21 November 2016

My Top 10 learnings from #asvaconf16

Myself and Gordon Morrison from Visit Scotland (plus my glitzy - and very pointy - award)

Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to attend the annual ASVA Conference for a third time at the beautiful Crieff Hydro Hotel. ASVA stands for the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions and its members include all the well known faces of the Scottish tourism industry from Edinburgh Castle to New Lanark World Heritage Site *shameless plug for where I currently work*!

This year's conference was focused on 'Achieving Excellence' and there were some fantastic speakers over the two day event from tourist attractions in the UK, Europe and Canada! I always come away from events like this not with a fistful of dollars (I wish), but with a notebook full of ideas to take forward, inspirational quotes and random scribblings that I have to try and decipher afterwards. 

I had plenty to think about after this year's conference, and have just managed to sort out all of my notes into some cohesive thoughts. I've pulled together a list below of my top 10 takeaways from the conference, and although these were originally focused on the tourism industry there are many ideas or tips that are transferable across many businesses and organisations. 

Oh, I should also mention that at the conference's award ceremony I was chosen as the winner of the Rising Star award which is given to one individual under 30 from an ASVA member organisation who has shown real commitment to their role and made significant change within their organisation. Yahoo! 

Anyways, onto the learnings - here they are...

1. The customer experience is 50% emotional – focus on building the customer experience and not on the ‘thing’ (attraction) (Royal Yacht Britania)

2. Invest in your staff and show them appreciation in a way that appeals to them (this may be 121 time, rewards/gifts or a gesture)

3. Know your customers and create tailored packages and experiences to meet their needs and desires. (The Famous Grouse Experience)

4. Your welcome is extremely important, so use the right staff in the right place.

5. Trip Advisor is big business (Scotland pages had 66 million views in the last 12 months) so be as visible on the platform as possible and reply to comments.

6. You have to keep innovating / changing and developing new ideas to stay ahead of the competition. (The Famous Grouse Experience)

7. Video is a fantastic marketing tool to convey your marketing messages and brand. (Sumerlee Museum of Industrial Heritage)

8. Don’t be afraid to try new ideas! (Nova Scotia Marketing Board)

9. Be as authentic as possible. (Astrid Lingren World)

10. Be valuable to and for the community. If you look after your customers they will look after you! (Royal Yacht Britania)

Did you attend the ASVA conference and have any other key takeaways? Let me know!

Thanks for reading, Melissa

20 June 2016

Increase the reach of your Organic Facebook posts

Many of us Facebook page managers are searching for ways to increase the 'organic' reach of our Facebook posts. By 'organic' I mean posts on Facebook that you don't pay to promote, that are initially shown to people who have liked your page. Over the past couple of years Facebook has become more and more clever about monetising the platform and is now making it incredibly difficult for page's posts to be seen by their fans, without any paid promotion. For example, your page might have 1,000 likes - but it's more than likely that around 10% of these people are actually seeing anything you post. When you pay to promote your Facebook posts this can be to people who like your page, their friends or anyone on Facebook that you select through a range of (very specific!) targeting options. 

That being said, there are a few tricks you can utilise to try and increase your 'organic reach' and how many people see your Facebook posts without getting your wallet out to pay to promote the posts. 

Use Photos and FACEBOOK Videos
Facebook likes it when you use visual content and will give posts that use photographs, or videos in particular a higher organic reach. If you're planning on posting a video then you're much better to upload the video directly to Facebook, rather than sharing a YouTube link. 

Watch your timing
Your posts are most likely to be seen by more of your fans if you share content whilst they are actually online. This will vary by page, but I find it tends to be based around meal times or when people are commuting - breakfast, lunch time, dinner and then around 8pm also seems to be a popular time for my pages. 

Like your own posts
This might sound strange, but Facebook will show content to more people if it already thinks it is valuable and interesting. To kick start this I always 'like' posts from my page and then my personal account. If you work for an organisation you can encourage staff to like your page and actively 'like' content and also share if they're feeling extra nice!

Post links in the comments
Facebook is less likely to show content if it thinks it's overtly 'salesy'. To minimise how much it looks like you're trying to sell something in your posts, I always include any links in the comments - instead of in the actual caption area. 

Ask people to like / comment / share
Another way to increase your reach is to get people engaged with your posts. You can do this by including questions in your post captions, asking people to 'like' the post or 'share' the post - in a light hearted way only! 

Share Instagram images
Something I've discovered recently is that Facebook LOVES when you share Instagram images. Might be something to do with the fact that it purchased the platform in 2012! This is also a great way to share user generated content on your Facebook page, by searching Instagram for people sharing photos of your products, location, shop - you get the picture. 

Thanks for reading. I'd love to hear if you have any tips on how to increase your organic reach!


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