A long time ago my mom was both an Avon lady and a Tupperware lady. Sometimes she went door-to-door with the latest smelly skin cream or fancy lettuce keeper. At other times she hosted parties where cupcakes and Kool-Aid were accompanied by trading gossip and catching up with friends. Then, at just the right moment, she’d bring out the skin cream and lettuce keepers. Sales always followed.
It was the ‘60’s and life seemed so simple. Today, she’d have to deal with gated communities, and security cameras. The carbo-phobics would shun the cupcakes and the smelly skin cream would have to be organic and fragrance-free. Yes, things have changed. But the basic concepts of yesterday are alive and well today.
People are still going “door-to-door,” trading gossip, catching up with friends and even buying smelly skin cream and lettuce keepers and… travel. They’re doing it on Facebook.
Without realizing it, my mother was practicing a form of social networking. Facebook is the new social network but her techniques and methods still apply! Truly, everything I really needed to know about Facebook I learned from my mom!
1. Make friends first – sell later
You can’t share cupcakes online, but everyone loves cool travel photos and videos. Friends are more likely to buy from friends. Talking about your interests and hobbies will attract more people to you thus expanding your network. But just like my mom, you need to go door-to-door sometimes. In other words, you too need to seek out (search) for people of common interest and starting sending some friend requests of your own.
2. Get involved and become known
Discussions (groups) in Facebook are the best place to strut your stuff! There are literally millions of groups on every imaginable subject. Find one (or twenty) you know and join the discussion! For example, join a group on French Cooking. Post a recipe or two and comment on other postings. Then, once you’re known, try this: “…thanks for the quiche recipe Marie! I was thinking of taking a group of 20 or so people to France to try the food first hand. Anyone interested?”
3. Nobody likes a bragger
Facebook is a place to have fun and connect with people of common interest. Blatantly promoting yourself will quickly become boring and annoying to your network and you’ll likely just be ignored. Instead, simply communicate like you do with your real-world friends. Rather than talking ABOUT being an expert – BE one! “…I loved Joanne’s pics of the temples. My love of this area keeps taking me and my tour groups back over and over.”
A personal tale
I’ve had a recent personal experience with the power of Facebook. The audio version of my book “Visionistics – The Process of Success” finally appeared on iTunes. iPod lovers could now download and listen to me reading my book at their leisure. I updated my status to say “Yippee! My audio book is finally on iTunes!” In less than twenty-four hours it rose to the number two most downloaded album in the spoken word category. I was pleasantly shocked.
My inbox is filled with messages from travel agents who sell-out groups using nothing but Facebook. I hear countless stories of agents gaining new clients, leisure and corporate through the simple act of socializing. Perhaps my mom didn’t know just how forward thinking she was. Or maybe it is just good old-fashioned common courtesy. Be nice, be involved, be genuine and everything else will work out just fine.
Nolan Burris is an author, former travel agent, failed musician and self-professed techno-geek. He’s also a popular international speaker both inside and outside of the travel industry. He is the founder and chief Visioneer of Future Proof Travel Solutions (futureprooftravel.com) based in Vancouver, Canada. Nolan’s believes that if can change the way business works, you’ll change the world. His goal is to spread the message of integrity and ethics in a techno-driven world.