For many travel professionals, social marketing and media has proven its worth. Those who have succeeded using Facebook, Twitter and the like to generate business are actively engaged by being both creative and authentic. No doubt, the fundamental marketing tactics of local, community oriented public relations, networking, and advertising are far more important and necessary to most travel agents than any social marketing efforts will ever be. However, layer your social marketing tactics on top of a solid foundation of fundamentals and truly excellent results can be the order of the day. Read the rest of this entry »
Social media and social media marketing are deceptively easy to undertake. Sign up for a Facebook page or a Twitter account and start posting and tweeting. Hundreds of millions, literally, of individuals and companies do it, right? So how hard can it be?
Like many business undertakings, social marketing is a study in fundamentals. Far too many travel agents jump into the fray without serious consideration of the need to be authentic, intentional and consistent in their social media Read the rest of this entry »
My opinion of social marketing has not deviated a great deal since I first looked at the potential of Twitter, Facebook and other forms of social media as marketing channels for travel agents. Some agents report good results, most have yet to garner significant business. Of those who have had successes, Facebook and participation with various online communities seem to hold the most promise.
The venues are new, the actual return on investment difficult to measure, and the case studies few and far between outside of very high profile brands. There is little doubt that for some companies with a tight niche market, tangible products or a well-defined brand, social marketing has been an extraordinary and exciting new way of creating buzz among consumers. The return on investment for most travel professionals is more difficult to assess. Read the rest of this entry »
One thing is perfectly clear – travel agents love social media. At any travel trade show, the social media panels are packed. Hold a social media webinar and it’s a record crowd of travel agents that show up. It seems everyone has a Facebook or Twitter account, and a good part of everyday is spent pumping content into the social media funnel.
There are even some great success stories. Last week, travel agent Denyse Turner related her own experiences which include “15 group cruises, 5 individual cruises and more vacation packages than [she] can handle alone“. That is tremendous success and there are many more stories beginning to come in attesting to the power of social media as a marketing tactic.
Here’s the problem. Denyse makes it look easy. Agents are flocking to social media because of her story and others like it, much the same way that people charged across the North American continent in 1849 looking for gold.
Not everyone will get rich. However, a lot more travel agents could if they Read the rest of this entry »
Every now and then it is worthwhile to remember that even the most interesting and dynamic of marketing tactics can go wrong. All companies, including travel agencies, need to erect the appropriate safeguards to prevent an errant employee from doing damage to their brand through some form of social interaction, whether online or in the real world. Many of you will no doubt be familiar with the plight of Domino’s Pizza which last month had to combat the adverse publicity that arose when two employees videotaped themselves in a Domino’s franchise abusing Read the rest of this entry »
Online forums are the “old timers” of social marketing. Not as flashy as Facebook or Twitter, online forums are places where people with a common interest gather to trade insights, discuss ideas and to meet new friends. There are online forums for professionals, for politics, for pet lovers, gamers, travel, and for parents, both at a national level and locally. There are not many interests where you cannot find a niche online community. Like any gathering of consumers, there is a real marketing opportunity, but one that can be successfully accessed only by applying very careful rules of etiquette.
The ambiance in most online forums is relaxed and casual. It is very important to understand at the outset that the members of an online community are there because they enjoy each other’s company. Communities never form around the idea of being monetized and overt marketing is typically strongly discouraged Read the rest of this entry »
I’m a convert. For months now I have been shaking my head. I didn’t get Twitter. Who wants to know what everyone in the world is doing right now? How about Now? Now? Not me. But during my research for this article I saw the light. I’m not about to say that Twitter would be my first choice for a social marketing platform for every travel agent, but the potential is obvious and for the most ambitious of you, worth a hard look.
Twitter is often referred to as “micro-blogging.” Twitter allows friends, family, and co–workers to communicate through the exchange of short messages. The writer will post a short update, called a “tweet”. Each message must be 140 characters or fewer. URLs can be embedded in a post, and many use http://www.tinyurl.com/ to shorten the length of the URL. Twitter posts the message to your profile and then sends the message to your “Followers”. Messages can not be edited, but can be deleted. 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 »