Word-of-mouth referrals and recommendations are the most powerful marketing tool in the travel industry – and social media is word-of-mouth on steroids. By listening and responding to social media, conducting targeted outreach and building a community of passionate BC advocates, we can amplify the sharing of remarkable vacation experiences in BC.
Destination BC is active across a number of social media channels, and encourages BC’s tourism industry to get engaged to gather and share content, raise awareness for BC’s travel experiences, inspire consumers to visit, help provide real-time visitor servicing, and amplify positive visitor recommendations. Destination BC’s social media channels can also connect you to industry programs and resources.
Together we can utilize the power of social media to increase brand engagement and traveller advocacy, and amplify and strengthen British Columbia’s world reputation. Wondering how to engage with us on social media? Read our guide: How to Engage for Industry.
Case Study: Great Bear Lodge and the Power of Instagram
Great Bear Lodge discovered the power of Instagram when they shared a surprising video filmed from their floating ecolodge in August. Featuring guests delighting in an unexpected visit from humpback whales, the video resulted in broken social media records for Destination British Columbia (a combined reach of 3.2 million and 2.8 million views on Facebook and Instagram) plus a 1350% increase in enquiries to Great Bear Lodge compared to the week preceding it. And that’s just the beginning. Great Bear Lodge’s Marg Leehane shares the story of their success:
“Boy, has Instagram had an impact on our business in the last month! On August 4 at 6.30am we captured some great video of two humpback whales feeding right next to our floating lodge, feet from the guests in their robes with their morning coffees. I casually posted it to our Instagram account (@greatbearlodge) the next day, with 600 followers and a previous high likes/views of about 200 per post. Before we knew it, the number of views was up to 40,000 and climbing. We started getting requests from other internet sites to repost it, from content management companies to license it, and, most importantly for our business, from traditional media wanting to broadcast the video. Eventually it was broadcast on the Canadian nightly news (“The National”) and many other Canadian outlets, as well as the websites of such media companies as CNN and The Independent in the UK. The number of Instagram views is up to nearly 3,000,000, as well as over 600,000 on YouTube, and we now have over 40,000 Instagram followers. We did reach out to Destination BC and Toque and Canoe early in the process to get them to repost it, but other than that didn’t do anything to boost it. To say our enquiries went through the roof that week would be an understatement, with some of them resulting in bookings for 2019.
Previously we had focused on Facebook and YouTube for our social media, as our clients are in an older demographic and thus we thought those channels were more appropriate. We have now learned about lesson about the power of Instagram, and also how it pays to engage with multiple social media channels. I think the video was so popular because one of our guides, Marlo Shaw, was incredibly excited to have the guests see the whales so close, and that excitement comes across in the video.”
Enjoy the video, here: https://www.instagram.com/p/BmGj7BihvWa/?taken-by=greatbearlodge
Introducing the chat bot
Armed with the knowledge that Facebook Messenger boasts over one billion users per month, Destination BC is piloting a “chat bot” program integrated into Messenger and loaded with information about skiing in BC.
The pilot launched on May 8 with a Facebook ad targeting ski enthusiasts in Australia. These potential visitors are prompted to chat with Destination BC’s bot about popular ski-related topics like accommodation options and typical snow conditions. The goal is to inspire visitors chatting with the bot to book a winter ski trip to BC.
Travellers can get trip ideas with the help of the chat bot.
Why your organization should be on Instagram Stories right now
Disappearing content, like Instagram Stories, are popular on social media right now. Why? Here are a few reasons:
They use the full screen so are optimized for mobile
They’re fun, authentic, engaging, and less formal than regular Instagram posts
They disappear after 24 hours so they capitalize on the “FOMO” factor
They drive one-on-one relationships with your visitors via DMs
They’re not influenced by the Instagram algorithms, yet
While many organizations use Instagram Stories to capture and share videos and photos real-time, did you know that you can upload user-generated content (UGC) to Instagram Stories as well? At Destination BC, we find Instagram Stories an effective way to share UGC while increasing impressions and reach. Here are some of the ways you can do it too:
Breathe new life into photo/video shoots from years past
Amplify curated photos/videos shared by your visitors
Compile your best-performing Instagram posts
Share images featured from your best-performing blog posts, and then link out to the full story on the blog
Ask your visiting influencers to send behind-the-scenes footage to share on your account
Recently, when Instagram influencers Cal Snape and Taylor Burk were visiting the Cariboo, we asked them to send us video footage and photos during the trip, which we uploaded to our Instagram Stories a few days later. This brought in greater reach and impressions for that 24-hour period than sharing the same content as a regular Instagram post.
