How Social Media can be Utilized to Benefit Tourism and Small Business

Jacob Hertwig       

Each day hundreds of thousands of people travel across the globe for vacation. About 1.4 trillion dollars was spent globally in 2020 on travel for tourism. It is clear that people like to pay for travel. But what is the one thing that enables all of it? Technology. Technology gives us the ability to plan our trips. We use it to look up destinations and activities in the area. Most people now use their phones or laptop to book the trip too!

Small Business

Small businesses are a dying breed. “According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 20% of all small businesses fail within the first year, 50% by the fifth year, and 80% by the tenth year.” (Jones et al. 1, p. 2) This is an alarmingly high statistic that has grown over the last few years due to COVID-19. Thankfully, there are steps that can be taken to reduce the likelihood of businesses shutting their doors for good. Imagine you are a social media manager for a small business. You know people use technology to research and book trips, but you do not know how to promote your brand to them. The solution to this problem is once again technology and a social media strategy.

The Power of Social Media

At some point in our life, we have heard about or used social media. Most people use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter every single day. In fact, about 69% of adults say they use Facebook, and 81% say they use YouTube. (Auxier & Anderson, 2021) Small businesses can use these media platforms to their advantage. Creating an account for your business does a few things. First, it creates a brand image. A brand image gives people a perspective on how you want them to view you. If done correctly, you can a positive perspective that increases the favorability and loyalty of your business within the community and across the world. Most importantly, social media increases your market reach.


When looking at methods on how to reach different audiences, there are options. As a business, you can take advantage of paid, earned, shared, or owned media online. Each type of media has its own advantages and disadvantages. All of them are extremely beneficial to a brand, but of the four types, the most impactful is paid media. Paid media is paying to promote posts to people on social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter. You can even pay an influencer to promote your brand on these social media platforms. In simple terms, you are paying for someone or something to promote you.

Why they Work

Small business owners need to utilize paid media. A study done in Maine found that “When a small business does not place an advertisement on Facebook, the business generally accumulates approximately 16 Contributions (likes, loves, shares, and wows). However, when the same small rural business places an ad on Facebook, they are likely to gain an average increase of approximately twenty-five likes, loves, wows, expanding the Contribution from 16 to 41.” (Jones et al. 9)

Small but Mighty

This may not seem like much, but as your engagement increases with your posts and account, you will begin to grow your audience. When you grow your audience, you will see more contributions to your brand online. This can be things like positive comments or reviews recommending that others engage with your brand. When people are using technology to plan and book these trips, they will see your brand. If you have successfully created a positive perspective online, it becomes more likely that you will be able to leverage people to engage with your business online and within reality. Great public relations go a long way.

Other Resources

For those brands that might now be able to fulfill a full paid social media campaign, there are other options. Another powerful choice could be to utilize shared media. This includes content such as employee and customer stories or an official website with a blog. This can be a more affordable option that helps in creating a positive view of a business while increasing brand recall and recognition! The only drawback is you are responsible for creating engagement whereas paid advertising helps do it for you.

So, if you ever find yourself in a position where you need to manage marketing for a business and you are looking for a simple solution, look no further than paid advertising. A few weeks of an aggressive paid social media strategy can mean the difference between the life and death of your brand!


Jones, Nory B., Patti Miles, and Tanya Beaulieu. “The Value of Social Media Advertising Strategies on Tourist Behavior: A Game-Changer for Small Rural Businesses.” Journal of Small Business Strategy, vol. 31, no. 4, 2021, pp. 64-75. ProQuest,, doi:

Auxier, B., & Anderson, M. (2022, May 11). Social media use in 2021. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. Retrieved September 28, 2022, from