NOTE: I previously shared with you my thoughts on 10 marketing trends that I plan to focus on in 2015. Of those 10 trends, I plan to break each one of them down into its simplest form so that you can understand it and implement it in your own destinations or places of business.

Being from Kentucky, I have seen my fair share of silos, but for those who are not familiar with them, let me paint the picture. A silo is a standalone cylinder structure that is often located next to a barn, and holds fodder for farm animals to feed on. The fodder inside that silo is kind of a hodge-podge of hay, straw and other grains. In essence, the silo only has one function, and isn’t used for much else.

Social media, on the other hand, has multiple functions, and I am a firm believer that it needs to become an integrated part of any marketing campaign. I think some industry experts have led us to believe that because there are masses of people on social media, and there is potential for them to interact with or share your content, that you can survive on social media alone. I think some marketers equate large followings and highly shared content as success, but haven’t done any research to see who they’re followers or content sharers really are, or if those “success” led to new business.

In a recent Gallup Poll survey, 62% of people in the U.S. say Facebook and Twitter, among other sites, do not have any influence on their decisions to purchase products. This same study shows that when people make purchasing decisions, they are more likely to use friends & family along with other forms of media to influence them. Most consumers who follow and engage with brands on social media are already engaging with them in some form in the offline world. Engaging with the brand online allows that existing consumer to further spread that company’s products and/or services – it’s not influencing them to make a purchase.

As a very active social media user, it is difficult for me to be influenced by any brand through social media alone. When I purchase from a new brand, I have normally done my own research, talked to a few friends, saw some advertisements and/or read a few articles about them. That cycle, and not in that particular order, is what I believe most consumers do.

As a destination marketer, my goal is to make sure that I touch the potential traveler across as many forms of media as possible, so that I can be a discussion topic for them among their peers. And while they are discussing my destination, I hope that they’ll come across some advertisements and news articles that can further influence their travel purchase decision.

 MY PLAN MOVING FORWARD.  My plan moving forward is to make sure that our social media tactics are in tune with our overall content marketing strategy, so that it supplements the work that my print, digital, radio and TV advertisements are already doing. Will you plan to do the same?

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