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Free Tools to Help with Social Media Content Creation

content-marketing-300x249Social media is one extremely powerful means of connecting with new people. But to use this avenue for building your audience and finally, growing your business, you must ensure that you have consistent presence across different social media and networking platforms. Also, you have to focus on keeping your audience hooked to your content and entice them to return for more, time and again. For this, you have to provide them with the content that they will love to see and read. Though it's important to share your content in an engaging and interactive way, it might get a bit expensive as well as tiresome doing it all on your own from scratch. This is where some free content creation tools can help.

Here is a list of some of these tools, which you can use to create engaging content for free:  

Tagxedo
If you have a bunch of words in mind and are not sure about how to present them in an interesting way, Tagxedo might be a good choice for you. It turns news articles, famous speeches, slogans and articles into visually engaging word clouds. These not only help you present the content in a new light, but also offer insights into the content with a new visual analysis.

Skitch
This is a useful tool for creating original images for your posts. All that you need to do is take a screen shot of what you want to display in the image and then mark it up. Use shapes, sketches and annotations to get your point across.

BeFunky
Often touted as the best free photo editor that you can use without registering, this is a user-friendly tool. Even if you aren’t very tech-savvy, you can still use it to great effect. While the Photo Editor can come handy for adding a frame to your image or resizing/ cropping it, some more photo editing tools can be used to spice up your images with effects, thus creating unique pictures that grab attention and eyeballs. Creating photo collages with the Collage Maker is yet another much-loved feature of this tool. You can also make a Facebook Timeline Cover with the help of BeFunky.

Qzzr
If you would like to get engaged with your audience on a more personal level, Qzzr is a great tool to use. You can create useful quizzes for your blog or website and test your audience's knowledge. This also helps you capture leads, present exciting offers and drive significant social traffic to your web pages.

Storify
If you want to tell your audience a story, Storify is the tool to opt for. You just need to collect news stories, videos, images, links, updates etc from different possible sources. You can search all these from one place and then publish it on Storify. You can also embed urls in your stories or embed your own Storify stories elsewhere on the World Wide Web. You can share such stories with your audience and help them go viral.

Unsplash
This is a website that provides you with high resolution photographs, which you can use for any purpose. If you have a book of quotations and would like to share it on your social media page, you can do that with Unsplash.

ThingLink
If you are planning to share dynamic and interactive images for your business, ThingLink might be a good option for you. You can use it to add multimedia overlays or text to an image to make it more interactive. Whether you need to make an infographic, a photo album, a map, or a presentation, you can do all that with ThingLink.

Visme
Starting from interactive presentations to interesting infographics and other engaging content, you can create a lot in your browser for free with this tool. Using a variety of templates and presets or a blank canvas (if you want to start from scratch), you can create content, share it publicly or with a limited group with restricted access, and export such content everywhere (be it embedding to a site, sharing online or downloading to use in an offline mode).

Perhaps you have heard the adage: Sometimes the best things in life are free. These free tools show how you can create content for your social media campaigns without spending a ton. So, start using them to create superb content that will help you strike a chord with your target audience and keep them engaged and happy.

Instagram vs Pinterest - which is ideal for your tourism business?

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As consumers are increasingly using various social networking platforms to know about and buy from brands, marketers too have changed their strategies to leverage the power of such media. Thus, it’s no wonder that visual social platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have become extremely popular among both the consumers and the brands. This is primarily because the human brain not only likes visuals, but is way more impacted by them as compared to mere texts. In fact, some research results have shown that as compared to text, people process pictures 60,000 times faster. What’s more, 90% of the information transmitted to a human brain falls under the visual category.

In the travel and tourism industry, many business owners are using photo sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest to drive more business their way. Perhaps you too would love to join the bandwagon but are a little confused about making a choice between the two. While there is no harm in utilizing both of these extremely useful platforms, you might not have enough bandwidth to do the same always. This is where comes the question of deciding between the two. Here is a comparative study of Instagram and Pinterest that might be of help ­

Why should you choose Instagram?

  • After you take a photo or select a photo from the ones saved in your phone, you can edit and reedit the image. You can even use the multiple filters and applications to modify the final image of a destination to make it look more appealing to the prospective travelers.
  • While analyzing Instagram photo searches, you will be able to understand your target clientele better. Interact with your target audience, discuss about some particular images and thus, you can reach and tap into a hitherto untouched digital community.
  • Instagram is useful at each stage of a travel cycle, and not just for the stays. The images shared provide encouragement, guidance and inspiration during the stage of planning and even when the tour is in progress.
  • You can use Instagram to encourage people to share their travel photos. These images can then be broadcasted back to travelers who may be dreaming of a trip to that particular place one day, those who have just finished a tour there, or those who are yet to decide if they want to visit or not.
  • Tourism operators who are featured on Instagram posts can get a huge amount of additional enquiries, interests and bookings.

Things to consider:

  • With Instagram, you don't get any API access. As a result of this, you can't use any separate tools to publish.
  • In the Instagram pictures, links don't work in captions. This makes it a bit difficult for you to drive users to your website.
  • Instagram has limited integration capabilities with other social media platforms. This can cause problems when you want to link and share your Instagram pictures with other social media networks.
  • Another disadvantage of using Instagram is that it has limited scopes of advertising. Only big brands seem to be able to afford Instagram advertisements.

