Last updated November 28, 2023
Let's face it - social media is necessary for travel agencies and travel advisors, whether you love it or hate it.
You need it to reach and engage with new potential customers and provide them with a glimpse into what they can expect from your agency.
But let's be real. Social media can be a total time-suck. Who has the time and energy to keep up with all the latest trends and strategies, much less post original, creative content on a regular basis?
After all, you started your travel agency to plan people's dream vacations, not to learn all about social media marketing and the ins and outs of every social media platform!
Enter travel social media outsourcing - the holy grail of social media management. You hire a professional to take care of all that posting and strategizing for you. It sounds like a dream come true, right?
But hold up, is it actually a good idea for advisors to outsource their travel social media?
If you've ever wondered if outsourcing your social media efforts is right for you, you'll want to keep reading! We're exploring the pros and cons of travel social media outsourcing, as well as tips to help you decide if outsourcing is right for you.
By the end of this article you'll know everything you need to make an informed decision about whether or not to outsource your social media marketing efforts.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.
Types of travel social media outsourcing
First things first. When you hear the word “outsourcing”, that means different things to different people. You have lots of options, ranging from keeping full control of your social media accounts, to hiring a social media manager who handles every aspect of your accounts and posts.
Let's start by taking a look at a few of the more common outsourcing options.
Travel content subscriptions
Looking to outsource some aspects of your social media content creation but don't want to break the bank?
That's where a travel social media subscription service comes in. In exchange for a fee of $20 to $100 per month, a subscription service gives you graphics, ideas of what to post, and caption prompts for the month.
If you have the time to create content and enjoy being hands-on with your social media channels, a subscription model may be right for you.
The benefit is that it's a budget-friendly option, and it's an investment in your brand that won't leave you crying into your travel brochures.
Using a subscription with graphics (photos and/or infographics) and prompts is much easier than staring at a blank screen wondering what to post next. It's also easier to create high quality content on a consistent basis if you have a starting point rather than starting from scratch with each post.
But there are a couple of downsides. First, you have to do the leg work of actually writing and posting the content yourself. Second, if you copy and paste the provided captions without customizing them, you'll end up with the exact same content as other advisors.
Original content (i.e. content that no one else posts) ranks higher in social media algorithms, especially on Instagram and Facebook. That means a subscription can backfire on you by limiting your reach if you don't customize each post.
Destination or niche content packages
If you're willing to spend a bit more for pre-written content, packages of destination or niche specific content may be just the ticket. They can be a lifesaver for busy agents who want high-quality, beautiful content without having to write it themselves.
You can purchase a package that is specific to a destination, like the Maldives or African Safaris, or one that is designed for a specific idea or niche, like romance travel or family travel.
The package is a set price, usually $35 to $75 for a package of 20-30 images and captions. Once you purchase a package you can use the content whenever you'd like.
You can choose to either use packaged content exclusively, or you can use it to supplement your own original content. Some content packages are set up as a subscription, where you can download a certain number of packages per month for a set rate.
Benefits are similar to with a subscription model, with easy content creation that includes photos and captions. Unfortunately the downsides are the same as well, in that you still have to decide what to post, when to post it, and the content isn't original.
Custom content creation
Custom content creation is when someone else creates custom graphics, both photos and infographics, as well as custom captions and appropriate hashtags for you to use. This is what we do for our social media clients at The Savvy Travel Advisor.
Because every post is original and specifically created for you, you never need to worry about someone else posting the same content. It also allows your social media channels to have a consistent, authentic voice that is uniquely yours.
You receive a file each month with photos and graphics, as well as the accompanying captions. All you need to do is drop them into your favorite scheduler and your content for the month is done. It's easy to have a full month of unique, original content finished in less than an hour.
The downside is the cost, often ranging from $200 to $1,000 or more.
But the benefit comes through higher engagement, an authentic brand voice that is uniquely yours, and the simplicity of not needing to decide what to post and when. For many busy travel advisors who have a good roster of clients but also want to have an active, engaging travel social media presence, this is what I recommend.
Full social media outsourcing
If you're looking for the ultimate social media package that takes care of everything from content creation to engagement, full social media management services may be your go-to.
Warning: it comes at a cost, with prices often ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 per month depending on the level of service and number of social media platforms managed. But hey, if you've got the budget, why not sit back and let the pros take the reins?
With this type of social media management you give someone else full access to your social media accounts, and sit back and let them deal with everything. From content creation to account growth and customer service, a trusted social media manager can be a lifesaver for a busy travel advisor.
The benefit is that there's literally nothing you need to do. But the downside is that you're giving up all control of your brand on social media, so you need to trust your social media manager completely.
They need to understand your social media goals, brand voice, and the experience you want customers and potential customers to have. They are literally an extension of you and your brand.
The benefits of outsourcing your travel social media
If you're ready to level up your social media game, outsourcing your social media could be the answer you're looking for. There are a lot of benefits, whether you choose to go with a subscription, packaged content, or go all-in with custom content creation.
Access to social media expertise
Social media pros are gurus. We have the skills and experience to create effective social media strategies to help you reach your target audience.
If your social media content looks unprofessional or DIY, it may be time to transform the way you do your marketing. By outsourcing your social media, you get to tap into our expertise and benefit from a more targeted, effective social media presence.
It's like having a personal social media coach on your team without having to hire a full-time employee!
Posting consistently and frequently
Social media platforms love it when you post consistently and frequently. But let's face it, maintaining a regular posting schedule can be a real headache!
