28 MAR, 2013
How Travel Business can Start with 3 Major Social Media Channels to Engage Customers
The travel industry has seen a big shift towards greater use of social media. Almost everybody is going social to drive in more revenue, engage customers effectively and win their loyalty. The early adopters are doing a great job already while the other travel agents and tour operators are slowly catching up. All in all, the writing is pretty much on the wall – You might not really see the point in harnessing social media but you got to be there to make your brand visible and be at the top of your customer’s mind and hope to drive in that extra sale. Unfortunately a lot of travel businesses (big and small) fail to understand how social media can benefit them.
Social Media Benefits for Travel Businesses
I would list these top 3 benefits to entice businesses to use social media:
- Social media can bring your customer service costs down!
- Social media can make your brand more visible on the internet.
- Social media can become an affordable promotional vehicle.
However, before any of the above mentioned benefits trickle in, it is necessary to choose your social media strategy wisely. We cover some basic strategies you could use on the three major social channels today: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Basic Social Media Strategy for Travel Business to Start With 3 Major Channels
Facebook – All about “Likes” and “Shares”
With over 1 billion active users, Facebook is an extremely potent marketing vehicle for your brand. If you haven’t yet jumped on to this channel, do it right now. It could be a great start to create a Facebook account first. Look at how your competitors are managing their Facebook pages then. Take a look at the images they share, the information they post and everything else. Pay special attention to the data that is most liked by travelers on these pages. Once you are done doing that, create your own Facebook page and start posting!
Twitter – The art of 140 characters , re-tweets and mentions !
Imagine Twitter to be a meeting place of like minded people. They all come together, chat in 140 characters with each other, converse in the process and collaborate to do better business. It is a highly effective channel. Create a company ID and sign up with Twitter. The next step is to follow like minded individuals and start talking to them as frequently as possible. Some of the greatest brands built using twitter tweet throughout the day. Don’t be flustered already! Tools like Tweet deck help you schedule your tweets too. You do not have to be by your desk all day that way.
LinkedIn – Network with decision-makers today, professionally.
It is a no brainier today that most of the key decision makers today are present on LinkedIn. Some of the companies with a limited marketing budget highly recommend you to be on LinkedIn. This channel will work best for you if you are in the B2B and corporate travel business. To get started, create a company page. You could then refer to this page here: Ten Ways for small businesses to use LinkedIn
There is no single strategy that works for every one! But the three channels mentioned above are a great start. Once you and your team are confident using these channels, start looking at other social media options too. I listed down some of the guidelines you could follow on any social network:
Social Media Guidelines for Travel Business
- Maintain consistency: Allow a 3 month consistency before you even start to expect tangible results. Brands never get built in a day!
- Raise a Social Media Task force: It would be a great idea to have a dedicated team for maintaining your social media effort. Also make sure that this team is not isolated in your organization. Your presence on social media needs to look integrated.
- Create Content Constantly: Content creation will take up most of your effort on social media. Keep creating meaningful content every day. You can use this across all social media channels then.
- Work Smartly. Get those tools: Don’t get bogged down by the effort required to build a social presence. Work smartly by using tools available today (example: Tweet deck to schedule tweets, Hubspot3 from Hubspot, Klout to measure your online influence and so on).
- A picture speaks 1000 words: Use more images on all posts. Research has proven that social media users react positively more to pictures than text.
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