Why should you choose Pinterest?

  • It is already the third most popular social network, which attracts more than 1.3 million visitors every day.
  • It drives more referral traffic than the combined traffic of LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube, and therefore, is an ideal tool for Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • It increases the visibility of your tourism business through the lively photos of different destinations.
  • With Place Pins, you can now add value to your boards by introducing new places to the prospective travelers and encouraging them to visit by giving the contact info that they can call for details or use to book a stay directly.

As a member of the travel and tourism industry, you can cash in on Pinterest, which focuses on the emotions and experiences of the travelers. This platform lets you offer better and information packed interactive maps and tourist guides to the travelers, many of whom may eventually become your clients.

Things to consider:

  • One of the toughest facts that you have to accept before jumping on the Pinterest bandwagon is that you just can’t talk only about your business and promote it unabashedly. You have to be completely discreet and subtle about your products or services while you focus on helping the travelers plan their tours.
  • Pinterest can't serve as the solitary social media site for your business. You can enjoy its benefits the best when you use it together with Facebook and Twitter. At present, it doesn't have the ability to go viral like other social media posts. You need to use travel related hashtags or a website link to make it reach your target audience quickly.

Thus, the final choice rests with you, but now can make an educated choice on selecting on what suits your travel and tourism business the best. Often, it’s the wisest to use both, if possible, and leverage the dual benefits that Pinterest and Instagram have to offer.

How to Setup Pinterest Place Pins

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You'll be up and pinning and creating new boards and place pins in no time!

1. Create a new Board OR open up and existing board to edit.

2. Click on the toggle button next to "Add a Map" so it's showing "Yes"

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3. You will see the next screens to assist you in future editing and pinning.

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4. For your existing pins, you can simply add the location to view it on your map.

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5. You can also add places by inputting the name and city directly to the map.

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... and that's the extent of adding Place Pins, Adding a Map and converting existing pins and boards.

Check out our ideas "How Place Pins Can Drive Tourism"!

 

Captivating Posts for Tour & Travel Industries to Garner More Engagement on Social Media

captivating-postsLooking for fresh ideas to post on social media? We’ve rounded up some topics to get folks sharing, interacting and wanting to visit!

  • Post a photo of your resort pool with a caption, “Who wants to play? MARCO!...”
  • Post photos of local or your speciality food – everyone loves food pictures!
  • Post photos of the lovely grounds, flowers, the view, sunrise, sunset with the caption, “who needs a vacation?”
  • Photos of things to do… swim, scuba, kiteboarding, skiing, paddle boarding, etc and ask visitors what their favorite water sport is?
  • Sinking your toes in the sand with a caption, “Wish you were here!”
  • Post a beautiful photo of your resort or view and add the caption, “Tag yourself if you need a vacation.” You could even make this into a contest if you want and select someone who tagged themself as your winner.
  • Post a photo of something unique visitors would see so they can almost envision themselves there - local street vendors, a unique artifact (totem pole, statue, pier, etc) or well known sign (Welcome to Las Vegas) that signifies your visit-worthy locale
  • Post a photo of things going on nearby: a street player playing jazz, a surfing event, a race. You never know who’s looking and what they’re interested in - it just may be what you capture a photo of!
  • If you offer excursions or travel related services, post photos of what they will see on the trip and post a caption like, “You’re invited” or “Here’s what you’re missing!”
  • Who is your demographic? Older retired couples? Singles? Young adventurous types? Post something that would appeal to them - a bicycle built for 2 that they can rent? Excursions for solo travelers or maybe a wild and adventurous trek.
  • Post how your business is contributing to sustainability, eco-tourism, protecting coral reef, wildlife conservation, low water usage, recycling, energy conservation, local sourcing of food, etc
  • Ask people what their favorite thing to do when visiting is
  • Post a screen capture of the current weather conditions and a caption saying, “it’s perfect here for you to come visit”
  • Post photos of the various things to do when traveling with kids
  • Share posts and photos from other nearby businesses that your demographic might be interested in. (IE: if you’re a resort, you might want to post photos of a travel excursion that went on a trip to XYZ and shared it on their page)
  • Ask visitors what their favorite beach is, favorite snorkeling spot, favorite place to eat
  • Take a photo of some “off the beaten path” place and ask if folks can identify where it is or what the photo is of
  • Iguanas? Tropical Fish? Birds? Share photos of sights and sounds of nature around you.
  • Stage a photo of cervezas under a palm tree on the sand, a surfboard at the beach on top of a jeep, guests getting on gear to go on an excursion, etc - anything that makes visitors wish they were there living in that moment!
  • Take photos of guest having fun, enjoying their time or relaxing. Ask them if you can share it on your website blog (even better to get a model release signed) as well as on Facebook. Ask them to tag themselves or if you may.

When you find what your visitors interact with the most, do it often, but also don’t forget to still have a good mix that will appeal to your target demographic.