We’ve also been using the Instagram Stories’ polling feature to ask our audience what they want to see.
We’ve also hosted photo/video challenges on Instagram Stories, featuring the results from the challenge a few days later.
These are just some of the many creative ways you can incorporate UGC into your Instagram Stories.
Tips for sharing UGC on Instagram Stories:
Choose assets that are optimized for mobile
Choose assets that you have permission to repost
Don’t have Photoshop? Use Canva to format your assets with customized fonts and colours
If you have 10,000+ followers, take advantage of the ability to link out to URLs on Instagram Stories
Always tag locations and Instagram handles of businesses, photographers, and filmmakers before publishing
Tag with #exploreBC
Facebook Crossposting 101: Share your video
Want to get more views, reach and engagement on your Facebook videos? Take advantage of Facebook’s Crossposting feature. Crossposting is a way to share videos across multiple Facebook Pages, and enables us to share your videos with our followers.
Step 1: Find the crossposting function in your Facebook settings. To do this, you will need to be an administrator for your page.
Step 2: Add the following pages: hellobc, hellobc.uk, hellobc.de, hellobc.au, hellobc.mx, and hellobc.jp (our Japan Page will show as Japanese characters).
Step 3: Once you have an established crossposting relationship with Destination BC, every time you upload a new video, you must go into the video's crosspost tab and switch the “on” button for all six of Destination BC's pages. This gives DBC the opportunity to share your video. Tip: You can retroactively turn on crossposting for older videos by clicking on "Edit Video" in the post.
Step 4: Browse new videos available to you from Destination BC or your other crossposting partners. Share those videos if they’re relevant to your business.
Destination BC longer has to email videos back and forth with other organizations in order to share content;
If you upload a video to Facebook, it’s easier for Destination BC to share on our HelloBC Facebook Page;
If shared by Destination BC, your videos will receive more overall views, engagement and reach, as the metrics are consolidated;
You can change the caption if sharing a partner’s video on your Facebook Page; and,
You can get access to more videos to share on your page.
Once you’ve set up a crossposting relationship with Destination BC, you can do the same with your other industry partners including regional and community DMOs, local tourism businesses, sectors and more.
Have a question about Crossposting? Email Destination BC’s social media team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Destination BC hosts a successful Instagram ski chat
Our social media team recently hosted a #TravelTuesday ski chat on the @HelloBC Instagram account, where we invited our Instagram followers to ask us their top questions about skiing in BC. We invited ski resorts, community and regional destination marketing organizations, visitor centres, and other industry partners to participate. The chat garnered over 14,000 likes and 285 comments. It prompted great questions about BC’s ski resorts, snow conditions, terrain, winter activities, transportation, and more.
Our followers also shared details of their previous incredible BC ski experiences. Throughout the chat, it was heartening to see how much our industry partners supported one other. Here’s an example from Tourism Whistler and Revelstoke Mountain Resort:
@gowhistler: “@___totally agree @seerevelstoke. Revelstoke is a dream and has so many fun nooks and crannies. Whistler has something for everyone - from beginners to the seasoned pro. You’ll definitely have to try out both mountains and tell us how it goes!”
Here’s a list of industry partners who participated:
Vancouver, Coast & Mountains
Stay tuned for more #TravelTuesday Instagram chats to come in 2018!
Like every mountain, follow every stream
Our social media fans love BC’s mountains and the charming, quirky towns that sit at their doorstep. While monitoring the #exploreBC hashtag, our consumer social media team noticed this real-time user-generated photo taken from downtown Fernie. After seeking permission, we shared the photo on Instagram where it received more than 23,000 likes and 230 comments. We also shared the photo on Facebook, this time asking our fans what their favourite BC mountain town was and why. This post generated 1,100 likes, 81 shares, and 120 positive comments. See our Instagram post here, our Facebook post here, and also read our BC’s Best Mountain Towns blog post.
A sampling of top perfoming social posts this year
Social media is all about making connections. Here is a sampling of posts from January to the end of September covering all our tourism regions that all performed well on our consumer social media feeds.
