While working with some travel professionals on the topic of “Expanding Your Digital Footprint” my research revealed a rather surprising weak spot. Most of the travel professionals were eager to know the best practices in social media, search engines, websites, newsletters and blogging. But many also quickly confessed to a deficiency of fundamental knowledge on how to get started. A general understanding of social media marketing, blogging, websites and reputation maintenance is present, but the actual mechanics of each sometimes seems elusive.
It is not hard to understand why many travel professionals have problems with digital marketing. Most often, it is the technology we find daunting. Our passions run to the travel experience, not technology and marketing. To become really proficient in any branch of digital marketing takes precious time and resources. But the information is “out there” at the other end of a Google query, a YouTube video or elsewhere, and at the end of this article I will suggest some excellent resources for your consideration.
The good news is, beyond the technologies, the fundamental skill sets are largely the same whether networking in your local community or digitally. If we know how to network at a Chamber of Commerce meeting, we should know how to network on Facebook. If you know how to tell a good story at a social gathering, writing your next blog entry and responding to comments should come naturally. The veneer of technology sometimes masks the similarities and the need for the fundamentals you already know.
Likewise, you seldom hear anything in a marketing seminar that is truly unexpected. Most good marketing only requires a slight psychological shift to become a tenable practice. Naturally we often see critical mistakes made in execution but once understood can be easily corrected. For example, marketing is not a one-way stream of information, but a careful and deliberate conversation with clients. Many travel professionals confuse marketing and advertising, so their efforts at marketing look more like newspaper advertising than conversations with clients. Only a slight adjustment is necessary to make for better results.
Here are a few worthwhile resources available to you with regard to digital marketing and beyond:
- Hubspot: Subscribing to Hubspot’s newsletter will make for the opportunity to do some worthwhile reading on a consistent basis.
- Social Media Examiner – a terrific resource for researching almost any aspect of social media marketing and best practices.
- Lynda.com – Go back to school with short, inexpensive video tutorials on a wide variety of technology and business topics. Well worth a subscription if you are willing to actively use the learning tools there.
The necessity of being a life-long student is practically a tenent of the business world. There is always something new to learn. Occupying some part of your day with a therapeutic dose of study, however, is one of the best possible ways of staying ahead of the curve.