How To Avoid The 5 Social Media Traps That Snagged Me | Travel Research Online


How To Avoid The 5 Social Media Traps That Snagged Me

Managing a business is hard. We all know that. And it is frustrating when our efforts to manage the business fall short—as they sometimes do. Hopefully, you can learn from the mistakes I, and others, have made when it comes to social media. When I first entered the industry, all the airlines were still paying uncapped commissions. So, I have had plenty of opportunities to stumble and fall.  Here are my best suggestions to keep you on your feet in the social realm!

1–Define your audience.

Knowing your audience is critical for determining messages, tone, and marketing. If you are using humor to a buttoned-up crowd, you are going to fail. Likewise, if you start tossing out industry jargon and corporate-speak, you are likely to lose them as well.

Look for the audience analysis feature on whatever platforms you use (it’s there, I promise) and dig into your audience and find out such things as age, gender, interests, income, and education. You will be amazed at how much information is there!

2–Make a strategy.

Once you know more about your audience, figure out what you want to do with them. Understand that no matter the strategy, maintaining contact is critical, so you may want to adjust based on the amount of time you can afford.

Marketing professionals suggest there are three basic strategies:

  • Increasing brand awareness (low effort)
  • Increasing users engagement (high effort)
  • Increasing the number of clicks on the site (medium effort)

Again, whatever the strategy, you must maintain contact.


It’s called social media. Be social. Just having a page on Facebook does not cut it. And if you don’t have the time, cut back on a platform or two. It is better to be good on one than to be crappy on all. And social media platforms will come and go—this is not the field of dreams. There is no reason for you to go just because it was built!

You need to leave a favorable impression on your existing clients and potential ones.

Experts have recommended that you do some tasks religiously (2 to 3 times per day) on social media to ensure you are retaining your followers (I am using that term generically) and interacting enough:

  • Facebook (comments, messages, mentions, tags, reviews, and recommendations)
  • Twitter (replies, retweets, mentions, messages)
  • Instagram (comments, mentions, tags, DM)
  • LinkedIn (comments, mentions)
  • Pinterest (comments, messages)
  • Google (reviews, questions)

And while that looks daunting, it can usually be handled inside of 10 or 15 minutes. Block your calendar for 15 minutes when you settle in for the day, and another block just before you check out!

4–Use the DMs.

People are guarded of their privacy so many prefer to communicate privately.  Be sure to check the DMs (Direct Messages, Private Messages, etc.) and reply in kind. It is a private way to begin or nurture a relationship.

And remember, Facebook now displays average response times for pages. So before they even message you, they have an idea of how responsive you really are.  I try to focus on the replies to make sure I don’t fall into that “usually replies in a year or two” trap!

5–Create engagement.

If you are looking to lose fans, post too much irrelevant stuff or post too much promotional stuff. Both are guaranteed to make your fan count drop. Of course, occasional irrelevancy is awesome. And promotional posts are what hopefully keep us in business.

If you ever have done any interviews, the mantra is “ask open-ended questions.” There is nothing worse than an interview filled with “yes,” “no,” and “maybes.”  The same goes for social media.

Ask your audience questions! Who would listen to a cruise podcast from us? What was your worst travel story? Tell us about your most memorable vacation.  All of those will get people talking and sharing. And it will give you some more insight for that promotional piece!

Run a contest or a poll. Need a fun prize, have a fun travel-related refrigerator magnet made and put your number and website on it. I just Googled it and found 1,000 magnets for $100. But ask for the engagement.

As I said at the beginning, I stumbled through my understanding of these five aspects of social media over the past 20 or so years. And believe me I have more to learn. Do you have any tips? Leave a comment!

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