Facebook for tour operators:
Best practices for setting up your account
If a tour operator comes up to us and says that he still doesn’t have a Facebook business page, here is our standard reaction – What? Why?
In today’s world of online & social travel, a strong Facebook marketing strategy is a must, and a well-maintained & active Facebook business page is just the starting point.
While we are pretty sure that most of you already have a Facebook page, for the sake of completeness, we will start with the basics – best practices for setting up your account on Facebook. And you never know, you might figure out something important that you would have missed out earlier.
Our later posts in this series will deal with more exciting stuff like building your audience & growing your likes, advertising and re-marketing for higher bookings through your online travel agency software.
So here are step-by-step instructions for setting up your Facebook business page for tour marketing:
Step 1: Naturally, you will need a Facebook account first. Presuming that you have one, (if not, where have you been? Create one right now) visit your Home page, scroll down and to the left you will find the link ‘Create Page’. You can also find this link at the bottom of your Facebook sign up page.
Step 2: Next, you have six page types, to choose from. In this way, your page appears in relevant searches. Also, each type varies slightly in the information requested during setup and in the features offered on the page.
This can be a bit dicey. You need to think of how you would want your tour business to be represented to the customer. ‘Local business or place’ is a viable option when your business requires physical visits. You can also show reviews, open hours, map etc which are not available for other types. Consequently, as a local tour operator this would be the preferred choice. If your business is dispersed across multiple locations then ‘Company, Organization or Institution’ is a safe bet. But don’t worry. The page type can be changed later if needed. However, try getting it right on the first go.
For the sake of demonstration, here’s how a page for a local tour in Machu Picchu, Peru gets created (Disclaimer: Any resemblance to real pages, living or dead, is purely coincidental). Select ‘Local business or place’. Choose the category as ‘Tours/Sightseeing’ and then enter your address details accurately.
Step 3: The ‘About’ section has to be given a good deal of thought to help improve your page’s ranking and thus the effectiveness of your Facebook marketing.
- Select categories (keep in mind, these are your subcategories) relevant to your page.
- Give a brief description that will pique visitor’s interest and essentially drive traffic to your page. You can make changes to your description after your page has been set up.
- Enter the address to your tour booking platform and a Facebook address that will be easy for people to remember and associate with your tour brand.
Step 4: Upload your profile picture. Pay attention to the size i.e. 180×180. This image should be the logo or brand image of your business, similart to the one on your tour booking platform. Wherever you comment or post, this image will faithfully appear next to it. ‘Reach more people‘ section, digresses into paid advertising. Let’s skip it for now.
And voila! Your page appears. Doesn’t look all that glamorous as you imagined? That’s because there’s still some more work left to do.
Step 5: You will observe that your ‘About’ section appears to the left of your timeline, and there is a separate tab ‘About’ below your cover photo as well. Let’s tackle this section first. Fully exploit this space. Attack every feature on offer and use them to your advantage. This is your chance to let your targets get to know more about you and help build an air of credibility.
Handy Facebook business page features, you can start working on.
Check out Page Info under Settings. You can put in a well written long description in addition to the short description, detailing the highlights of your tour. Make both of these descriptions stand out. Visitors click on ‘About’ to get to know more about you. So, put in as much interesting information in there. You can also boost your Facebook marketing strategy by putting in open hours, an email id, and get yourself plotted on the map to help targets spot you.
Facebook gives you a Bing map (derives from the address you gave during setup) to show your location. You can adjust the pin, give more directions, or make changes to the address.
If you have second thoughts about your page type, go to Category. Here you can change both, page type as well as the main category of your page. As for Subcategories, ignore at your peril! It appears on your timeline, on the cover photo below the tour name, in full view. So double check both Category and Subcategories to make sure they are exactly as they should be. Under Featured if you want you can also show the founders.
Use Page Roles to add persons and roles like editor, moderator or an admin other than yourself.
Step 6: Once you are done with Settings, select a really nice cover photo to makes your page attractive and capture attention. The more tempting your cover photo looks, the better. Get your creative best with both, profile picture and cover photo.
That’s it! You are all set to begin your tour marketing on Facebook. Our next post discusses the all-important issue of building your Facebook audience.