Your brand can simply not afford to neglect digital marketing, such as social media, photos, videos and blog posts. As your marketing team has no doubt already realised, the power of social media as a tool to help promote your brand to a global audience is undeniable.
Social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, and apps like Snapchat and Instagram, are used by individual freelancers, smaller independent companies and many of the biggest brands in the world, with some amazing results.
Your brand is already being left behind by all of these other businesses and individuals, if it is not actively utilising these incredible marketing tools. Quite simply, if social media channels weren’t a highly effective marketing tool, then they wouldn’t be nearly as widely popular among individuals and brands looking to market themselves.
Example: The Travel & Tourism Sector:
Within this huge and rapidly growing sector of the global economy there are many major brands such as Airbnb and G Adventures that are utilising highly evolved digital marketing strategies to effectively engage with their customers, followers and wider public, create greater brand loyalty, and maximise bookings.
Unlike traditional marketing, which increasing numbers of people do not trust and even actively ignore, such as TV, radio or print advertising, social media allows your brand to connect on a much more personal level with your customers and potential clients.
They will often find your brand through your online posts being shared by family and friends, rather than feeling they are having advertising forced upon them which can be very annoying.
A number of different travel brands, such as those mentioned, are also showcasing blog posts, photos and videos created by their own guests. Because most people are simply posting something on social media because they enjoyed the experienced, the result is that this form of marketing becomes more relatable and trustworthy.
These posts make the perfect accompaniment when they are interspersed with exciting and interesting valuable content created by your marketing team, such as a stunning video of the local area or incredible photos of your resort.
There are three possible options your brand could use to manage its digital marketing strategy:
1 – Relying fully on your in-house marketing team:
As your marketing team are there on-site, this may like a very sensible option, as they know exactly what the situation is within your company. Who better to manage your brand social media strategy than the marketing team that have actually worked there for years, and know your location and company inside and out?
Here is where the problem to this idea may lie: While your marketing team more than likely have many years of combined experience, there is also a strong possibility that much of this experience is based on what used to work in the past. At least some and possibly even the majority of your marketing team are unlikely to be completely up to date with all the changes that have been happening in the last 5-10 years, in terms of the huge digital transformation that has taken place.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram have all existed for around a decade, but have changed immeasurably from where they first created. For example, all of these social networks are now increasingly becoming centred on around video content. The pace of change for social media (and digital technology in general) is incredible, and continues to become quicker and quicker.
There are features that would have seemed impossible even a decade ago, such as live video broadcasts directly from your phone, or the ability to capture and upload photo and video content directly from specially designed sunglasses (Snapchat Spectacles)!
One of the most significant issues with maintaining everything in-house is the way that social media and technology has moved on so rapidly. While many members of your marketing team are likely to use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other platforms, they are unlikely to specialise in how to get the very best out of them, unless they have undertaken specialist training.
In addition, while they may be able to capture a decent photo or video, or produce a reasonably well written blog post, if you are looking for truly valuable content that creates a significant online buzz about your brand, you may need to look elsewhere.
2 – Outsource your brand’s digital marketing:
A second option which can be observed among some companies and brands, such as those within the Travel & Tourism industry, is outsourcing their digital marketing completely to outside digital marketing agencies or freelancers. To some managers or company owners, this might seem like the most viable option.
It is more than likely that your marketing team has realised that effective inbound digital marketing is becoming increasingly more effective than traditional outbound marketing techniques. While you may want to still rely on some of the more traditional techniques in-house, it may seem sensible to completely outsource the digital marketing to a specialist agency or freelancers.
This is because of the issues surrounding sole reliance on your in-house marketing team, such as the rapid changes and development in social media, and the specialist skills and knowledge needed to effectively utilise these. Additionally, becoming a professional copywriter, photographer or filmmaker can take many years of dedicated training.
To take over and manage your digital marketing, your company may decide to look for specialist digital marketing teams that specialise in social media, photography, blogging and film-production. While there are definitely some benefits to this approach due to the fact these outside agencies have specialist skills and knowledge, ultimately they are not completely connected with your brand, so they will often lack the personal touch required to connect with your clients and customers.
Outside digital marketing agencies are often not located in the same city or even country as your brand headquarters, so cannot always get an accurate feel for what the culture is within your company. This distance can be particularly problematic for location specific companies such as hotels or resorts, as an outside agency would not always be able to get an accurate feel for what it is like to stay at your resort or take a holiday in the destination it is located.
The result of this can mean that while some of the posts produced by these agencies are effective in some ways, they may also lack a feeling of authenticity when compared to posts created by your in-house marketing team. To new clients and customers you are trying to attract to your brand, such as those you would want to stay at your hotel or take one of your excursions, this can come across as false. Ultimately this can undermine the credibility of your marketing.
3 – Choose a combined strategy for maximum digital marketing success:
Here at Canary PR we believe that the most effective strategy for maximum digital marketing success is to choose a combined strategy of outsourcing and in-house marketing. It is vital to encourage and train your marketing team within your company to be able to effectively use social media and other forms of digital marketing such as Blog posts and YouTube. While there remains some room for more traditional forms of marketing, increasingly your brand should instigate this switch within your team.
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It would definitely be advisable to employ a digital marketing expert from an outside agency to come and work with your in-house team, to train them in modern marketing techniques. By utilising the skills of an outside specialist, to help bring your in-house team up to speed, you will be combining the best of both worlds.
Following this training, your in-house marketing team will be able to use these new skills to begin to use social media, photos, videos, blog posts and more to effectively market your brand in a far better way. No one knows your brand ethos, culture, history and spirit better than the people who actually work there, but now your team will have the new skills to combine with their knowledge and connection to your brand and customers.
In addition to employing an outside agency or freelance specialist to assist with training your in-house team to be able to more effectively utilise modern digital marketing strategies, your brand could also continue to work with an outside agency.
Your in-house team could be producing excellent social media posts and content and sharing these online, and a separate specialist digital marketing agency that could even be located in another city or country, can help to grow your brand’s online presence.
Your in-house marketing team could focus on their skills and knowledge, while the outside agency utilises techniques to increase your social media following, continue posting throughout the day, and greatly expand the reach of your social media channels, blog and website using their specialist knowledge.
In addition, for the very high end photos and videos that will be used to showcase your brand’s products, you should employ outside professionals (often freelancers) to produce this content. For amazing photos or stunning videos that will truly impress people online, leading to often viral success through being shared thousands or even millions of times across social media, then you need to employ specialist professionals. While smartphone technology is improving rapidly, it is still relatively easy to tell the difference between high-end professionally produced media, in comparison to amateur photos and videos captured on a phone.
To promote your travel brand, it would also be advisable to work with media teams on a media trip. During these trips a team of specialist copywriters, photographers, filmmakers and social media experts would come to stay at your resort for around a week and take part in various excursions. A range of different content would be created by them during this trip which can then be shared by both them and your in-house marketing team over the coming months.
Although initially the cost may seem high, these kind of media trips have excellent short and long term value, with both a buzz created during the trip and from the media that be shared for weeks, months and even years afterwards.
Your team have great experience and skills which should definitely continue to be utilised to promote your brand. It is always useful on the other hand to gain a new perspective from an outside source which has new skills and ideas to bring to the table. Overall the best solution for your company is to combine in-house and outsourced digital marketing for maximum effect!
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Contact us here if you are looking to outsource some of your brand’s digital marketing.