How to Use Social Media to Promote a Local Business

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Pinterest and Instagram are marketing gold mines for local travel and hospitality brands. Using these social media platforms, it is easier than ever to reach and engage future guests. 

But sometimes small businesses with limited marketing budgets overlook the importance of social media marketing beyond Facebook. Sadly, they miss out on opportunities to connect with potential guests early in their vacation planning process.

The good news is with a little planning and creativity, you can draw people to your brand and eventually to your local attraction!

The highly visual and aspirational culture makes these social media platforms ideal for brands offering that rely on travelers or offer unique experiences.

Why? People use Instagram and Pinterest when planning their next vacation. The aspirational nature makes Pinterest and Instagram vital parts of your promotion strategy, whether you run a small B&B inn, an independent hotel, or a local tourist attraction. 

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Looking Ahead From 2020 (for Local Businesses!)

It’s no secret that 2020 was a difficult year for the travel industry. However, people are craving new experiences, travel, and adventure as vaccines become more widely available.

According to Think With Google, 57% of consumers are looking forward to traveling once “the pandemic is over.” Search trends indicate that Millenial and Gen Z consumers, in particular, are most eager to travel, showing in their Google searches.

These consumers seek authentic experiences, are internet savvy, and are open to new experiences. 

This interest extends beyond Google to their social media channels like Instagram and Pinterest!

“There’s pent-up demand, and people can’t wait to get out again. It’s clear that when people feel ready to travel again, they’ll make it a priority.

On Pinterest, travel engagement is at an all-time high—even when you look at the year before COVID.”


Why Use Pinterest and Instagram?

Both Pinterest and Instagram are highly visual social media platforms. If you are in the travel and hospitality field or own a brick-and-mortar business, you already know the value of stunning photographs and images. You may already invest in professional photography, video production, and design. 

Visual media like Instagram and Pinterest offer the opportunity to repurpose your visual assets in fresh and engaging ways. Active users share ideas, dreams, aspirations, and inspiration. 

Harness the Positivity of Pinterest 

If you think Pinterest is only for brides and DIY crafters, think again. While most active “Pinners” are affluent females with creative interests, the platform increasingly attracts people of all walks of life who are making plans and saving inspiring content. 

Pinterest is both a social media platform and a content discovery tool. In some ways, it is similar to a visual Google and has the potential to drive traffic to your website or direct booking platform. 

Nine out of ten users said Pinterest is “filled with positivity” The overall culture is aspirational and inspirational. Many use it as a combination of a vision board, search engine, and planning tool.

Pinterest users also happen to be shoppers. Omnicore digital marketing agency found that 87% admitted to trying a new product or brand after seeing Pinterest. Around 64% of active users indicated they use Pinterest to find ideas, inspiration, products, or services.

Pinterest identified a 2021 trend they refer to as “hypothetical sabbatical.” Users search for and Pin content covering topics relating to their dream vacation, camping or adventure destinations, and niche experiences specific to their hobbies and interests. 

Engage With Travelers on Instagram

Instagram also attracts consumers, in fact, 81% of Instagram users said they use it to research services and products, according to Instagram. This may be one reason influencers shine on Instagram. 

Users share moments and experiences with friends in a way that is candid and often carefully curated.

Images and video engage users especially when supported by compelling copy.

Since Instagram is part of the Facebook family, it shares its advertising interface while offering platform-specific options like story ads. 

Start With the Fundamentals

It all starts with your profile. Optimize all your social media profiles in order to a) appear in relevant searches on platforms and b) showcase who you are, what you do, and why visitors should visit your local business. Strategically use your social media bio to reference local landmarks or quickly describe what you offer. 

If you haven’t already, convert your Instagram profile to a business profile. You should convert your Pinterest profile to a business profile, too! Doing this gives you access to analytics, new publishing options, and the ability to advertise.  

When optimizing your Instagram profile, consider the following:

Camber Brewing Instagram profile
  • You need to associate your Instagram Business account with a Facebook Business page. The two share an advertising platform, Creator Studio, and other resources. 
  • Your Instagram bio link is precious real estate. Some brands and Creators refer to a special landing page like Tailwind’s or LinkTree to help followers access their best content, subscribe to their newsletter, or find them on other platforms like Pinterest.
  • Remember to tag your location in both your profile and in your posts.

