Last summer, TravelQuest headed for uncharted waters. We created a new marketing campaign that had social media at the heart of it and shied away from more traditional means of advertising. A year later, we’re pretty happy with our decision. Traffic is up on our website, we’re hearing from more and more agents(remember, we are a host agency) that they heard about us through social media, and our page pulls up higher on the search engines.
Unfortunately, despite the positive results above, I can’t make the claim that I was an early believer in social media. I was skeptical of how it could help a business-to-business (B2B) company like TravelQuest. Sure, it’s easy enough for Coca-Cola to get the masses posting on their Facebook fan page how much they love the fizzy, caffeine goodness. Let’s not kid ourselves; it takes a pretty popular product to make the bold claim that when you use their product you “open happiness.” I just don’t think TravelQuest is there quite yet.
As for Twitter, I had read the stories of Zappos CEO Tony Hseih’s early adoption of the microblogging site and was seduced into checking it out. Upon first inspection, I found the Twitter world a little too cryptic for my liking. Plus, if you’ve talked to me for any length of time, you realize that only giving me 140 characters is really stifling my creativity.
Despite my early misgivings about social media, I decided to try it out and turned into a believer. The bottom line was that agents, no matter how much they love their host agencies, are not going to shout it from the rooftops like they do for pop culture brands.
The past year on Facebook we’ve managed to accrue nearly 900 fans and have a vibrant community. Once we had a healthy fan page, we turned to building our Twitter page. In just a few months, our profile amassed nearly 500 followers and earned a Klout score of 43 (which, in Twitterspeak, is pretty good).
All of this got us thinking; we should share our experiences and help other agents learn the power behind social media. So this week our new project was designing a webinar series for our agents on how to use social media. Fun!
As a former teacher, I can say I enjoyed being able to take my experiences and make them into an understandable lesson for others. As a person consumed with social media literature and speakers for the past year, I can say I really wish someone would have had a social media webinar series out for travel agencies last year around this time.
As a TRO subscriber, you are also invited to check out the webinars scheduled for August. Just visit www.TQagents.com/webinar.php and register.
Do you have any success with social media? Please leave a comment!
Stephanie Lee works in Operations at Travel Quest, a host agency out of MN with over 200+ home-based travel agents. She graduated from the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University with a degree in Environmental Studies/Liberal Studies. She was awarded ASTA Young Professional of the Year in 2008 and was named one of Travel Agent’s “30 under 30” in 2009. She can be reached at Stephanie@TQagents.com, via Google+, or 800.392.6484. For more information on Travel Quest visit www.TQagents.com or www.facebook.com/TQagents
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