Tammy Levent | April 13, 2016 10:40 AM ET
How to Be More Social on Social Media
Editor's Note: This is the second edition of a new weekly column speaking to travel agents from one of the most respected voices in the travel industry, Tammy Levent. The CEO of Elite Travel brings a trusted, in-the-trenches voice of advice and counsel, having started Elite with no capital and no connections and building the agency into one of the most formidable in the industry, expanding and succeeding in sectors across the travel spectrum.
Thanks for all the great feedback to the first column. This week's question tackles an issue that is at the core of growing your travel agent business in today's world.
Q: I can’t figure out all of this social media stuff. There’s Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram – Oh My! -- but I have no idea how to utilize all of this in my business. Where do I start?
A: Social media requires a 24-hour commitment, seven days a week, so fill up your biggest coffee mug, have a seat and be prepared never to move again.
Of course social media requires some investment of time to be successful at it, but if done correctly it can help to promote your business, find you new clients, and establish you as an expert in your field. But, no, it doesn’t require an all-day commitment. However, you should be committed to spending at least a little time on it every day.
Pick two: There are way too many social media sites to choose from, so you need to find what works for you without spreading yourself too thin. Some agents like the easy-to-use 140-character conversations on Twitter, while others only prefer to post travel photos on Instagram. Some agents choose both. The best way to figure that out is to start with one and become proficient at it and build up a following before moving on to the next. It’s best to have a strong following on one or two sites then have only a few followers on five sites.
Provide content: Social media is more about sharing content and less about promoting advertisements. On a blog, you can provide tips and travel updates. On Facebook, you can post articles that you or someone in your agency has written, or how-to tips from popular travel magazines.
On Twitter, you can tweet about a trip you are offering or about a great new travel product. On Instagram, you can post a photo from your client’s newest resort. This content encourages viewers to check out more about you on your website and will increase the amount of visitors on your site.
Engage: Talk to your followers. Engage in non-controversial, non-confrontational conversation. Let them get to know you. This familiarity often leads to new clients.
Add visuals: Post photos on Twitter or Instagram of great destinations to visit. Infographs are also very popular.
Join groups: The most popular part of Facebook right now is groups. Join travel agent groups, travel blogger groups and nomad groups. Find out who is going where. In these groups, you can share valuable information and learn from others.
Be consistent: To grow your social media presence, you should post regularly – at least several times a week. If you want to post daily, limit your time to no more than an hour a day. Share an update or publish posts several times a week. Reach out to new potential followers every day.
Most importantly, evaluate your progress. If you’re not growing a following or seeing any return on your time from a particular platform, move on to another. Eventually you’ll find what is best for you and your business. However, if you’re too busy or are looking for someone to take care of this for you, email me and I will provide an estimate of how much it costs to handle your social media campaign.
Tammy Levent is the founder of TASK, the Travel Agent Success Kit. Learn more at travelagentsuccesskit.com. Want your question answered in a future "Agent to Agent" column? Email your question to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, or talk to Tammy on Twitter @tammylevent.
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