If you’re a travel blogger like we are, you’ve seen tons of posts advertising the best social media tips, because this is a big part of our lives. Thanks to this beautiful tool, we can quickly share parts of our lives with our network of people. Some folks even make a living off of posting to social media, making it more than just a hobby! But if you don’t handle your social media correctly, you could be doing more harm to your business than good. And whether you call yourself an influencer, blogger, or small business looking to expand your social media reach and skills, here are some social media tips that I’ve picked up after years of managing our pages and those for other businesses, too.
Social Media: Things I’ve Learned as a Travel Blogger
Note: These social media tips for travel bloggers won’t focus on a specific platform of Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest, as they can be applied to all of them.
Focus on Quality, not Quantity
Hey girl, I don’t want to see 958279 photos of you in those adorable leopard print pants in front of the Eiffel Tower. I want to see one amazing, well-thought-out, and clear photo with a meaningful caption. More does not equal better when it comes to what you’re sharing. My husband used to get really annoyed when I was taking photos while traveling because I “took so many.” He said, “Christina, you only need one really good photo.” And he’s right, but so was I. The reason I take so many photos is that I’m always narrowing it down for the best one. Maybe the light shifted or the back focus was too strong. Either way, shut up, Carl! <3
Spread Out Your Sharing
It’s tedious work, and while it’s tempting to share them all at once, don’t. Repurpose your work. Reshare it later down the road in a different way. But please, don’t share 18 photos of an outstretched hand holding a bowl of food with a slightly different background. To me, and others, that’s boring.
People want to see that you’re there! If you share on your favorite platform every once in a while, those social gurus who run our universe will downgrade your audience’s feed. Staying consistent means you’re using the platform and therefore the algorithm will prefer your material over someone who only posts occasionally. I don’t have it down to a science and I do think it depends on your audience. But I do know this: show up at least every day, whether it’s a quick share or a scheduled post, to make sure you’re providing quality content.
Note: Yes, scheduling is okay! We use, love, and highly recommend SmarterQueue to schedule our posts. Just keep in mind the previous bullet point when deciding how often you want to “show up.”
Keeping it REAL
Here’s the thing. There’s a dark world that some social media tips will lead you into, because of one thing: numbers. If we don’t have a large following, many brands won’t want to work with us. And because of that, so many influencers and business do things to boost their following and likes, including:
- Instagram pods
- Like for like
- Pinterest share threads
- Paying for followers
I’ll even go as far as throwing giveaways in there, but admit that it’s more genuine than the others. All these methods might “easily” boost your followers, but honestly, you become a slave to them. And the moment you stop doing them, those “followers” go away. It’s exhausting. And while it’s rewarding to see all those hearts and “growth,” these aren’t the people that you want to be reaching.
Appeal to Brands and Don’t Worry About Appealing to Brands
“We would love to have you visit. Please give me a call this afternoon or tomorrow and we will make arrangements for you,” an enthused PR person.
“To be frank, your social reach is a little smaller than we typically search for in a collaboration,” a not-so-enthused PR Person.
Brands are another touchy subject, partly because they care way more than they should about your numbers. We’ve been told that our social numbers are “too small” when those small and mighty numbers have more engagement from REAL people than accounts 4-5x larger than ours. Things like this make it tempting to cheat the system, but if you do, I guarantee that the moment you need to take a day off or reframe your strategy, you’ll see that all those fans weren’t really the people you cared about seeing your content.
Own Up to Your Mistakes
And how do I know these things? Well, to be clear, I followed these methods, too. I did them because multiple people with larger followings TOLD me this was the way to go. Of course, that doesn’t excuse me in the slightest. But after a while, I found was that I was spending all of my time and energy doing these share threads instead of doing what I actually wanted to do, which was creating. My content was suffering because I was too focused on the numbers. In looking back, these share threads and growth strategies were the results of short-term thinking and I didn’t see the big picture. It’s taken me time, but I now understand that if you write and produce quality content, people will like and appreciate it.
Patience and Faith
Making it in the travel industry can be difficult. It’s full of comparing ourselves to others, sinking your own money into something with little or no return for a long time, and the ubiquitous rejection. It takes years of learning the right and wrong way to get this business, which makes me cautious of anyone who says they built their business from zero to hero in 3 months or some other short timespan. It’s not impossible, as there are genuine people who have a super tight niche and are super business-savvy who grew quickly. However, the majority of travel bloggers aren’t those people, which is why you must be patient and have faith in what you’re doing.
Pertinacity: a quality of sticking to something no matter what.
Traveling and creating your content for social media takes time. It also takes failing more than a few times. When you fail, you learn the wrong way to go about it so maybe next time you can do it better. It has taken pertinacity for us to get where we are, and I recommend it to anyone. Because sticking to it even when things are hard, stagnant, and like-less make the growth when it happens so much more rewarding.
Being different sets you apart from others in this huge world that is social media. When on a FAM trip or a media event, it’s easy for everyone to crowd around the same dish and take the same photo. It’s intimidating to ask, “Are you done with that?” and then run away with a giant plate of food just to put it on the floor to take a different photo. But you should do it anyway because going against the grain like that is one way you can stand out. Doing something like that takes guts, and will be what keeps your audience following you. Why? Because you’re different from the rest.
TLDR: Create quality content that is different, share regularly, and don’t try to game the system to get more likes. STOP WITH THE SHARE THREADS, SUSAN!
In this complicated world of travel blogging, social media can be a business driver but also be a major time- and energy-suck. It’s a tool for your use and benefit, but like all tools, it’s important that you know how to responsibly and efficiently use it. I hope that with these social media tips, you will be able to grow your business and continue to inspire others to travel with your words and well-thought-out, genuine photos.