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.
Most often, it is the technology we find daunting. It is not hard to understand why many travel professionals have problems with digital marketing. 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. Yet, beyond the technologies, the fundamental skill sets are largely the same whether networking in your local community or digitally. Read the rest of this entry »
We have spent the last ten days covering aspects of Facebook marketing for your travel agency and have moved from setting up your account, through appropriate content and organic and paid promotions. Before we leave off the Facebook portion of our series, however, I want to provide a few extra resources you may find helpful as you build out your social media strategy. Right now is a great time to be planning aspects of your 2013 marketing plan. Getting your strategies lined up early is no mistake!
One quick caveat: everything I’m about to write will very likely be dated a month from now. Facebook time is accelerated time, so anticipate having to make some adjustments as you go. Third party articles are out of date quicker than those maintained by Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »
Posting and updating your Facebook Page status is an important part of maintaining your Edgerank. Too many businesses post infrequently and their Fans miss out on the Posts. As fewer interactions take place, the EdgeRank slips and even fewer posts are seen. This year, Facebook introduced a feature to assist users with scheduling their posts in advance.
The Facebook Scheduler is one of the “hidden” features of Facebook. Even many experience users do not know it exists. The built-in scheduler is not as full featured as programs like HootSuite, but it will suffice for many. Read the rest of this entry »
As your Fans Like and Share your posts, your Facebook engagement in increases. What many do not realize is only about 15% of your Fans actually see your posts organically. As a result, your engagement and EdgeRank can remain very low. Pages already having at least 400 likes can use Promoted Posts to increase their engagement.
On the lower right hand corner of your posts is a small link “Promote”. You can promote recent posts directly from your post by clicking on the link and choosing a dollar amount. Read the rest of this entry »
The 365 Guide is in its second week of a series on Expanding Your Digital Footprint. More than one of the responses to the Facebook articles essentially asked “Is marketing on Facebook really necessary to my travel practice?” The answer is a resounding “No!” There are many different ways for anyone to market their travel practice and Facebook is only one possible vehicle.
But there is a really good reason for marketing on Facebook every travel consultant should consider. Facebook is where the people are.
According to their recent SEC filing, Facebook has more than 900 million active users who visit the venue at least once a month. Of those, 526 million visit Facebook daily. Those are absolutely staggering numbers. There are times when I have my doubts about the longevity of Facebook, but with such high current activity levels it is very difficult to ignore the potential. Consider this – do you know more people who use Facebook or who do not? How many people do they know? The possibilities for expanding your circle of influence are large. Read the rest of this entry »
How can we place a value on a “Like”? My own experience confirms what others say: it is difficult to properly assess the value of a “Like”. The standard measurement of dollars resulting from a customer reaction to an advertisement does not seem to apply. It is almost always impossible to trace back any given sale of our services to an interaction with a Facebook post or ad.
We really should not be surprised, however. Calculating Return on Investment (ROI) is easier with advertising than with marketing, and Facebook is actually a marketing venue, not an advertising venue. The distinction between marketing and advertising is always important to understand, and perhaps more so with digital marketing than with any other media. In setting goals for marketing your travel practice, Read the rest of this entry »
Facebook provides your travel practice with a variety of advertising vehicles for promoting your page. Like all advertising, one of the key objectives, and difficulties, is converting your advertising dollars into a measurable return. I have experimented with a number of different Facebook advertising vehicles with great success in terms of generating Likes and Engagement. I am less confident of the success in our monetization of those metrics into actual revenue, however. Nevertheless, I am impressed the the ability on Facebook to target and reach a demographic of people. I suggest some small investments by those of you willing to experiment and would love to hear any feedback on your own experiences. Read the rest of this entry »
As a result of our earlier articles this week, you now have a Facebook Page for your travel agency and you are laying down awesome content for your Fans. But people only show up if they know the party is happening! Let’s examine how to grow your Fan base organically, without spending any money. Tomorrow, we will look at managing paid growth and Facebook advertising.
The process of building a base of Fans is two-fold. First, you have to bring them to your Page. You can bring them to your page by organic or paid marketing. You must then induce viewers to “Like” your Page. Read the rest of this entry »
Marketing on Facebook is a tricky endeavor. Your Fans are not there to enable your business and overt advertising often fails badly. What is very clear is the need for your brand building efforts to be completely and comfortably ensconced in great content that is both educational and entertaining, with an emphasis on entertainment. The content you choose for your Post Updates has to be relevant and it has to possess a high interest factor. You have to hit your Fans where they live with articles that keep them involved with your posts and eager to see the next.
