As social media continues to revolutionize the way we connect and communicate online, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) are liking, commenting, and posting like never before to enhance their marketing strategies, entice travelers, and promote their destinations. With new trends constantly emerging, it can be tricky to separate the ones that are worth your team’s limited time from those that might not be as fruitful. 

Here are four social media trends DMOs should either dive into or avoid.

1. Embrace: Short-Form Video Content

Short-form videos are dominating social media platforms, and their popularity is only increasing. Platforms like TikTok, Instagram Reels, and YouTube Shorts have made brief, engaging videos a staple of online content. DMOs can leverage this trend by creating captivating short videos that highlight the unique attractions and experiences their destinations offer. Quick tours, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and partner testimonials can capture potential travelers' attention and inspire them to explore your destination. These videos are highly shareable and can quickly spread across social networks — increasing your reach and engagement.

2. Avoid: Over-Reliance on Automated Bots

Artificial intelligence (AI) can certainly streamline processes and save time, but over-reliance on automated bots for social media engagement can backfire. Personal interactions are crucial in the travel industry, where trust and personalized recommendations play a significant role in decision-making. Genuineness is even more important to social media users and influencers. 

Automated responses can come off as impersonal and may frustrate potential visitors looking for genuine interactions. Instead, invest in real-time social media management to create authentic connections with your audience. Engage with users' comments, answer their questions, and participate in conversations to build trust and a sense of community.

3. Embrace: User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is a powerful tool for DMOs. Encouraging visitors to share their travel experiences on social media using a branded hashtag can provide authentic, relatable content that resonates with potential visitors. You can also lean on Simpleview + CrowdRiff for access to the travel industry’s most comprehensive user-generated content, with usage rights already taken care of.

UGC not only boosts engagement but also builds a sense of community and trust around your destination. Highlighting user photos, videos, and stories on your official channels can effectively showcase the diverse experiences your destination offers. This approach saves on content creation costs and leverages the power of word-of-mouth credibility.

Simpleview Summit UGC gallery

4. Avoid: Chasing Every New Platform

While it’s tempting (or daunting) to jump onto every new social media platform, this strategy can be counterproductive. Spreading your efforts too thin can lead to inconsistent content. Instead, focus on platforms where your target audience is most active and engaged. Conduct persona research to determine which platforms align best with your goals and invest your resources there. For example, if your target demographic is younger travelers, platforms like Instagram and TikTok may be more effective. If you are running a marketing campaign targeting the Baby Boomer generation, Facebook is your go-to. If you want to reach other industry professionals, log into LinkedIn. It’s also worth looking into the purpose of the platform before signing up (like ... what even is Threads for?); quality and consistency on a few platforms often outperform a scattered presence across many. 

Navigating social media trends can be challenging, but by strategically embracing the right ones — DMOs create a compelling and authentic social media presence that attracts and inspires travelers.

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