Recently, I was the featured speaker at the ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) Mid America Conference. In my presentation to this group of travel agents, I discussed ways to use digital media to grow their business. This was a really fun program, because of the visual and aspirational nature of the travel industry it is a natural fit for most social media platforms.
I started with the basics: what types of content to share and how often to share on each of the major platforms. From there we went on to talk about advertising and even measuring ROI. It was an information packed session and at the end someone asked me if I could boil it down to a list of seven digital media tips they could use as a starting point.
This is what I came up with:
1. Use your blog as the starting point. Share images, questions and links to blog posts on social media platforms, but always bring the community back to your website where you control the conversation. Better yet, get them to sign up for you email newsletter so you can stay in touch on your schedule, not theirs.
2 Travel is a visual business. Always include a beautiful image in your social shares. Don’t use stock photography. Everyone has seen the stock sunset over the ocean. Make your share special by selecting images of those special little out of the way locations people won’t find in any tour book. When you share something they probably haven’t seen before they are more likely to stop, look and share.
3. More is not better. If you are like me, you probably take tons of pictures every day. While you may love every single one, your social community won’t take the time to look at all of them. On Facebook or Twitter share 1 – 3 photos at a time for maximum engagement. When you share more than that people are more likely to skip the album, thinking it will take too long to look at all of them.
If you really can’t decide, share in small batches several times a day, or save some of the images for follow up blog posts when you return from the trip.
4. Entertain during the 2 pm lull. Interactions on most social media platforms rise mid afternoon as people look for a break in their work routine. This is a great time to post beautiful photos or fun facts about destinations. Simple questions or polls also work well. Make sure the questions can be answered in just a few words because many of your fans will be accessing the social sites from their phones.
5. Invite people to travel with you. When you use Twitter, Instagram or Periscope to share events as they happen, people travel with you vicariously. When you do it in real time, you are likely to get more interaction as other people will share their tips and favorite places.
6. Interaction is key. It is called social media, not broadcast media. If you want people to pay attention to what you share, you need to like, comment and share the content others post as well.
7. Consistency counts. Use productivity tools like Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule content daily even when you are out of the office for a few days. When you return, spend more time sharing and liking the content of others.
Of course social media will only get you so far. At the end of the day your objective is still getting people to come to your website and sign up for your email newsletter. .
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