Social media and social media marketing are deceptively easy to undertake. Sign up for a Facebook page or a Twitter account and start posting and tweeting. Hundreds of millions, literally, of individuals and companies do it, right? So how hard can it be?
Like many business undertakings, social marketing is a study in fundamentals. Far too many travel agents jump into the fray without serious consideration of the need to be authentic, intentional and consistent in their social media efforts. Like all other marketing tactics, there are a few basic rules that will assist in making you far more successful and keep you in good standing in the world of social marketing.
Here are a few of the more common mistakes and how to avoid them:
This 365 Marketing and Sales Tip is provided free to the travel agent community by:
No plan – The ease with which social marketing can be initiated leads many travel agents to start without full consideration of the media. Which forum is best for the personality of the agent? What persona will be presented and is it consistent with the company’s mission statement? How often will posts be made? What are the goals of the effort and how will progress be measured?
One-way communication – social marketing is a conversation. That stream of “travel specials” you’ve been broadcasting? Not only is it boring, no one is paying attention. Conversations go in two directions and they are not all about your need to sell things. People don’t engage in social media to see marketing. The business potential of each of the media is in its ability to put you in the company of other people with whom you share common interests. In that context, it will naturally come up that you are a travel consultant. Some of the others in your community will need travel services and you are available. It’s the equivalent of networking in your local, physical community.
No Consistent Image – who are you? Have you established a personality in your media? People do business with people they know and like. Establish an identity, let your authentic personality be your social persona.
Not Consistently Participating – On again, off again is no way to market. Plan to post on a regular schedule to maintain your interest and presence. Participate with others, respond to the discussions and be a real, live, active member of the community.
Mixing business and personal – having a bad day? Going through a divorce? Dog died? Some of these might be appropriate, but think twice about what you post. Once it’s out there, retraction can be pretty tough. Is the post you are about to make consistent with the business persona you are establishing? Is it the kind of conversation you would have with clients?
Ignoring other tactics – Very few agents will build a well-rounded, robust business solely on the back of social media. Those that do will pay attention to the fundamentals of marketing in general, will work from marketing plans and will most likely have a solid background in more traditional marketing. Don’t ignore the opportunities just outside your doorstep.