The Power of Social Media in Destination Marketing

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Most tourism destinations fall into the traditional advertising trap. They feel that it is a safe marketing tactic and are scared to step outside of their comfort zone. However in the tech savvy society nowadays, you cannot turn your back on social media marketing. This is not just something for companies, celebrities and bloggers to sell themselves with, but it is also a great marketing machine for tourism destinations. In this article, I will run through how destinations can effectively use social media to increase awareness and eventually increase the number of tourists.


It is no secret that the world consumption of social media is increasing at a phenomenal rate. Case studies show that people nowadays are more likely to choose a holiday based on the recommendation of a Facebook friend than we are by seeing an ad on TV.

Brilliant Tourism Destination Social Media Strategies

There are currently two tourism brands that stand out from the rest. Visit Norway (@visitnorway) has done an amazing job integrating social media into their primary site.

Visit Australia (@Australia) has set themselves apart from the rest of the world by creating unique social media marketing campaigns, making them the largest Destination Bureau in the world.


Visit Norway’s primary site has social links, Facebook like buttons, integrated vídeos, TripAdvisor buttons and reviews everywhere. The site shows you that they have connectivity between the site and their social media presence.

Besides, the Visit Norway site has stepped up the game with share and even embed tool. These tools let others (bloggers, travel agencies, etc.) embed content from onto their own website. This is a great strategy to get people to share and use their content.

When looking at social integration on a destination website, Visit Norway is one of my favorite.


Visit Australia and their social media team has set themselves apart from the rest of the world. They have created several campaigns that got worldwide attention.

With these amazing social media marketing campaigns, Visit Australia has created its own unique approach when it comes down to social media. By publishing guidelines they believe that the near-one million people directly and indirectly working within Australian tourism can be used to promote their business and the wider industry.

Australia was the most popular travel destination on Facebook, Google+ and Instagram in 2015 and already had a loyal army of fans interacting and enthusiastically selling the country.

Their aim is that content is king and that Visit Australia sees themselves as creator, co-creator, curator and syndicator of this content.


By creating “the best job in the world”, Tourism Australia has set up one of the most successful destination campaigns ever.

On offer were six extraordinary jobs in six extraordinary areas, collectively showcasing the best of their country and the best that Australian tourism has to offer the world’s youth travellers. The successful applicant for each job were to be paid a six-month salary of up to $100,000, which includes remuneration, accommodation costs and other agreed living expenses.

After the job opening was closed, they had received job applications from more than 330,000 people from 196 countries around the world expressing interest in the six dream jobs, with more than 40,000 video entries uploaded (Tourism Australia).

Besides interest from lots and lots of people, it also generated a lot of news attention. Large newspapers, bloggers and other social media teams went crazy for this campaign, causing it to go viral.


The social media statistics are quite impressive, reaching millions of people on a daily basis with social media updates (numbers are from November 2015).

Number of Followers: 1. Facebook – 14,000,000 2. YouTube – 13,900,000 3. Instagram – 5,000,000 Monthly Active Users

These statistics show that the campaigns and daily interaction with their followers have attracted millions of loyal fans.


Besides using their own social media websites, Tourism Australia is always looking for ways to branch out.

A six-day social media campaign run by Tourism Australia on Chinese microblogging website Weibo during Chinese president Xi’s visit to Australia, for example has attracted a readership of 120 million.

Besides, their primary website attained an increase of 30,000 visitors, as well as a 300 percent increase in traffic, reaching more than 13,000 organic visits to at the peak of the campaign (Tourism Australia).

Tourism Australia really knows how to create and implement social media marketing campaigns to set their country on the map.

Local destination marketing teams should start thinking outside the box more often and start using social media to its full potential. Both Visit Norway and Visit Australia have proven that social media and social media campaigns can have a hugely positive effect on your tourism destination.

Guest Blogger: Manon Keupink

Manon a lifestyle blogger from Sydney, Australia (originally from the Netherlands). On her blog "Simply Manon", she blogs about food, blogging, travel and lots more.
Tweet her @SimplyManon