How to Use Social Media to Grow Your Business
Social Media. It’s a daunting challenge for anyone who wasn’t born with an iPad already glued to their hands. We want to help you to close the gap – social media skills are becoming more and more necessary in the travel industry. For example, travelers are turning to travel Instagram accounts for inspiration, so to stay relevant on that channel you need to tailor your content to the audience. This blog post will help you to successfully manage all of your social media accounts.
First of all, statistics from a Jetsetter.com survey taken by more than 1,400 travelers revealed that 60 percent of travelers share their experiences on social media during their trips. Forty-two percent say they mostly post when something inspires them, so using social media as a travel agent has become important, now more than ever, in order to navigate these new opportunities to influence travel decisions.
Make it Personal
Social media opens up a new avenue of communication between you and your clients and allows you to speak to current and potential clients in a more personal way than any other marketing channel. These platforms allow you to get to know your customers and maintain relationships. To ensure these connections are made, make your social content personal. While posts about vacation options are engaging, it is more important for you to personalize your digital marketing through platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Consumers want to hear more about why agents do what they do. If you’re an Italy specialist, a cruise specialist, or a professional thrill seeker, clients don’t just want you to tell them about what you know and what you sell, you have to tell your story. Clients want to see you talk about why you specialize in those areas, your uniqueness and the true value only you can bring to their vacation planning journey.
Your travel agency’s Facebook page is a a great place to share your own travel adventures with your audience. Clients will likely trust you more when they can see your experience first-hand.
Prove you can be trusted
Using social media is also a great way to show your trustworthiness. Build your page or profile to showcase how you embody a brand that people can connect with. We mentioned earlier that a large segment of the traveler population uses reviews online to make buying decisions. Ask your existing clients if they could write reviews about your service on your public pages to help build up your reputation online. You can even have your clients do a “takeover” where they can post pictures and videos from their perfectly planned vacations (thanks to you) on your business page for new visitors to see. New clients are far more inclined to use your services if they’ve seen some of your work through their peer’s eyes.
Promote Great Deals
Engagement is a metric you can measure – that is usually how many likes, clicks, comments, etc your posts get. A great way to generate that engagement with current and potential clients is to showcase promotions on your page. Social media is a great way to easily connect your clients with last minute deals, car rental bargains, special room rates and seat sales. Most platforms have monetized advertising on their sites, so you can pay for extra exposure if you have extra special experiences to promote. Paid advertising on social media is also a great way to grow brand awareness for your travel agency.
Most importantly, give your clients travel inspiration. Create bucket lists and use images to convey powerful thoughts and use your expertise as a travel agent to help your clients identify their next dream destination. Images and videos are far more engaging than text-only, so be sure to use both to promote you, your business, and everything clients can expect when they work with you. On an amazing FAM trip? Take a video of yourself walking around the property or on a tour and share it with your followers. You want to show what makes you unique and what practical experience you have, so don’t be camera shy!
Social Media Platforms
When it comes to which platforms to use, there are hundreds to pick from, but you only really need a few to make an impact. Take a look at each of these suggested forums and pick the ones that feel right for your target audience.
Facebook is one of the best platforms to start with if you are using social media for the first time and it has a huge, global user base. Facebook can provide you with user-friendly up-to-date insights about your page’s performance, and can be an excellent lead generating platform. The platform also makes it really easy to generate new Fans of your page as you can target existing clients on the platform by entering your existing email list into Facebook and create a Page-promoting ad (for minimal cost). On your Facebook its best to post high quality images of fabulous destinations in order to inspire travel. You can also share advice and tips to establish your brand as a great source of travel knowledge. If you want to learn more about who is following your page, ask questions and offer polls in order to learn more about your community.
Instagram is often referred to as the most important social network for travel agents because of how easily the travel business lends itself to photos. With Instagram you can create a sense of desire and connect with followers emotionally through visual storytelling. In fact, 48% of Instagram users rely on Instagram to find a new travel destination.
When choosing which pictures to post on Instagram, avoid stock photos and blurry images. Authentic photos of you or your clients’ travels are your best choice. Including posts from company events to humanize your brand is also a great addition to your page. By tagging the location of a photo or hashtagging the location, users are more likely to find your page when looking at pictures of a given destination. Having a strong Instagram following is good for business as 80% of Instagram accounts follow a business and 30% of users buy something they first saw on the platform. Plus, over 120 million Instagram users visited a website called, emailed, or direct messaged a business because of advertising they saw on the site.
Twitter has recently emerged as one of the most popular social media platforms. It might not be as popular as Facebook, but it is often used as a more efficient way to distribute short bits of up-to-date information. You can use Twitter to showcase your latest achievements, promote the hottest deals and talk about the successful experiences that you managed to create. If you have an agency website or a blog, you can also share links to blog posts, infographics or white papers to drive users to your pages. Also, in order to keep followers engaged, keep promotional offers or sales to less than 20% (one in five) of your tweets. Twitter is more about conversation than outright selling. And in that conversation, when you attach a relevant photo to your tweet, users on average receive up to 313% more engagement.
Pinterest is another visual platform that can prove very useful. Pinterest is an aspiration planning site. Unlike Instagram, users aren’t sharing pictures of their lives, but rather bookmarking pictures of their dream lives. Whether it’s how they want to dress, what they want to eat, or where they want to travel, users pin items that they want to be able to look back at for inspiration. That’s why Pinterest is a great part of social media marketing for travel agents. If you create pins of possible trips for different locations, prospective clients will be able to pin your pins to any travel aspiration board they like. Pinterest can also be used for you to gain a sense of what kind of vacation your clients are looking to book. By looking at their travel inspiration pages you’ll be able to see more clearly where your clients envision themselves on their vacation and show them how you can bring that vision into fruition.