While staying in is the new going out, make the most of social media

While Visit Isle of Wight are doing all we can to support you through this difficult time, there are a few simple steps you can take to maintain your presence online using social media.

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are great tools for community building, spreading awareness and engaging with your existing and potential new customers.

With businesses asked to close and the public to remain indoors, people are turning to social media for a daily dose of boredom beating – looking for inspiration, motivation and positivity in a climate where morale is low.

Here are some simple ideas to consider working into your social planning over the coming weeks and months, to help you create a buzz around your business and the Isle of Wight, to aid in growing your online community and to put you in good stead for the recovery stage of your marketing online.

1. Maintain your online presence – while your business may be closed, it doesn’t mean you have to disappear online. Continue to post and maintain awareness about what makes your business unique. Worried about what you can and can’t say in the current climate? Strip your content right back to basics and focus on positive key themes – kindness, nostalgia, gratitude, understanding, patience and innovation. Hark back to fond memories and look forward to the future. Educate, entertain and create an emotional connection between you and your followers.

2. Drop your call to action and focus on engagement – A little bit lost for words without a directive or call to action? Time to think outside the box! Use this time to really connect with your audience – your existing and potential customers. Ask them what they love about the Island, your business. Ask them to share their favourite memories, photos and experiences. Make your platforms a positive and happy place to be, putting yourself and Isle of Wight at the forefront of holiday planning when the time comes to travel once again.

3. Be innovative – Customers can’t come to you? Take your business to them! Have you thought about setting up a weekly or monthly blog? A virtual tour? A webcam series or photography competition (using old images)? Why not create a kids’ corner on your site and share to social with colouring in/activity sheets, quizzes and crafts? You can share testimonials from past visitors and position your business as you want to be seen, write throwback posts to a better time. Do you have a signature recipe you can share? Can you evolve your services to be able to deliver to the door? Or host an online cook off? Do you have beautiful gardens and can share gardening tips? Or, go one step further an organise an online gardening or growing competition all done via webcam. Now is the time to be inventive: https://www.visitisleofwight.co.uk/things-to-do/indoor-activities

4. The elephant in the room – It’s ok to say what this crisis might mean for your business and how your customers can support you and your staff in order to keep going – like postponing rather than cancelling, or swapping to buying your product online, is there a gift voucher than can be bought? People appreciate authenticity and realness. It’s also ok to mention COVID-19 and it is responsible to mention Government guidelines when necessary.

5. Piggyback larger social campaigns – there are several # being used currently that you can use in your content too:

– #Changethedate: a global tourism industry hashtag to promote changing a booking rather than cancelling.

– #SupportIOW: a local initiative, “the Island will wait” with #Don’t Cancel… Postpone. Share the message that we’ll still be here and open for business at the end of this, feeding into #ChangetheDate

– #HantsDaysIn: Use this when promoting your indoor activities or updated services, a campaign by Hampshire’s top attractions

– #ShowloveforBritain: A Visit England campaign focused on your local area. Places featured in books, poetry, film locations, musical heritage, royal residents, interesting facts, history etc. To be used on posts with an aim to educate and spotlight why the Isle of Wight is a special destination.

6. Stay you – be true to your brand values, aesthetic and consider what your target audience would like to see on your platforms.

7. Be a community player – is there something you can do to boost your local community? Do you have a product of benefit to key workers/the fight against COVID-19? Can you offer a discount or a freebie as a thank you for their efforts? Can you offer support to the vulnerable, offer unused food to food banks and shelters? Can you as a business adopt an animal and support your local sanctuary – donkey, monkey, tiger? Is there a way you can support and give back, doing good for your community and generating a positive good news story for you to share.

8. Imagery – Support all of the above messaging with strong eye-catching images featuring wide open space and all the things we are missing while remaining at home. You can download Visit Isle of Wight imagery for use here, please just make sure you credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/visitisleofwight/albums/with/72157675043420653

9. Post frequently and support one another – social media works on algo rhythms, meaning the more frequently you post and the more engagement you get, the more efficiently your posts will reach your audience. Posting once a day/once every other day is a good frequency for feel good content and enough to keep a buzz going around your platforms. Support other businesses by liking and following, helping them to maintain their visibility and hopefully yours in return. ‘Like’ the Visit Isle of Wight platforms and engage with our content and audience, sharing comments and liking others. Why not share our content direct to your pages on Facebook or by using ‘regram’ on days you don’t have time to create content.

10. Spread positivity – Stay home, keep safe, remain positive and together as an Island we will get through this.

We hope these 10 short social media tips are useful and help you to maintain your online presence in the coming months