04 Apr Market Your Travel Expertise through Social Media
by Stephen McGillivray
Chief Marketing Officer
Travel Leaders Group
Travel agents must market their services. That’s just a fact of this industry. Luckily, there are many ways of doing so, such as joining a marketing organization like Travel Leaders Network. But you shouldn’t stop there.
Every agent—whether you’re on your own or you belong to an organization or a host agency—should support whatever marketing efforts they’re already doing with social media marketing. Social media marketing is easy, it’s mostly free, and it sends the right messages to the right people.
What do I mean by “the right people?” Well, people prefer to do business with those they already know. Having that established relationship is the cornerstone of loyalty marketing, which works exponentially better than new acquisition marketing.
On social media, you have relationships with the people who follow you. They follow you for many reasons—maybe they’re friends and family, or maybe they just like the pictures you post. Whatever the reason, they recognize your name as someone in their accepted social circle.
So make the most of that relationship and market your value on social media. Your “value” is a combination of two things: mainly, your travel expertise, but also your services and promotions. Make no mistake—marketing your expertise will help you more in the long run that dropping cruise sale after cruise sale in your feed, because expertise is the real reason people are using travel agents today.
How do you show your expertise on social? It depends on the channel. On Facebook, you most likely are following a lot of your clients. Whenever your clients post a picture from a vacation that you planned, respond to it. A simple “Glad you had such a great time” will likely get a response from them like, “Thank you for helping us plan it!” Boom—all their friends now know your name.
On Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, post as many personal travel pics as you can. The more you are in the shot—playing with the elephants in Thailand or riding in the North Star® on a Royal Caribbean ship—the better, because people will see you having the exact same experiences they want to have. Always caption these photos with your personal opinions, talking enthusiastically about the destinations you are in. Sure, you can post a Wave Season sale or special promotion every once in a while, but focus more on your personal experiences.
Twitter is a better place to share travel deals, especially time-sensitives ones. And whenever you see people tweeting about travel, either negatively or positively, reply to them. Twitter is all about the conversation, so it’s a great opportunity to showcase your expertise by explaining to people the value of one hotel over another, or why shoulder season is the best time to visit Paris.