Engaging your clients increases the ever important EdgeRank – the formula by which Facebook determines how many of your Fans continue to see your posts organically. If a Fan interacts with one of your posts, they are more likely to see tomorrow’s post as well. I have learned the best techniques for engagement are open questions, videos and pictures, great articles, and, best of all – travel quotes. Let’s look at each of these in turn. Read the rest of this entry »
This week the 365 Guide is working through the most basic steps of setting up a Facebook Page as a part of our Expanding Your Digital Footprint series. Today we will finish building your Facebook page, publish it and make your first post. Log into Facebook and go to your unpublished page. Expand the Admin Panel and click on the “Edit Page” button, choosing the “Update Info” menu item. From there, choose “Basic Information” from the menu on the left.
Username and Address
Our first task will be to register a username for the Facebook Page to build your brand and make it easy to remember. Choose a username similar or identical to your brand, e.g. www.facebook.com/abctravel. You can use only on alphanumeric characters, and you cannot infringe on other’s trademarks. Read the rest of this entry »
I begin our series on Expanding your Digital Footprint with the mechanics of setting up a business page on Facebook. I should start with a necessary warning. Facebook has a history of altering their instructions and policies without notice. Thus, if any aspect of the instructions below have changed, a little creative searching with Google and some trial and error should greatly assist your efforts.
Firstly, understand the difference between a personal profile and a business page. A “Profile” is a Facebook presence for individuals. “Pages” are where a business builds its presence. There are many good reasons not to use a personal profile as a business page. The best reason is to do so violates the Facebook Terms and Conditions and they can shut your profile down without warning! If you have Friends, then you have a personal profile. If you have a “Like” button on your page, then you have a Business Page and you have Fans, also called Followers. Read the rest of this entry »
This week we have reviewed a variety of Facebook posts you can use to engage your readers more fully. Today we want to take a quick look at areas where you might want to tread more carefully. These topics of conversation veer away from your core mission and venture into areas not conducive to engaging your audience. To the contrary, you may offend a good segment of your readership! Read the rest of this entry »
Who can resist Liking a photograph of the Northern Lights? How about a video of a lion attacking a water buffalo? Think back on the Facebook posts that you have clicked on or Liked. How many of them were an irresistible photo or a video you would have otherwise not encountered? Each time you responded to a photograph or a video you were indicating a response similar to the one you want to evoke in your own Fan base. Photographs and videos are two of the best ways to engage your audience. Read the rest of this entry »
Engagement is the art of pulling your Facebook friends and fans into the conversation. When a Fan Likes, Shares or Comments on your Status Updates, your brand receives a higher profile and is exposed to new people. Engagement is the real measure of the success your Facebook Page is at any moment enjoying.
Open questions are one of the best ways to invite engagement. Ask a question not answered by a “yes” or a “no”. Center your questions on travel, but make your question non-threatening and certainly not overtly commercial. Read the rest of this entry »
Want to build an enthusiastic group of followers on Facebook? This week we are going to look at five different categories of posts almost certain to gain followers. We are also going to give you examples you can use immediately. Your goal is to create “engagement” – likes, comments and shares to increase the number of people exposed to your brand. With a bit of strategic thinking, you will be adding to your fan base quickly. Read the rest of this entry »
In the world of social marketing platforms, Facebook holds the unique position of most visited, most utilized and most full featured. Next week, The 365 Guide will go into depth with the possibilities of marketing on Facebook as it promises to be the most significant social media for the small service business like travel agencies. Today, however, we are going to focus on a broad overview and some key aspects of getting started.
The mechanics of getting started are not as overwhelming as it might seem. Start slowly, spending time learning Facebook as a media. As a business person, you can not treat Facebook as a consumer might – you must have more than a passing acquaintence with Facebook as a media if you are going to use it professionally in your marketing efforts. From the outset, think continually about the tenor of your online personality. Facebook “helps you connect and share with the people in your life” as the company’s tagline simply states. Joining is very easy, just sign up with your name and email address. However, from that moment on, keep in mind that you are on a mission and there are some important considerations as you project your business persona Read the rest of this entry »
Everybody’s talking about it and, if you believe the hype, everybody’s doing it. Marketing gurus from all corners of the virtual world are captivated by the potential of social marketing. But what is it exactly and does it really hold the potential that all of the buzz promises? The 365 Guide this week will look at social marketing from a travel agency point of view and see where the enterprising travel planner could possibly find some tangible benefit in participation in the media darlings of Facebook, Linked-in, Twitter, and other social media marketing opportunities.
Firstly, a confession. All those marketing gurus, including me, are guessing. There are certainly some success stories from all of the various social media formats, but the real value to any given business is at best, uncertain. The venues are new, the actual return on investment Read the rest of this entry »