Social media appears to be here to stay. The Big-Three appear to be Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and I assume your travel agency is on at least one of them—most likely Facebook. You probably already know how social media can boost your search engine rankings, allow you to provide better customer service, foster relationships and educate your prospects.
All you need to do is create great content, publish it somewhere (your blog, website, social media pages), and then share it. Pretty simple, eh? But that is only the first half of the game. How’s your follow through? Are you doing these three additional critical steps?
Answer the questions
People will invariably have questions for you. In fact, Twitter has become the de-facto platform for customer service issues. No one likes to be ignored, so when someone speaks to you..speak back. If they specifically mentioned you (with a tag or an @mention) it is imperative. Keep an eye on the travel industry as well, It is a big pond, and if you can be the first to respond to an inquiry, you will be well on your way to landing a new client.
A savvy travel professional will easily build a reputation as someone who values the customer experience and will work hard to answer inquiries.
Use the “like” link
It is there for a reason. And there are several reasons you should use it. If a customer or prospect leaves a comment, it acknowledges that you at least saw it and it did not go into a vacuum. It is a way to acknowledge their participation and show appreciation for their message. The bonus (or maybe the real reason) is that it increases the almighty engagement in the Facebook algorithm which will work toward allowing more of your updates to show on more pages. Similar to “like” on Facebook, “favorite” is on twitter, the “+1” on Google+ and “like” again on LinkedIn.
Alternately, if you have time or the comment left is complex, leave a reply comment, send a reply tweet or otherwise engage. Social media is not too different from real life. No one wants to be ignored. And if you are ignored enough times, it is very easy to simply go elsewhere.
Make it your goal to try to engage with every customer.
Mind your manners
When someone buys a trip from you in your store or over the phone, you thank them right? Right?? The downside of social media is that emotion and authenticity can be difficult to present. Does “thank you for your business” really mean, “OK you’re done…next??” Or does it mean, “wow, THANK you for choosing me. Together, we have created the best experience for you and I am so sure you will have an outstanding time. I want to hear all about it when you return and because we worked so well together, I want to get busy planning the next trip. I love that we are now in this new relationship!” There is a difference. Keep that in mind in social media.
Whenever someone retweets one of your posts or shares your content, send a quick message to thank them. It does not need to be a thank you note (although that would blow their mind), but a simple tweet saying “thanks” or a reply to their share of your content showing your appreciation.
The other way to show appreciation is to share their content as well. Of course, you want to be sure it is appropriate to YOUR audience too, but returning the favor is always nice!
Social media is a powerful tool when used well. These three steps will allow you to build your audience and make them an engaged one. With not much time and effort, it will not take long to convert them from “likers” and “followers” into full-fledged brand-advocates for your travel business.