When Size Isn’t The Only Thing That Matters | TravelResearchOnline


When Size Isn’t The Only Thing That Matters

There’s a mad dash on social media today to get to the most fans, followers or readers. It’s not limited to the travel industry, but I do see many travel professionals falling in the trap and putting a great deal of importance on their fan base. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t always matter.

That’s right, the number of people “liking” you on Facebook or following you on Twitter is not really the magic potion that will make your online activity successful. What you need to look at instead is the QUALITY of people who are forming your audience.

How do you know if your audience quality is good? Ask yourself these questions:

  1. When I post information, do I get a reasonable amount of comments or likes?
  2. Does my fan base share my content with others?
  3. If I post a question, do I get feedback?
  4. When I share travel packages or promotions, do I get inquiries?

You want to answer yes to as many of those questions as possible. Keep in mind though, not every post will warrant the same reaction and that’s ok.  Now tell me, would you rather have a smaller audience that engages with you and shares your information with others very often or 10,000 fans that say nothing, do nothing, and never buy?

Of course, we’d all LOVE to have a big audience of highly engaged fans…that’s the ideal situation. Here are 5 ways to increase your chances of making it happen:

  1. Offer quality information Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and think of what kind of information would be most useful to them. Offer it copiously.
  2. Be consistent Offer the same quality content on a consistent basis. Create a calendar of topics and posts if you need to.
  3. Respond & engage If your fan base is asking questions, making comments or offering information on their own, don’t leave them hanging for days. Offer a quick reply or ask a question back to show that you are paying attention too.
  4. Show appreciation Thank people for contributions. A simple thank you is often all it takes, but you might want to consider small incentives for those who really go above and beyond to contribute to your online community. Things like special mentions, free ad space for their product or some gift vouchers can help fans feel appreciated and encourage them to want to do more. Think of it as nurturing your own brand ambassadors.
  5. Participate outside your channel
    Find other Facebook pages, blogs or twitter folks who cater to a similar audience as yours and start contributing to conversations.  (caution: I wouldn’t suggest posting on another agent’s channel…think a little further like hobbies, destinations or special interests) Make sure your profile contains a link back to your own channel so that new fans can subscribe to your content easily and be sure to target, target, target!

These may seem like small steps, but they all go a long way towards making you relevant and attention-worthy to the right kind of audience.  By feeling like you are interesting and responsive to them, your fans will in return be keener to follow you, engage with you, recommend you to others and eventually buy. Besides, if you focus on the quality of people you are attracting first, the quantity of people will eventually come on its own.

Sophie Bujold is a social media coach, blogger and speaker for the travel industry. For the past 8 years, she has worked for large travel agency organizations where she developed online initiatives and helped travel professionals understand how to use online tools to market themselves. Sophie strongly believes in the power of social media and wants to help travel professionals embrace it to create business success. You can connect with Sophie online through her blog at www.sophiebujold.com

  3 thoughts on “When Size Isn’t The Only Thing That Matters

  1. RIGHT ON, SOPHIE! You sum it up perfectly.

  2. Steph Lee says:

    Spot on Sophie! I’ve seen FB pages with 1,000s of fans that have no interaction and pages with 100 fans that have great engagement and relationships with their fans, the 100 fan page is definitely the one I interact with.

    But you’re absolutely right that it can be challenging to find engaged fans and social media has the possibility to be very disheartening to those just beginning.

    We put together a co-op of sorts for agents that are interested in supporting each other’s Facebook efforts. Concept is pretty simple, become a fan of other agent FB sites, comment and support them, and they’ll return the favor. Granted they’re not going to be booking travel from you but it helps everyone site be more successful and looks really good to clients visiting your site! http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=443565273924

  3. Thanks Chelle and Steph. I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

    Steph, the co-op concept you mention is an interesting one. Have the people participating in it had some success attracting new fans because of it? The support alone is great for newbies because yes, social media can be a bit lonely when you are just starting out.

    Personally, I think tip#5 in my article (Participate outside your channel) is the most important one for new users. It seems counterintuitive to build a page and then go hang out on someone else’s, but I’ve seen it pay out for people who do. They’ve gained both fans and sales from it. The trick is to think outside of the box a bit and find groups where other agents do not abound. Otherwise you are competing for leads and can end up looking really tacky and desperate if you are consultant #5 offering to help someone.

    I have some clients who now set aside some time each day to visit other pages and put in their two cents when they can.

    If anyone is interested in some additional social media tips for travel pros, you can also check out my business page at http://www.facebook.com/sbujold.online

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