By outsourcing you can update your social media accounts consistently and frequently with high-quality, engaging content without sacrificing other work that you need to do.
It's a win-win situation!
Spend more time on what you do best
The last thing you want is for your social media marketing to get in the way of actually serving your clients. By outsourcing, you can spend more time on the things you do best (planning amazing trips!) while still regularly updating your social media accounts with high-quality content.
If you're spending multiple hours planning a month's worth of content, think of what you could do with that time instead. When you outsource you can reduce that time to 30-60 minutes per month, freeing up your work hours to serve your clients.
Increased engagement and growth
If your social media accounts are feeling stagnant and your follower numbers have plateaued, or if you’re seeing little engagement from your audience in the form of likes, shares and comments, it may be time to consider an outsourcing option.
You’ll still need to spend time on social media, engaging with other accounts by liking and sharing content, in order to see growth. But the content creation itself will no longer be something that needs to take up your time.
Or if you choose to go all-in with a full social media manager, they can do more than just create engaging content. They can also interact with your followers, engage with other accounts in an authentic way that results in growth, and monitor analytics to optimize your social media performance.
The result? More engagement in the form of likes, followers, increased brand awareness, and account growth. And who doesn't want that?
The flip-side - potential downsides to outsourcing
While all the pros are great, before you jump on the outsourcing bandwagon let's make sure you have all the info. It's time to talk about why you might not want to outsource your social media.
Loss of brand voice or authenticity
If you decide that outsourcing your social media marketing is right for you, be aware that it can, in certain situations, lead to a loss of your brand voice or authenticity.
When you purchase a travel content subscription or a destination or niche content package, those graphics and captions are, by default, generic. They don't capture the essence of what makes your agency unique, so if you simply copy and paste everything “as is” there is nothing to help you stand out from the crowd.
If you decide to go all-in, with either custom content creation or full travel social media management, you want to make sure the person creating your content fully understands your brand vibe and target audience.
The last thing you want to do is end up posting content that doesn't align with your brand values and messaging, turning off followers faster than you can say “unfollow”.
That's why, at The Savvy Travel Advisor, I have a unique client onboarding process. There's a bit of work you need to do up front, like developing your Ideal Client Avatar and providing samples of other accounts with a similar look and feel to what you're aiming for.
By doing this pre-work, I help ensure that I can create awesome content on the first try. My goal is always for you to say “did she read my mind? This is exactly what I was hoping for!”
Cost and budget
Outsourcing social media can be expensive, especially if you want full content creation and management services. For small businesses or tight budgets, the cost of outsourcing may not be worth it. You don't want to go broke just to keep your social media game strong.
Lower cost options, like subscriptions and destination or niche packages, can be a good option if budget is an issue, but only if you're willing to put in the time and effort to make the content uniquely your own.
If you're simply going to post mass-produced content “as is”, you most likely won't see the results you're hoping for.
Communication and mis-communication
If you're not clear about what you want, your goals for your social media marketing, and who your target audience is, outsourcing your social media won't fix those problems.
You need to make sure you're crystal clear on what you want to get out of your social media accounts, whether that's new customer inquiries, or a specific number of followers or level of engagement.
Also, you need to know what makes your brand unique, and why people would choose to work with your agency over another. You can't communicate what you aren't clear on.
When you work with The Savvy Travel Advisor, it's ok if you're not crystal clear on those things from the get-go. Part of what we do during the client onboarding process is work together to determine your goals and get to the root of what makes your agency special.
By clarifying those things up front we minimize the chances of miscommunication and misunderstanding, and we accelerate the results you get.
Is outsourcing right for you?
Outsourcing your social media can be a great move for some travel advisors, but it's not the right answer for everyone. To help you decide if it's right for you, here are some things you'll want to consider.
Check your social media game
Before you jump in and outsource, take a look at your current social media presence and strategy. See what's working and what's not. This will help you figure out where you need the most help and what services you need.
If you're clear on your agency's unique selling points and know who your target audience is, but struggle to find words when you're staring at a blank screen, a subscription or content package may be the perfect option.
Have you had a subscription or been using content packages for a while but you're still not getting the results you want? It may be time to upgrade to custom content creation.
Consider your time and resources
If you're strapped for time and resources, outsourcing may be your new best friend. But if you have a person or team that can manage your social media in-house, you may not need to outsource.
A solo advisor who just doesn't have the time (or interest) in creating and managing their social media can find huge benefits in having their content created for them. Let's face it, if you're spending time on social media that you need to spend serving your clients, you're better off outsourcing what you can.
Set your budget and goals
Good outsourcing isn't cheap, so it's important to set a budget and decide what goals you want to reach.
Think about what services you need and how much you're willing to pay for them. You want to see a return on investment in the form of more engagement and client inquiries, but how much are those worth?
Say your average trip has a budget of $15,000. Your agency probably makes $1,500 to $2,000 of that in commission. With those numbers, what does one lost potential client, who looks at your social media and decides not to reach out, cost you each month? Or, to reverse it, what would one additional client each month be worth to you?
If getting that client is worth more than a $50 per month subscription or content package, it's time to invest more in your social media. Your business will thank you!
The bottom line
Outsourcing can be a great option if you want to up your social media game, keep a consistent posting schedule, and free up time to focus on other parts of your travel business.
If outsourcing is the right move for you, make sure you pick a partner with experience working with travel advisors, who understands your unique brand and audience, and who can help you get the results you want.
Are you ready to start outsourcing your travel social media? I’d love to talk with you, just click the button below to schedule your free consultation call.
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