10 Social Media tips for the Travel Industry

We’ve now posted a whole host of articles attempting to make social media sound like an easier and more attractive option.  Here’s another one tailored specifically to the travel industry from the Web In Travel conference site.  Morris Sim, CEO of Circos Brand Karma, shares 10 ideas from his session at WIT on “Taming The Social Media Beast”. Click here to read it in context, or scroll down.

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  1. Understand your true differentiators.  Sometimes what you’ve identified as differentiators don’t mirror what customers think.  It’s important to monitor what is being said about you and reconcile your customers’ opinions with your story so that the brand message is consistent and credible.
  2. Maintain operational excellence around your differentiators.  Your brand differentiators can’t be temporary.  Unlike ads, social media has permanence.  Since what’s expressed about your brand is permanently searchable, changing the differentiators constantly will confuse your audience.
  3. Set up your social network hub where your customers are.  We recommend minimally a presence on Facebook because it is the largest social network with over 300M users and is one of the top-trafficked site in many countries.  The volume and the intent (sharing, lifestyle) make it suitable for just about any consumer brand.
  4. Use content about your differentiators as “landing lights.” Guide interested consumers to your hub with great content.  You want consumers (current and future customers) to be attracted to and stay loyal to your brand because of your differentiators.  If the content is timely, all the better.  Of course, point #2 above is of the utmost importance.
  5. Make fans not friends.  Fans on Facebook and Followers on Twitter give users the power to opt-in to being associated with you, which is exactly what you want.  It’s low risk for your fans, and you can stay focused on sharing the great things about your brand.
  6. Engage, not advertise.  The impression ads and click-through ads of the portal/search paradigms don’t work well in this channel.  Think of your fans as people who are already or will eventually be in your CRM — and use your hub to please them digitally.  Share things that would interest them, do things that would please them, reward their loyalty, and personalize whenever possible.
  7. Link to allies.  Chances are, brands in other parts of the world tout the same differentiators.  Why not ally with them by cross-linking your hubs?  The narrower your niche, probably the easier it will be to find non-competitive allies that can cross-authenticate what your brand stands for.
  8. Partner with brands that complete you.  Travel is a holistic experience involving many components.  In your hub, introduce the partners that best complete the guest experience.  Depending on the business your brand is in, points of interest, transportation options, accommodation choices, local eateries, and ticketing agencies are all possible partners to complete the experience your brand offers.
  9. Respond immediately, and with empathy, to negative posts.  Brands, like people, show their true colors when they’re under attack, so complaints, though unpleasant, can be opportunities for you to shine.  Unless it’s a systemic problem, other fans will likely ignore the complaint, rise to defend you, or understand that the issue is between the complaining fan and you.  In all cases, they will appreciate that you did something, even if all you do is to request to address the issue offline with the complaining fan.  Doing nothing makes observing fans wonder what happened.
  10. Develop a social media policy for your employees.  How many of the 300M Facebook users also work for you?  Chances are, quite a few.  Employees can be your biggest promoters… or unintentional detractors.  As you venture into social media, make sure that your employees are on the same page as you.

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What do you think? Could these tips guide you through the murky waters of social media? Tell us here!

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