Now that all the elements of your virtual tour have been finalized, it’s time to launch your project. How you decide to deliver it to your audience depends on your organization’s marketing strategy, however in this section, we will discuss different platforms you can use to maximize your audience outreach.
Where to put your tour
Before you start planning out a marketing strategy for your virtual tour, you should have an idea of where your audience is. Is it best to reach them through email or are they on social media? Having this information in your back pocket will give your virtual tour the most exposure. Here are some platforms to consider:
Now that you’ve built your virtual tour, the most important platform to promote it is within your website. One place you can start with is your homepage. This is typically the most trafficked page on your webpage and is a common entry point for new users. It would be a good idea to feature a graphic panel and a link in the nav structure to ensure that the users are able to quickly access the content.
Another option is to put it on your ‘About Us’ page. Placing your tour here will give viewers the chance to see what your organization is all about after they’ve read about the services you offer. You can also place your virtual tour on secondary pages. For a post-secondary site, this might be the pages that outlines the different types of programs you offer. Putting your tour on secondary pages will increase your tour viewership because students will likely see it when they’re doing their post-secondary research.
Generally, the more you distribute your virtual tour within your website, the more traffic you’ll drive.
In June 2018, 68% of mobile audiences in the United States used the Google Maps app, making it the fourth leading smartphone app in the country. Having tour content available on Google Maps is a great tool to get exposure because this platform generally tunnels in lots of users.
Users go to Google Maps for practical reasons like searching for directions or to quickly access contact and location details. Frequently, they browse through business and organizational information and end up exploring the content that is published alongside your listing. This is where your virtual tour content can come in. Google Maps is a unique platform because it can serve traditional media like photos and videos and also act as a medium for 360° content. With this feature, you can publish the panoramas you’ve created into Google Maps to increase viewership and to drive more in-person visits.
Today, marketers have connected more with their audiences over social media than ever before. In 2017, 2.46 billion people were on social media worldwide and by 2021, 3.02 billion people from across the globe are expected to be on it. Promoting your virtual tour on social media is a good option to consider, however time of day is crucial when posting to different social media channels. Based off of Hootsuite’s data, we created a chart detailing the best times to post depending on what social media platform you’re using.
Considering the post-secondary example again, social media is especially a great way to reach out to students. In May 2018, Facebook had the most users on their site in comparison to other social media platforms. Another study showed that 82 per cent of Canadians ages 18–34 used Facebook at least once a week. In this case, publishing your virtual tour on Facebook would increase your tour’s viewership because that’s where most of the student population spends their time.
What to include in your social media post
Despite the nuances between social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, there are some general elements you can apply to all of them to create effective and captivating posts.
- Include a captivating visual: this is what initially grabs the viewer’s attention when they’re scrolling through their feed. Your image should act as a teaser to what they can expect when they follow through with your call to action.
- Tell a story in your caption or post description: start to reveal the story behind your visual in your copy. Your text should be compelling in a way that leaves your viewers wanting more.
- Make your call to action clear and specific: link directly to where you want your readers to go to in your text.
- Include relevant hashtags and tags: using keywords that describe your post’s theme and turning them into hashtags will increase your chances of being discovered by different users. You can also tag relevant participants that are referenced in the post.
Other strategies to promote your virtual tour
Putting your tour on your webpage, on Google Maps and on social media are effective tactics to increase viewership and user engagement, but here are some more strategies to consider to promote your virtual tour:
Including your virtual tour into newsletters and email blasts will make both your current audience and prospective audience aware of what your organization has to offer.
Conferences, expos and trade shows
You can create an interactive and memorable experience at your booth or during your speech by showing your virtual tour on devices such as a tablet. Doing this gives the attendees a chance to actually interact with your tour, learn more about your space and ask you any questions they have in person.
Direct mail via vanity URL
Sending out a clear and simple URL to your audience that leads to your virtual tour can also help promote your organization, and making the URL easy to remember will make people more inclined to type it into their devices and visit your site.
How to measure the effectiveness of your virtual tour
After you’ve published your virtual tour, it would be helpful to have a system in place to analyze your project data and gauge your virtual tour’s effectiveness. Below we have a list of key metrics you could examine on a frequent basis to measure this:
- Number of visitors and their geographic location
- Average time spent viewing the tour
- Number of scenes viewed in a session
- Percentage of people viewing the virtual tour on mobile vs. desktop
- Discovering what channel users are accessing the virtual tour through
- Conversion rates
Measuring all these statistics and more and looking at the trends are just some of the ways that can help inform you of next steps to take to advance your organization.
Summary of the process
We’ve now reached the end of our guide to virtual tours and immersive experiences. Here’s a recap of the main concepts we covered:
- The fundamentals of virtual tours
- How to personalize your virtual tour for your audience
- Tips to telling effective and compelling stories
- The production process from start to end
- Making your virtual tour accessible for a diverse audience
- Promoting your virtual tour
In the past, we’ve applied concepts in this guide to help our clients attract more customers. We’ve worked with organizations like George Brown College, YMCA and Signature Retirement Living, and our virtual tours have engaged more users in comparison to when the organization didn’t have a virtual tour in place. Not only were the virtual tours able to convey the highlights of a venue in an interactive and memorable way, but the virtual tours have resulted in strong campaign metrics when used in an organization’s marketing strategy.
You can check out some of the virtual tours we’ve worked on here. If you have any questions, feel free to shoot us an email at email@example.com, we’d love to dive deeper into the realm of virtual tours and immersive experiences!