With warmer weather comes…tourists. Whether we like it or not, for the next couple of months tour buses rule the streets and the Walmart parking lot becomes Whitehorse’s busiest campground.

But as tourism in the Yukon continues to grow (overnight visitation is up 2.5% from 2016 to 2017), so too can your social media channels and, in turn, your business.

Social sharing has power

Have you ever scrolled through Instagram’s Explore page and stumbled across a photo of an exotic location that takes your breath away? Or looked at a picture a friend posted while on vacation and said, “I want to go there”?

Social media has expanded our ability to share our travel experiences, creating a network of user-generated content that informs and inspires our vacation plans. Instagram in particular has excelled at this—recognizing our interest in images, and the influence these images can have on our travel plans.

As National Geographic cover photographer Corey Arnold says, “I see this desire to escape to these landscapes, to do something real, because more than ever everyone is buried in their phones. But where do they get the inspiration to travel? Instagram.”

User-generated content makes it believable

The tourism industry has tapped into this trend, using tourists’ social activity for their own campaigns and social media channels. It is a smart and effective strategy—in a day and age where 95 million photos and videos are posted to Instagram daily, user generated content is bountiful. Not only that, but user-generated content (UGC) can be more effective than conventional content. A study by Crowdtap and Ipsos Media CT found that millennials trust UGC 50% more than traditional media. Why? UGC adds a level of authenticity that is especially important in today’s media landscape. When we see an organization or brand repost content from a follower like you and me, the content becomes more believable, more real.

Travel Yukon is doing it right

Tourism Yukon’s official Instagram account (@travelyukon) is a great example of an account that relies heavily on UGC. By popularizing the hashtag #exploreyukon and interacting with those hashtag users, they have created an extensive library of content. And as the account’s followers grow, so do the content options. For aspiring photographers, the chance to have their work featured on an account with over 60,000 followers is incentive enough to share their photos.

How does this apply to my local business?

So how does this apply to you, a business owner in the Yukon? Keep an eye out for social media users, in particular Instagram users, that have posted about your business. There could be more than you think! Find content that is relevant and visually appealing, then repost it to your social media channels (after you’ve gained permission of course). Not enough content yet? Incentivize your followers. “Tag us in your posts and receive 10% off your next canoe rental.” Or start a catchy hashtag and promote it. Take advantage of tourist season this year and let the tourists do the work for you!

 

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