really play an influential part in establishing your business and gaining brand awareness. Here you can see how we have been able to use it with great success, whilst keeping our costs at a minimum. We believe that keeping your social campaign simple and focused to your target audience will enable your business to gain a firm grasp of how to effectively use social media, and allow for more complicated branding exercises in the future.
About the Author:
James Street is originally from the Wirral, with a passion for travel. He is co founder of MyDestination.com, an online franchised based travel information site, where franchisees own and run destination specefic travel sites, featuring local businesses, deals, events and much more.