Sophie Bujold is the founder of Clixo Media, a social media marketing company that opened its doors 2 years ago. She markets her brand at www.sophiebujold.com which offers education and consulting services in social media marketing for travel professionals. She teaches travel professionals how to understand and use social media successfully to market their business. This is done through online training programs, one-on-one work with individual clients, and group speaking events (either live or via webinars). Her latest project revolves around the launch of www.socialmediafamtrips.com where she is now offering the first ever social media FAM trip: Take Flight with Facebook. The virtual program is designed specifically with the travel agent in mind and aims to help travel professionals develop a solid strategy around their Facebook presence.
Travel Research Online: What inspired you to go into the travel industry? Did you see a market for education of Travel Agents in regards to social media?
Sophie Bujold: My passion for the travel industry actually started almost 10 years ago, well before social media was a hot topic. I moved to the West coast of Canada and was brought on as the manager of agency websites for a large agency organization. They introduced me to the industry and I fell in love. I have been working in it ever since!
As the years went by, I found myself helping more and more professionals with online tactics, including social media marketing as it started to gain appeal. I soon discovered that many travel professionals had a thirst to learn more from someone who also knew the industry. Once I decided to launch my own business, it just made sense to combine my fascination for the online world with my passion for helping travel professionals understand how to find success from it.
TRO: It seems like everyone is talking about how important it is to have a strong social media presence. Why would you say it’s important for travel professionals to not neglect social media?
SB: There has been a major shift in the past few years in how consumers make purchasing decisions and interact with businesses. Social media plays a huge part in this.
When you consider that Facebook has just hit 1 billion users, Pinterest is growing exponentially month over month and social networks in general are now becoming a part of the mainstream media, it makes them very hard to ignore.
While travel professionals can still seem to manage without some sort of social presence, I don’t think this will be the case for much longer. Customers from all ages and lifestyles are using social networks and expecting you to be there. In fact, a recent study by Lab42 revealed that 50% of social media users now consider your Facebook page to be more useful than your website. Is this really an audience that you want to ignore?
TRO: What is one aspect of social media marketing which most travel professionals might be surprised to learn?
SB: Most travel professionals I interact with seem most happy to learn that it’s ok not to be on all networks if you don’t want to. I think too many people get sucked into the thought that they MUST be present everywhere in order to have a successful online presence. This is simply not true.
Pick the channels that appeal to you the most and get really good at using those. Then, if you feel like adding other networks you can. There’s no sense in being everywhere if you can’t be effectively present.
TRO: What is the biggest pitfall travel agents make in regards to social media?
SB: I think many travel professionals get caught jumping into social media marketing without first asking themselves what they hope to accomplish. Not having clearly defined goals or asking yourself “why?” is the fastest ways to wasting time and having an ineffective presence.
Defining and working toward goals is actually one of the core components of the Take Flight with Facebook program. We spend time identifying what participants want to accomplish and help them formulate a clear strategy on how to achieve it.
TRO: What has the response been after the launch of Take Flight with Facebook on October 10?
SB: The response has been absolutely fantastic! We launched with close to 100 participants and the reviews so far have been amazing.
Here are a few comments we’ve received from existing participants:
“Loving the workshop so far Sophie. VERY impressed!”
“This is a tremendous program. The fact that you can “freeze” the video then go to your own Facebook page and work on it is great.”
“Wow, glad there isn’t a time limit as there’s a lot of great information!! Thanks Sophie!”
TRO: Why should a travel professional be interested in Take Flight with Facebook?
SB: This program is designed to help anyone who is looking to get smart and get results from their Facebook marketing efforts. So, rather than focusing 100% on the mechanics of Facebook, we dive into topics like branding, content planning, engagement, audience building and measurement. We also make sure participants are fully supported with worksheets to help them think through the process, a VIP community where they can ask questions and resources to move them forward. By the end of the program, participants walk away with a fully formulated plan and knowing exactly what to do to move their Facebook presence forward. If that’s something you’ve wanted to develop for your brand, then the program is worth checking out!
TRO: What is the best way for a travel professional to get involved in your programs?
SB: They can visit my website at www.sophiebujold.com and check out the programs that are currently being offered. If they want to be the first to hear of new program availability PLUS get free social media marketing tips via email every Tuesday, they can also sign up for my email updates while they’re on the site.