Tourism marketing with no budget grapes as low hanging fruit via Ernesto Velazquez on Unsplash

LinkedIn and your blog are low-hanging fruit for some free tourism marketing power moves. (Grapes courtesy Ernesto Velazquez on Unsplash)

(Third in a series – the first post is about no budget destination marketing on YouTube and Pinterest, the second is no cost destination marketing on Facebook and Twitter.)

What if there was some sort of crisis, and you suddenly had to do your tourism marketing with no budget, or your budget was severely constrained?

What are the best free power moves to make on each social platform? This post is going to answer that question as it applies to LinkedIn and your blog.

Best no-cost marketing moves to make on LinkedIn

Have you Googled yourself/your name lately? Guess what will almost always come up on Page One of search engine results…

Yep, your personal LinkedIn profile.

If that profile is *ahem* a vast wasteland, with seven connections, the default gray blob for a profile photo (or a 1980’s “glamour shot” photo that doesn’t really look like you) and no interactions with anyone for months, you need to ask yourself if that is the professional presence you want people to see.

Now Google your brand or organization’s name.

I Googled my business brand name a few years ago, and an automatically-generated LinkedIn Page for us appeared on Page One of the search results. We hadn’t even claimed or maintained it! We fixed that the same day, and our Tourism Currents LinkedIn Page continues to do very well for us.

Steps to take to improve how you appear on LinkedIn:

1.) All staff/organization members groom and update their personal LinkedIn profiles.

Take some time to review/update your personal LI profile. When you’re logged into your profile, LinkedIn will use helpful prompts to encourage you to make improvements, like buttons to remind you to “Add section” or “Update your About summary.” Look at your profile Dashboard to see how people are finding you – does your profile have the right keywords?

Anywhere that there is a little gray Edit pen/pencil in the upper right corner, click it and edit that section as needed.

Tell the reader how you can help them and how you can solve their problems, not just how awesome you are.

Here’s a good article on improving your personal LI profile, especially if you’re in sales (and at some level, we’re ALL in sales.)

Build out and nurture your networks on LinkedIn. Get in the habit of sending a follow-up LinkedIn connection request to people you meet at trade shows, expos, and conferences. Always personalize the connection request with a note.

Review your current network – are there people you have not talked to in awhile? Send a friendly, “How are you?” LI message.

2.) Claim, update, USE your brand LinkedIn Page. Ensure staff are connected to correct LI Page.

So many organizations spend an incredible amount of time and effort on their Facebook Page, but ignore that same “storefront” on LinkedIn (where people are ready to do business!)

But before you jump in and start posting, write down your answer to three questions…

  • What are your goals for your LinkedIn Page?
  • How will you measure whether you are successful or not?
  • What is your tentative plan for posts for the first month?

Surprisingly, not enough people ask themselves these questions before they start an account on a social media platform. Your LinkedIn Page needs to be integrated into your overall goals and strategy. It’s not some random asset to bolt onto marketing that you’re already doing.

LinkedIn automatically generates Pages for brands, usually because someone adds that brand to their personal profile as their work experience. You may find, as we did, that you have a Page and didn’t know it.

Search for your tourism brand name on LinkedIn itself, and also do a Google search like, “Visit XYZ LinkedIn” to see if an auto-generated Page pops up.

Good news about setting up a posting schedule – LinkedIn content is “stickier.” People often interact with our LI posts days or even weeks later. You don’t need to post as often on LinkedIn because it’s not as noisy as Facebook or Twitter.

Aim for 2-3 times per week.

Here are some more ideas on building a successful LinkedIn Page for tourism, plus LinkedIn content ideas for destination marketing.

Don’t forget to ask staff to use their personal profiles to invite connections to follow your brand Page, if those connections would find it relevant. Don’t do a mass invite, obviously.

 3.) Try more no-link photo and video posts (including LinkedIn Live video) and LinkedIn Publishing articles.

Your Page’s status update posts are free little billboards for your destination, attraction, hotel, or business. Use them!

Like all social platforms, LinkedIn has gotten more visual, so make ample use of photos, graphics, video, and even polls.

LinkedIn post by Visit Newport Beach CA with compelling meetings image on a beach

Wouldn’t you like to meet right here?

Keep in mind: more and more, people prefer to stay on the social platform they’re on, rather than go off somewhere else to read about something. I sense increasing “link post fatigue” on LinkedIn – people are less interested in clicking through links and reading your blog post or shared article or whatever. Link posts are easy, and that’s why everyone does them. I’m guilty of this, too.

Try Page posts like case studies downloads, polls, job openings, industry news, new data/stats presented in a graphic, awards announcements, original research, and plenty of videos and photos to appeal to the markets you want to reach on LinkedIn.

Syndicate your relevant DMO blog posts as LinkedIn Publishing articles, too.

Best no-cost marketing moves to make on your blog

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m an old-school blogger from way back (started my first one in February 2006.) The power of publishing your own story, your way, on a platform you control, is hard to beat. You own it, you control it. It and your website are your content anchors.

It’s free, but it’s not easy. You invest time and mental energy and creativity, rather than money. Your reward is more traffic to YOUR site, more opportunities for conversions like downloads and direct contact. Some blog posts will bring you traffic for years, if they nail a certain visitor question. You do the work once, keep it updated, then reap the benefits.

Here is what I recommend you do with your blog right now, or if you start one:

1.) Have at least one blog post that answers each of your top 10 visitor questions. Give ‘em what they’re Googling for.

Your blog is your content anchor, and your “Top 10 FAQ” blog posts are your blog’s anchor.

What do people always ask at the Visitors Center and on the phone? Each of those questions is a blog post, because if they’re asking in person, they’re Googling it, too.

What are the top search queries in your Google Analytics Search Console, and what do people ask for in the Search box right on your site? Those can be answered with blog posts.

One of the queries is definitely going to be something along the lines of “What are the top things to see or do in this town?” so make sure you have a post that answers that, and then build out some related itineraries – top things to see if you have a half day, a full day, a weekend, etc.

2.) Make video and audio versions of most popular posts.

People like to absorb information in different ways. Some like to skim text, some like to see it in a video, some like to listen to audio.

Take your top 5-10 blog posts and repurpose them in a different media format, then share this “new” content around on social media. Park the video version on your YouTube channel, with a link back to the text blog post in the video description.

We’ve started using Lumen5 AI (Artificial Intelligence) to make short videos out of our top blog posts, and the Podbean app on our phones to make a simple audio version.

Here is the audio version of our post about tourism blogging best practices – it is literally me reading the post in my clothes closet, because the clothes dampen sound and make a free little mini-studio. Don’t overthink things, and use the tools at hand.

3.) Make it super-easy to sign up to get your posts via email.

In addition to having control over your website and blog, you also have almost complete control over your email list. No algorithm keeps you from communicating with your list whenever you want to. Increasing your open rate and click rate is up to you, and no one is saying it is easy, but at least it is under your control.

So, once you get someone reading things on your blog, you want them to keep reading, and that means you want them to subscribe to get your posts by email whenever they are published.

It is stating the obvious, but do not make it hard for people to figure out how to sign up, and don’t ask for a bunch of irrelevant personal information, either.

Those are my ideas for tourism marketing with no budget using LinkedIn and your blog. What did I miss? Let me know down in the comments…

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