Travel + Leisure
Vancouver, Coast & Mountains
Facebook: Capilano bridge https://www.facebook.com/67430677682/posts/10154886108552683
Instagram: Vancouver views https://www.instagram.com/p/BPWEMJJjjdE/
Instagram: Aerial city https://www.instagram.com/p/BPAvZ4cD7mN/
article (Australia FB page): https://www.facebook.com/HelloBC.AU/posts/1441697825907715
Butchart Gardens (Japan FB page) https://www.facebook.com/178554802239169/posts/1418864188208218
Fall in Revelstoke: https://www.instagram.com/p/BZY0p10gmAr/
Island Lake Lodge: https://www.facebook.com/HelloBC.AU/photos/a.161970010547176.40640.155941384483372/1450439468366884/?type=3&theater
Radium Hot Springs (North America FB page): https://www.facebook.com/67430677682/posts/10154316740282683
Bear cub in Fort Nelson: https://www.instagram.com/p/BX_meingdz_/
Liard River Hot Springs: https://www.facebook.com/67430677682/posts/10154477188242683
Bison on Alaska Highway (German FB page): https://www.facebook.com/HelloBC.DE/photos/a.137231009967870.1073741828.136559620035009/483967445294223/?type=3&theater
Cariboo Chilcotin Coast
Northern Lights in the Great Bear Rainforest (German FB page): https://www.facebook.com/HelloBC.DE/photos/a.137231009967870.1073741828.136559620035009/481071435583824/?type=3&theater
Bear in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLq3P9zjlnk/
Nuk Tessli Wilderness Experience: https://www.instagram.com/p/BTsFW7IgjQS/
Lynx at Big White Ski Resort: https://www.instagram.com/p/BRmJdYgAFZ5/
Mount Robson Provincial Park: https://twitter.com/HelloBC/statuses/892498958387490816
Blue River (Australia FB page): http://www.facebook.com/155941384483372/posts/1435644359846395
Participate in our summer #exploreBCchats on Twitter
Our social media team is hosting three #exploreBCchats on Twitter, and we’re inviting our industry partners to join the conversation. We need your local knowledge and expert advice to steer visitors to the many incredible locations and experiences our province has to offer. (A Twitter chat is essentially a conversation on a particular topic with a group of passionate participants.) Our first chat is on the theme of Camping in BC and takes place July 26 from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. PST. The chat is hosted by @HelloBC and will use the hashtag #exploreBCchat. Find out the questions in our blog post: http://explorebc.co/vjpRIA
Here are the dates for our other two chats.
Twitter Chat #2:
Theme: Family Vacations in BC
Date: Wednesday, August 30th
Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. PST
Blog post (with questions that we’ll be asking): http://explorebc.co/sCUBFN
Twitter Chat #3:
Theme: Local's Guide to Exploring BC
Date: Wednesday, September 27th
Time: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. PST
Blog post (with questions that we’ll be asking): http://explorebc.co/LN9Fbi
How to use Facebook Livestream
Facebook Livestream is available to any verified page, and allows brands and publishers to broadcast live video content to fans through the platform. Why should you Livestream? Facebook calculates that over 100-million hours of video content is watched daily on the platform, while Social Bakers reported that video posts achieve 135% greater organic reach than photo posts on Facebook. Facebook made changes to its algorithm so that Facebook Live videos appear highest in the News Feed when those videos are in broadcast, meaning live video content reaches more of your fans.
Destination BC produced its first Livestream broadcast on Dec 17, 2016, covering Whistler Blackcomb’s “Ski Like Santa” event. The Livestream received 54,000 views, 779 shares, 1,778 likes and 211 comments.
Watch the recap here: https://www.facebook.com/HelloBC/videos/10154257753087683/ and find out more about Facebook Livestream here: https://apps.facebook.com/livestream/.
Destination BC launches paid social content test in Mexico
Destination BC’s social media team launched a paid social media content test in late November to capitalize on the federal government’s removal of the visa requirement for Mexican travellers that took effect December 1, 2016. Our goal was to test social media content in-market to see what resonated most with potential travellers. Over a one-month period, we published and targeted social media content via Facebook in Mexico City, Monterrey, and Guadalajara. Results were encouraging: our top three most popular posts had a combined total of 60,000 engagements and a combined reach of 520,000. Destination BC plans to launch a Mexico-specific Facebook page in addition to the five markets we are already active in. Stay tuned for additional details!
Pokémon Go for Tourism Destinations and Businesses: How and Why to Engage
100 million and counting. That’s the estimated number of downloads for the phenomenon, Pokémon Go, a free-to-play mobile game that uses augmented reality to bring to life the characters of one of Nintendo’s biggest franchises. To give you a sense of the scale Pokémon Go has – and how it’s impacting tourism businesses and destinations – Destination BC’s Social Media team has put together the following white paper. Read more to see how you can take advantage of this latest trend.
Destination BC Social Media Accounts
Each year, Destination BC plans and executes marketing activities to motivate potential travelers to consider, plan and book a BC vacation. Our 2016-2017 Global Marketing Activities Calendar provides a high-level view into our current and planned activities by market. For more information on how you can benefit from or participate in these activities, please contact us.