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Posted In: Agent Perspectives

Facebook boosts

Every business owner knows the importance of social media. You must have a presence, even if it is a small one. Facebook is my main social media avenue, but I also have a Twitter account. Even though I do not use Twitter, I was able to set up my Facebook account to automatically Tweet posts to my Twitter account so it appears active. This has allowed me to have a Twitter presence without ever logging in. Visit http://www.facebook.com/twitter for details on how to do this. Read the rest of this entry »

Did you watch the Super Bowl?  Well, you will no doubt hear all the analysis about the call of the Head Coach for the Seahawks – did he make the right call? Should they have run the ball instead of throwing?  Not making the right call can cost you all that you have worked hard for!

It’s all well and good you think, that’s the Super Bowl but what about my travel business? What Super Bowl plays and travel have to do with each other? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Agent Perspectives

I don’t claim to be a social media guru. In fact, I usually distrust anyone who uses the moniker (or similar).  But, I have learned a few things in my years working various social sites, and I will gladly share a lesson or two.

First – the big mistake businesses make in using social media is to chase the latest gimmick.  Like anything in life, success in social media is the result of consistent, persistent effort.  There are no shortcuts.  What the gurus sell may result in more followers; however, it won’t result in more sales.  And isn’t that the goal? Read the rest of this entry »

One of the “perks” in writing Travel Agent Diaries is the chance to try a new thing under the premise of having something to write about. In theory, at least, it feels right to experiment with some new marketing technique or office product in real time and then write about the experience. We can all learn something together and it might be interesting. Having an article deadline is not much different from having an item on a to-do list. It’s there staring you in the face—a figurative punch to get-‘er-done. This month I was planning to write about my ventures into social media advertising – especially Facebook. Unfortunately, the punch didn’t come soon enough and I didn’t start the process in time to write about it for this column. I’ll save that story for next time, but in the meantime, I will report on a couple of other fun things I’ve done with Facebook this past month. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Point-to-Point

Are you tired of everyone online and off telling you need to learn more about Facebook and how to leverage its marketing power?  Do you feel drained that so many people are raving about business social media and that it is a great way to source new business and then retain your current customers?  Are you also frustrated knowing ‘they’ are right and not knowing where to start?  After some personal experience following, learning, listening, and then listening some more to many experts, I thought I would share some insights into getting started with your own travel business social media strategy, specifically with Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

We have spent the last ten days covering aspects of Facebook marketing for your travel agency and have moved from setting up your account, through appropriate content and organic and paid promotions. Before we leave off the Facebook portion of our series, however, I want to provide a few extra resources you may find helpful as you build out your social media strategy. Right now is a great time to be planning aspects of your 2013 marketing plan. Getting your strategies lined up early is no mistake!

One quick caveat: everything I’m about to write will very likely be dated a month from now. Facebook time is accelerated time, so anticipate having to make some adjustments as you go. Third party articles are out of date quicker than those maintained by Facebook. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Facebook Scheduling and TRO’s Facebook App

Posting and updating your Facebook Page status is an important part of maintaining your Edgerank. Too many businesses post infrequently and their Fans miss out on the Posts. As fewer interactions take place, the EdgeRank slips and even fewer posts are seen. This year, Facebook introduced a feature to assist users with scheduling their posts in advance.

The Facebook Scheduler is one of the “hidden” features of Facebook. Even many experience users do not know it exists. The built-in scheduler is not as full featured as programs like HootSuite, but it will suffice for many. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Facebook Post Promotion – Paying for Engagement

As your Fans Like and Share your posts, your Facebook engagement in increases. What many do not realize is only about 15% of your Fans actually see your posts organically. As a result, your engagement and EdgeRank can remain very low. Pages already having at least 400 likes can use Promoted Posts to increase their engagement.

On the lower right hand corner of your posts is a small link “Promote”. You can promote recent posts directly from your post by clicking on the link and choosing a dollar amount. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Publishers Corner

Facebook and Your Travel Practice

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. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

How can we place a value on a “Like”? My own experience confirms what others say: it is difficult to properly assess the value of a “Like”. The standard measurement of dollars resulting from a customer reaction to an advertisement does not seem to apply. It is almost always impossible to trace back any given sale of our services to an interaction with a Facebook post or ad.

We really should not be surprised, however. Calculating Return on Investment (ROI) is easier with advertising than with marketing, and Facebook is actually a marketing venue, not an advertising venue. The distinction between marketing and advertising is always important to understand, and perhaps more so with digital marketing than with any other media. In setting goals for marketing your travel practice, Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Advertising Your Page on Facebook

Facebook provides your travel practice with a variety of advertising vehicles for promoting your page. Like all advertising, one of the key objectives, and difficulties, is converting your advertising dollars into a measurable return. I have experimented with a number of different Facebook advertising vehicles with great success in terms of generating Likes and Engagement. I am less confident of the success in our monetization of those metrics into actual revenue, however. Nevertheless, I am impressed the the ability on Facebook to target and reach a demographic of people. I suggest some small investments by those of you willing to experiment and would love to hear any feedback on your own experiences. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Building Your Facebook Audience Organically

As a result of our earlier articles this week, you now have a Facebook Page for your travel agency and you are laying down awesome content for your Fans. But people only show up if they know the party is happening! Let’s examine how to grow your Fan base organically, without spending any money. Tomorrow, we will look at managing paid growth and Facebook advertising.

