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.
Think of the other venues where you might market. Chances are pretty good you cannot afford to advertise in your community news paper everyday, and most travel consultants will find themselves using a PR tactics such as a press release, an event or a speaking opportunity only a few times a year. I would never diminish local physical marketing venues in the least as I think them perhaps more important than digital. However, it is highly likely you can afford to market on Facebook every day of the year.
I am not arguing for a constant steam of self promotion or a barrage of travel specials to your Fan base. What I am suggesting is the value of touching clients as often as possible. By remaining engaged with your friends, family and acquaintances, you remain highly visible to them. You must be subtle in your marketing, you must depend on the osmotic impact of “being there.” But do it correctly, and the next time your clients think of travel, their next thought will be of you.
Marketing is all about that very thing.
Facebook, and other social media, expands your opportunities to build loyalty and deepen your existing relationships. Sharing your interests with others places you solidly on common ground with your Friends and Fans. When they Share your Posts or Like your Page, they signal their approval to others who may not yet know you. You have a built-in testimonial for your travel practice.
Facebook as a media may be new, but marketing in this manner is not. Facebook enhances in a new setting traditional word of mouth, advertising and public relations. In so doing you can greatly widen your sphere of influence and increase traffic to your website and, eventually the sale of your services to travelers.
I am convinced the greatest sin most travel professionals commit on Facebook is a failure to socialize authentically. Be yourself, but keep in mind the reason your clients and potential clients go to Facebook is to learn more about you, others and themselves, to socialize. Give them what they want.
Socialize. One day, every one of your Friends and Fans will go on vacation.
When they do, give them a reason to think about you.