Many of us remember the ‘good old days’ when you used to sit in your travel agency and wait for walk-ins or for the phone to ring. Wasn’t marketing so much easier back then?
These days you do have to be pro-active, but now the pool of your potential clients has grown exponentially, thanks to (surprise, surprise) the Internet.
But if you aren’t yet a fan of social marketing, how can you get into it relatively painlessly?
And for those of you new to the travel industry, there are a few tricks to keep in mind when it comes to social media.
Networking gurus Gayle Hallgren-Rezac and Judy Thomson of Shepa Learning Company counsel would-be networkers across North America from their base in Vancouver. They’ve got some great messages for anyone who’s still not 100% comfortable with social media.
“Online networking isn’t that different from face-to-face networking,” says Hallgren-Rezac, who has spoken at Vision Travel’s annual Power of Vision conference.
Chances are you already have a Facebook presence and are FB friends with both ‘true’ friends as well as your clients. Why not look at separating your personal and professional lives by opening a WhatsApp account for strictly family news? WhatsApp can also be great fun when you are on the road with a group: you can open an account for your gang to post messages and photos while you are travelling. If you don’t travel a ton, think about also posting info on your hometown or region.
Why not tell destination stories based on what you learned at that supplier presentation you just attended?
Facebook Live is a great way to showcase how you are getting out and about. Posts of local restaurants and attractions with your own experiences of them will go along to building your reputation as a trusted voice: what social media marketing is all about.
Thomson is also a big booster of LinkedIn, which is up to 450 million members worldwide. “You must be on LinkedIn because it shows you are a professional. If you met a financial advisor who asked for your business, wouldn’t you check him or her out on LinkedIn?”
Your page will take only a couple of hours to build thanks to LinkedIn’s fill-in-the-blank forms. Make sure your page is professional looking – a photo of you is a must.
Invite people to join you and join groups, she counsels. Not just travel groups: if you want to build your golf (or wine-tasting, or garden-touring) business, look to join those groups and participate in them with responses to postings and queries. Again, the goal is to build your reputation as a trusted voice in travel. “LinkedIn is definitely a way to raise your profile and can be a revenue builder,” adds Thomson.
And we haven’t even touched on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram! But if you still consider yourself a beginner in social media, Facebook and LinkedIn are amazing ways to build your business (and the price is right!)