For better or worse, we live in the age of social media, where flicking through Facebook, indulging on Instagram and pursuing Pinterest have become national pastimes.
The platforms are so popular that, together, they boast 3.2 billion users worldwide, which roughly equates to 42% of the current population! Breaking it down further, it’s estimated that 90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X and 48.5% of Baby Boomers have at least one social media account.
That’s a lot of potential guests.
If you’re not using social media, you’re missing out on a lucrative way to drive visitor numbers, improve guest satisfaction and build brand trust. But we get it – the whole thing can be overwhelming. There are platforms to research, hashtags to grapple with, and content to create.
To help you get started, we’ve put together some helpful tips that you can implement straight away (and for free).
1. Capitalise on user-generated content (UGC)
User-generated content (UGC) is created by guests and freely available – it takes the form of photos, videos, vlogs, blogs, forum posts, reviews and audio.
It’s a powerful tool to attract new and repeat visitors because it:
- Provides an unfiltered and authentic insight into your attraction experience
- Acts as a personal recommendation
- Is easy-to-share and feeds FOMO (a.k.a fear of missing out)
- So, how can you encourage guests to create UGC? And how can you use it to promote your attraction effectively?
Curate and display visual galleries on your website
The easiest way to curate UGC is by creating a brand-specific hashtag and asking guests to share their content alongside it. This hashtag (which is a search-term), ensures all the images and videos at or about your attraction are kept in one place. This applies to all social media channels including, but not limited to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.
Similarly, if you run a unique marketing campaign, you should create another hashtag to keep that content separate.
Make sure your hashtags are relevant and specific – Disney Land’s #HappiestPlace echoes its official tagline “The Happiest Place On Earth” and the V&A creates hashtags for each exhibition such as #DiorDesignerofDreams and #wewantquant.
Once you have an organised bank of UGC, upload these photos onto your website to create engaging galleries that showcase your venue and demonstrate the once-in-a-lifetime experience you provide.
These galleries also let you celebrate your guests. People have a desire to be seen and heard – we all want to feel appreciated. By featuring fan content on your website, you’re validating your visitors and showing them you’re grateful for their visit and invested in their experience.
You’re increasing brand loyalty, building a strong online community and giving people a reason to shout about your venue and phenomenal customer service.
Use it to create more persuasive digital ads
The power of UGC is unquestionable – 85% of users find it more influential than brand photos or videos and 84% of millennials say it impacts their purchasing decisions.
People trust it more than highly-curated stock images – and trust is the most important building block for lasting relationships with guests.
A word of warning – make sure to seek permission from photographers and individual’s before capitlising on their content. Obviously, it’s polite and leads to positive and lasting relationships and, in some cases, it may be a legal requirement. You can learn how to legally leverage user-generated content in your marketing here.
2. Create Instagrammable moments
Why should you use Instagram? Well, it has over one billion (yes – you read that correctly) active monthly users, and 75% of all users are aged between 18 and 24.
This makes it the ideal platform for connecting with younger audiences – which is essential for two reasons:
- Millennials are now the largest part of the workforce and wield billions of pounds in purchasing power.
- Millenials and Gen Z (people born in the mid-1990s to mid-2000s) are your greatest brand ambassadors because they’re tech-savvy and have sway on social media.
A fantastic way to entice and engage this demographic is by creating Instagrammable moments at your venue. Use selfie zones, photo booths or highly-visual exhibits to spark excitement and encourage users to post photos of these areas alongside a brand hashtag.
An example of an attraction doing this particularly well is the Museum of Ice Cream in New York, who call themselves “an experience-first brand fuelled by the power of imagination and connection”.
Guests are transported into an Alice in Wonderland like dreamworld, where walls are painted a soft shade of pink and ice creams hang from the ceiling like chandeliers. There’s also an ice cream sandwich swing, a sprinkle pool and, of course, a delicious range of picture-perfect ice creams to sample.
They boast over 394,000 followers on Instagram and their success is largely down to their unique aesthetic and willingness to capitalise on selfie-mania.
3. Social competitions
Social competitions are a powerful and cost-effective way to increase the reach of your content and connect with new markets.
For additional clout, run UGC-focused competitions, where you ask people to enter by following your account and sharing personal photos alongside a specific brand hashtag.
Here are some things to consider when you set-up your competition:
- Budget – how much can you invest?
- Prize – make it something worthwhile
- Social media channels – where will the competition run? Each platform has their own set of rules you must follow
- Entry structure – this can be as simple as sharing or retweeting a post, or following specific social accounts and using a hashtag to track entries
- Length – how long will the competition last?
- Judging criteria – are winners selected randomly or do they have to carry our specific actions?
Themed competitions or competitions with a cause help to build a like-minded community around your attraction and solidify your values.
Let’s take Cycle Enfield as an example – they ran a competition which encouraged people to use bicycles more often. It drew attention to the brand’s aim of reducing congestion and improving air quality.
To enter, people had to submit photos of themselves out and about on their bikes, cycling to work, school or anywhere else. To incentivise people to take part, Cycle Enfield offered voucher prizes which could be spent in several chosen bike shops.
To facilitate this, we created a function on their website which allows users to upload their photos along with their personal details. This content was also used to create a UGC gallery.
Social media doesn’t have to be scary. All the strategies presented in this guide are easy-to-implement yet wildly effective at persuading potential guests to visit, reaching new audiences and engaging existing fans.
Plus, user-generated content (UGC) practically creates itself. Apart from some moderation, all you have to do is sit back and relax while your guests generate photos, videos, vlogs, blogs, forum posts, reviews and audio clips that provide an authentic insight into your attraction experience.
By celebrating your guests through UGC, social competitions and visual galleries, you’re increasing brand loyalty, building a strong online community and giving people a reason to shout about your venue and phenomenal customer service. All you have to do is watch as the word of mouth recommendations come rolling in.
Don’t call the content police!
We’ve given you the fundamentals – now it’s your turn to implement them. But if you need a helping hand (and who doesn’t from time to time?). Get in touch with us today to see how we can come to your rescue!