Optimizing your Pinterest profile is a little more involved; check out this guide to Pinterest for Business for more details on setting up and optimizing your Pinterest profile. 

As much as possible, plan for a consistent theme and visual branding to make it easy for your followers to recognize you. Also, develop a consistent publishing schedule to keep your presence fresh and engaging.

Social Media Marketing with Pinterest and Instagram 

Each social media platform has a unique culture and purpose. While you want to coordinate your branding, you may tailor the content for each audience as much as possible. For example, Pinterest offers the opportunity to drive traffic to your website, so you may want to pin your most compelling content and any local media features.

On the other hand, Instagram is a high-engagement visual platform to showcase your most compelling images and share special moments.  

Content Ideas for Pinterest

Curate a mix of compelling photographs, videos, infographics, and links to your other online content on Pinterest. Pins typically have a longer shelf-life than more ephemeral social media content such as tweets or Instagram stories. 

Use Pinterest boards to share themed collections of Pins, including your own content and other content that may interest your ideal customer. For example, a Board can feature helpful resources like local hiking trails, the best vintage shopping, or unique attractions in your community.

Keep the following ideas in mind while planning your Pinterest content:

  • Offer fresh ideas catering to creating a unique experience.
  • Create helpful content and share practical tips.
  • Curate recommendations for other activities, re-pin content featuring other local activities, recommendations, and attractions.
  • Be creative with your board themes. This is the ideal opportunity to create resources for travelers with particular niche interests. For example, you may create a guide for vegetarians visiting  your city or a board featuring the ideal “Sunday Funday.” 
  • Consider creating high-value lifestyle content exclusively for your Pinterest audience. For example, a B&B may share easy brunch recipes or packing tips in the form of an infographic. 
  • Check out Pinterest’s business resources, including “Pinterest Trends” for ideas and inspiration you can adapt to create engaging content promoting your own brand.

Content Ideas for Instagram

Instagram is a great platform to share photographs, infographics, memes, and videos. While the platform is visually oriented, don’t overlook the value of engaging copy to offer context. 

Consider making use of content options beyond a post. For example, Instagram Guides offer the opportunity to feature places, products, or existing Instagram posts in a curated guide. The guides are an attractive way to share local recommendations, itineraries, tips, fun facts, and ideas.

Other content options include Stories and IGTV for longer-form videos. Have fun while experimenting with the content that best engages your clientele.

Finally, remember to use hashtags and location tags to make it easier for users to find your posts. When you mention local influencers, brands, restaurants, or attractions, be sure to tag them as well. Tagging other accounts may help increase your reach, engagement, and following.

Take a moment to brainstorm ideas for your Instagram content. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Attractive photos of your hotel or venue along with a witty or upbeat description. You may use one image or multiple images.
  • Photos of yourself or your team members along with a mini-feature of each person.
  • Fun photos of your guests enjoying their time with you, along with a short story about their experience. 
  • Videos and demonstrations. For example, if you run a B&B, your chef may demonstrate how to poach an egg, or a member of your housekeeping team may demonstrate how to fluff a pillow. 
  • Share positive reviews from prior guests. 
  • Recipes, tips, trivia, and life hacks in the form of a video, infographic, or “photo slide show.” 
  • Anything else that may entertain, inspire, inform or attract your future guests. 

Creating an Efficient Workflow

This may sound overwhelming since you are busy running your business. Keep in mind that you don’t need to incorporate every idea or rock every platform. You may also recruit help from your team, your guests, local influencers or hire a freelance social media manager. 

Use a social media scheduling tool like Tailwind to bulk schedule your posts. You or your social media manager can create and schedule a week or even a month’s worth of content in a single afternoon. These tools also offer their own analytics to help optimize your publishing schedule and to help efficiently repurpose content. 

Finally, don’t forget to be social! Many influencers and thought leaders build their Instagram following through a combination of publishing great content and engaging with other users. 

Follow complementary accounts and take a few minutes a day to scroll your feed and like or make meaningful comments on other people or brand’s posts. Avoid spamming, simply engage. This may attract new followers who are interested in what you have to offer. 

Finally, take a moment to respond when a follower sends you a message, asks a question, or makes a comment. You never know when that follower will turn into a prospect and eventually a guest.

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Curious if you can use social media platforms like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook to promote a local business? Absolutely! Find out how in this guide.

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