Written By: Jesse Morris, Owner – We Book Travel, LLC
I would be willing to bet there are a number of you who think social media is a huge time drain. You could be right. If done incorrectly you could spend hours a day on social media and never see one dollar of revenue from it. Social media is an area of my business that’s been on my mind lately. I think it’s really important to have a clear goal in mind for what you want to accomplish with any form of marketing and social media is no different.
The social media platforms I use have to meet a few criteria if I am going to invest time in them. I want my “fans” to connect with my brand. That connection comes with sharing thoughts and ideas that show my expertise as a travel advisor. I want to improve my online reputation via reviews. I want to expand my contact list via social media connections. I want to drive engagement and ensure that my potential clients think of me first.
I had a friend reach out to me recently to thank me for a post I made. The post itself wasn’t anything special but she told me that she had been thinking about taking a cruise and that even though she knew I was a travel advisor; she wouldn’t have thought about me unless she had seen my post. This was a friend who wanted to support me but wouldn’t have thought of me unless I had made a post. It’s not enough for you to be thought of, you have to be thought of before they made their buying decision. Social media keeps you front of mind.
I have also seen success with social media when sharing my own personal upcoming trips. I posted about a really good deal on a cruise that I personally planned on taking. Within a week, I had 15 cabins booked for people who wanted to sail with me. Many of those people told me that if it was a good enough deal that I wanted to go, they wanted to as well. They saw me as an expert and wanted to take advantage of my expertise.
When it comes to social media, it’s important to understand the broad categories and how your business fits within them. It is equally importantto consider your target market and if they utilize the network you plan to invest your time in. Here are a few of the broad strokes of networking:
1. Social Networks – Also considered to be relationship building networks these are sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Each have a different audience and different expectation but overall these social networks help you connect with your fans. It’s also the network that people have the most experience with. I utilize these networks to answer the question “What am I doing now?” and connect with my fans on a social level.
2. Media Sharing Networks – YouTube is my favorite of these, but others include Instagram and Snapchat. These are great for brand awareness but also for lead generation. Consistency is key in these networks as your visibility will drop off if you aren’t posting regularly.
3. Review Networks – Google Reviews, Yelp and Trip Advisor are the most well-known of these networks and add credibility to your business. This is an area that many people start at when looking for someone to do business with. Having positive reviews add social proof that you are someone who your prospects should work with.
4. Blogging and Publishing Networks – Most people have heard of WordPress. There are others but utilizing a blog can be a great way to engage with your audience and generate leads. It is also another way to be seen as an expert in your field.
5. Discussion forums – All of the above networks have discussion thread options but sites like reddit and Quora are specific to discussion. Overall, it’s a great way to do market research but be prepared for brutal honesty when posting there.
I am a firm believer that you cannot be good at everything. My recommendation is to pick the networks that your target market utilizes and be good at those. If you aren’t seeing revenue generation from your chosen network(s) its time to reevaluate and decide if you should change or stop utilizing it. What networks do you use and what successes are you seeing from them? Share with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.