Hopefully you have been reading Travel Research Online for a while and you have seen the emphasis many of the authors are putting on social media such as Facebook, blogging and Twitter. We have given resources, suggestions, tips and tricks. What has been noticeably missing are the results. Well, thanks to a Google alert, some good timing and a little luck, I scored a small motherlode last weekend.
To begin with, I use Google as my main internet page and have a separate tab set up with nothing but travel related Google alerts. Late last week, one caught my eye about the TSA kidnapping a child in Atlanta. I followed the links and sure enough, some woman wrote this long, emotion filled blog entry about the TSA taking her 19 month old son during the screening process.
The “mommybloggers” got a hold of this and Twitter lit up. People were tweeting and re-tweeting this story left and right. Since many of the “mommybloggers” are indeed single mothers, this was a natural audience for my company Single Parent Travel. So I blogged and tweeted about the story to my existing readers and made sure I used the right keywords to attract Google and other search engines. There was a bonus for me as well. The “mommyblogger” lived in my home town of Annapolis and not only did the story fit in well with Single Parent Travel, but it also fit in very well (if not better) with a local non-travel blog I maintain herein Annapolis.
Her story quickly unraveled when the TSA actually posted video evidence of her trip through security; and as to be expected the Twitter lit up again. The “mommyblogger” was lauded, chided, vilified, and martyrized. When this new info came out, I re-blogged and re-tweeted explaining that the story was false. Again I was careful to use the proper keywords. For Single Parent Travel, the story was over. There was a tale of a wronged mom, and a correction. For my local blog, it continued for a few days as more and more details came to light, so we continued “covering” it for a while.
At this point, you are probably wondering…so what? Well, quite simply, here’s the takeaway. Over the 4 days that that this story evolved, I saw the following results:
- $387.52 in Google Ad revenue (typically I run $20 to $30 a day)
- 493 new sign ups to my Single Parent Travel mailing list
- 102 new sign ups on Eye On Annapolis
- A 4-day increase in web traffic to Single Parent Travel by 35% and it is still holding at 31% a week later(with increased Google Ad revenue)
- A 4-day increase in web traffic to Eye On Annapolis by 273% and it is still holding at 129% a week later(with increased Google Ad revenue)
- 4 bookings into a weekend group outing I have scheduled next month
- 1 booking for a Beaches trip next summer
- 12 solid leads for a special Harry Potter group I have for February
- Blog rankings are through the roof as I was linked to stories all over the web including the New York Times blog*
Not bad for a few hours worth of work.
The lifetime value of the posts is difficult to calculate, but the immediate one is pretty obvious. As I said, I was fortunate in that I could integrate two blogs and feed off one another by linking back and forth and passing readers between the two. But certainly, I owe this woman and her false story a beer if I ever meet her.
Social media is not something that will pay off immediately. It is about building relationships and offering advice, insight and yes, promotions when appropriate. I got lucky. I never pitched a single trip the whole weekend. People came to me, read what I had to say, determined I was worthy of reading a little more and then made their own decision to stay and in some cases book with me. Take it one step at a time, be on the lookout for hooks that relate and bring in people that want to know more about you.
For the backstory on this, here are a few links:Original post, TSA Agents Took My Son The Twitter search regarding the posts
The 5 posts at Eye On Annapolis The 2 posts at Single Parent Travel
Google searches to give an idea of how big this was. Web Search, Blog Search, News Search, and even YouTube.
* Oh, and by the way, did you notice that most (not all) of the links in this article will take you back to one of the sites I manage? Whenever you can control the information being put forth, it is a win for you. Your site rankings will increase, your traffic will increase, your ad revenue (if you use them) should increase, and you may get a repeat reader or customer.