Twitter is an important social media platform for safari operators. Not only is it easier to gain followers on Twitter than it is on Facebook, it’s an excellent communication and relationship building tool.
Twitter can be used to help your business in a number of ways including:
- Promoting your safari operation
- Interacting with your guests and agents
- Monitoring what people are saying about your business, lodges, camps, destinations and tours
- Creating a buzz about upcoming events or scheduled tours
- Promoting your website
- Developing direct relationships with travel agents, travel bloggers and journalist to help get the word out
Choose Your Username Wisely
The first thing you need to do is choose your username. Your username is how you’re identified on Twitter, and is always preceded by the @ symbol. For example Intergise’s username is @intergise.
Choose a username as close to your or your business’ name as possible. That makes it much easier to remember and identify and reinforces your branding.
In the above example Simbavati River Lodge has chosen a good username that encapsulates their brand. Kiboko Safaris, on the other hand has not chosen a good username. Not only does their username not include the company name but references a park in Zambia, an odd choice for a Malawian tour operator.
Your username can be a maximum of 15 characters.
Catch Their Eye With the Banner
The banner is the main image across the top of the screen. The banner is a great opportunity to catch people’s eye with a beautiful photo of your lodge or wildlife.
Twitter recommends you use an image that is 1,500 pixels wide by 500 pixels high. The image can be up to 5Mb.
The banner is responsive so will often get cropped depending on how the user is viewing your Twitter profile. This cropping occurs from the edges so try and have the central element of your banner in the centre of the image.
Don’t forget that your avatar will cover a section of your banner so make sure it doesn’t obscure anything important.
The Avatar: Your Twitter Face
Select an image that represents the account: a professional head and shoulders shot of you for a person or the logo for a company account. If there’s a primary face of your company, try a profile photo instead.
Twitter recommends an image with a minimum size of 400×400 pixels although it will often only display at 200×200 pixels. The image should be square so that is fits nicely.
It’s not always possible to use your full logo as an avatar. The small, square dimensions don’t lend themselves to wide logos. The best solution is to be a little creative and use a recognisable part of the logo instead.
Impodimo Game Lodge has tried to use their full logo but the far left and right have been cut off. Shumbalala Lodge, who have an even wider logo, have used only the icon from their logo so their avatar displays beautifully.
Grab Their Attention With the Bio
Your bio is a short description that appears on your profile that summarises what you are about. Make sure your bio is engaging. This is your ‘elevator pitch’ – your opportunity to connect with people and have them follow you.
Whilst the bio can be up to 160 characters keep it to around 145 to make sure it’s all visible at a glance.
Mavela Game Lodge’s bio is excellent – a succinct description of the lodge, its location and activities on offer. Campi Ya Kanziwastes space on flowery copy and is too long so the description gets cut off.Odzala Discovery has no description at all so you can’t tell where they are or what they offer.
Include a link to your website so your followers can learn more about you.
How to Use Twitter Effectively
I’ll cover some tips on how to use Twitter to market your lodge and safari tours in a forthcoming post so stay tuned.