The process of building a base of Fans is two-fold. First, you have to bring them to your Page. You can bring them to your page by organic or paid marketing. You must then induce viewers to “Like” your Page. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Facebook Content – Engaging Your Fans

Marketing on Facebook is a tricky endeavor. Your Fans are not there to enable your business and overt advertising often fails badly. What is very clear is the need for your brand building efforts to be completely and comfortably ensconced in great content that is both educational and entertaining, with an emphasis on entertainment. The content you choose for your Post Updates has to be relevant and it has to possess a high interest factor. You have to hit your Fans where they live with articles that keep them involved with your posts and eager to see the next.

Engaging your clients increases the ever important EdgeRank – the formula by which Facebook determines how many of your Fans continue to see your posts organically.  If a Fan interacts with one of your posts, they are more likely to see tomorrow’s post as well. I have learned the best techniques for engagement are open questions, videos and pictures, great articles, and, best of all – travel quotes.  Let’s look at each of these in turn. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Your First Facebook Post

This week the 365 Guide is working through the most basic steps of setting up a Facebook Page as a part of our Expanding Your Digital Footprint series. Today we will finish building your Facebook page, publish it and make your first post. Log into Facebook and go to your unpublished page. Expand the Admin Panel and click on the “Edit Page” button, choosing the “Update Info” menu item. From there, choose “Basic Information” from the menu on the left.

Username and Address

Our first task will be to register a username for the Facebook Page to build your brand and make it easy to remember. Choose a username similar or identical to your brand, e.g. www.facebook.com/abctravel. You can use only on alphanumeric characters, and you cannot infringe on other’s trademarks. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

I begin our series on Expanding your Digital Footprint with the mechanics of setting up a business page on Facebook.  I should start with a necessary warning. Facebook has a history of altering their instructions and policies without notice.  Thus, if any aspect of the instructions below have changed, a little creative searching with Google  and some trial and error should greatly assist your efforts.

Firstly, understand the difference between a personal profile and a business page.  A “Profile” is a Facebook presence for individuals.  “Pages” are where a business builds its presence.  There are many good reasons not to use a personal profile as a business page. The best reason is to do so violates the Facebook Terms and Conditions and they can shut your profile down without warning! If you have Friends, then you have a personal profile.  If you have a “Like” button on your page, then you have a Business Page and you have Fans, also called Followers.   Read the rest of this entry »

I started my Traveling Kidd Facebook page last year.   Aside from a few posts, I was less than motivated to really put any energy into it.   I found my reluctance ironic primarily because I spend a huge portion of my day on Facebook.  In fact, I spend so much time on it that I am easily distracted from doing important things (like writing Agent diary articles).  Recently during my trip to Las Vegas I made a decision to commit myself to putting forth an all-out effort to get my page in order.  Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: Editorial Musings

Another “aha” moment on Facebook

Facebook has been in the news a lot this past week.  First they went public and made Mark Zuckerberg a cool $19 billion. Then Zuckerberg got married (smart move with his $19B earned before he married). And in much less important news, I had yet another “aha” moment with Facebook.

You have all heard it before—you need to be embracing social media. And for most of us, Facebook is the most important one. With nearly a billion users, it simply cannot be ignored.  If you like it or not, Facebook appears to be here to stay.  Your customers are likely embracing it in some manner. And if that is where they are talking, that is where you need to be to join the conversation. So, what was my “aha” moment? Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Facebook Posts to Avoid!

This week we have reviewed a variety of Facebook posts you can use to engage your readers more fully. Today we want to take a quick look at areas where you might want to tread more carefully. These topics of conversation veer away from your core mission and venture into areas not conducive to engaging your audience. To the contrary, you may offend a good segment of your readership! Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Engaging Facebook Posts: Photographs and Videos

Who can resist Liking a photograph of the Northern Lights? How about a video of a lion attacking a water buffalo? Think back on the Facebook posts that you have clicked on or Liked. How many of them were an irresistible photo or a video you would have otherwise not encountered? Each time you responded to a photograph or a video you were indicating a response similar to the one you want to evoke in your own Fan base. Photographs and videos are two of the best ways to engage your audience. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

Engaging Facebook Posts: Open Questions

Engagement is the art of pulling your Facebook friends and fans into the conversation. When a Fan Likes, Shares or Comments on your Status Updates, your brand receives a higher profile and is exposed to new people. Engagement is the real measure of the success your Facebook Page is at any moment enjoying.

Open questions are one of the best ways to invite engagement. Ask a question not answered by a “yes” or a “no”. Center your questions on travel, but make your question non-threatening and certainly not overtly commercial. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted In: The 365 Guide

5 Engaging Types of Posts for Facebook

Want to build an enthusiastic group of followers on Facebook?  This week we are going to look at five different categories of posts almost certain to  gain followers.  We are also going to give you examples you can use immediately. Your goal is to create “engagement” – likes, comments and shares to increase the number of people exposed to your brand.  With a bit of strategic thinking, you will be adding to your fan base quickly. Read the rest of this entry »