With almost 2.5 billion active users, it goes without saying that Facebook is an enormous market.
It offers businesses almost endless opportunities to find their audience and advertise to it.
Marketing on Facebook is also very accessible and cost-effective: anyone can set up an account and start promoting their business.
And companies know it.
That’s why 93.7% of them use Facebook for promotion, according to a recent survey by Buffer.
But how do you start advertising?
This guide shows you how to set everything up for your first campaign step-by-step: from getting your Business Manager account to creating your Facebook Ads Account.
What is Facebook Business Manager?
Facebook Business Manager is a powerful tool that helps you manage all your pages in one place.
It allows you to create and publish ads, see reports and analytics, manage and share your audiences, add and remove ad accounts and team members.
It also rids you of the fuss of managing a page through a personal account: anyone you work with can log into Business Manager without the need of juggling e-mail addresses, passwords and permissions.
Business Manager also comes with Facebook Ads Manager: a tool that unlocks all the possibilities of Facebook advertising.
This is the place where you can precisely target your customers, create audiences and different types of campaigns and ads, manage your budgets and deliveries and much more. Clicking “boost” on your page just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Setting up Facebook Business Manager
First of all, you will need to create your Business Manager account. Here’s how you do it:
Go to facebook.com and click Create Account in the top right corner.
Fill in the information required: yours and the name of your business and the e-mail you intend to use for Business Manager. Note that this information, not your personal profile, is visible to other people that have access to your Business Manager.
That’s it! You’ve created your Business Manager account and now you can start adding your pages, people, assets and setting up ad accounts.
Adding and managing your assets is simple: click on Business Settings in the top right.
You will see a drop-down menu: in the “Users” tab you can assign roles to your team members.
There are different permissions for each role. Take your time and learn what specific roles do. To assign someone to a role, you just need to enter their work e-mail address and choose what you’d like them to do.
The “Accounts” tab allows you to add, create or request access to pages, connect Instagram accounts and apps, as well as create Business Asset Groups and set up ad accounts.
In “Data Sources” you can create tracking pixels, offline events, conversion events and more assets that help you register and keep an eye on website purchases, adds to cart, return on ad spend and other important metrics regarding your customer’s conversion behaviour.
If you’re aiming to sell your product, and not just boost followers and engagement, these are vital in understanding how much money your ads are actually making. Plus, they allow you to retarget your ads. Make sure to familiarise yourself with these assets.
You can also view your payments, customise your notifications and see and edit your business info in the Business Settings menu.
Adding a Facebook Ad account for your business
Before you can kick off your first campaign, you need to set up an ad account. It holds information about your time zone, preferred currency and payment method, typically a credit card that Facebook will use to charge you for the ads you run.
Setting up an ad account is fairly straightforward. You can do it right in the Business Manager. Here’s how.
Go to Business Settings/Accounts/Ad Accounts. This page displays existing ad accounts connected to your Business Manager. To add a new account, simply click the blue “+Add” button.
Here, you can choose between three options. You might add an existing ad account to your Business Manager and manage it from there. In order to do this, you need to have admin permissions for both the ad and Business Manager Accounts. Once you tie the two accounts you can’t reverse the action.
Second option allows you to ask to use someone else’s ad account. The admin of that account can provide you access and choose the permission levels you’re granted.
These two options require you to enter the ID of the account you want to add or request access to. Account ID is a unique six-digit number assigned to each account.
You can see this number in the Ads Manager. The drop-down menu shows all of the accounts you can access, along with their IDs. In order to request access, you’ll need someone to share their account ID with you.
Lastly, you can choose to create an account from scratch. If you’re just starting out, this is the option you’ll most likely choose. Let’s see what goes into creating a new ad account.
Creating an Ad Account
In order to create a new ad account for your business, Facebook will ask you to provide information we mentioned before. When you click “create a new ad account” you’ll see a window looking like this:
Choose the name for your account, as well as the time zone and currency. When you start advertising, Facebook will use the time zone and currency you chose to show you information about your campaigns.
It’s also important that your chosen currency matches the one you’ll use to pay for your ads.
Finally, you need to provide a payment method. You can connect a credit card, a PayPal account or use a coupon code.
Adding a credit card requires you to enter your credit card number, expiration date and security code. Note that EU citizens need to provide their VAT number.
Don’t worry, this information is scrambled and Facebook guarantees no misuse by them or third-parties.
Once you’re done, hit continue and you have your ad account! Now you’re ready to start running campaigns.
Now that you know how to set up an ad account for your business, check out some closing tips before you get started.
Businesses new to Facebook advertising are limited to one ad account until Facebook bills them first time. After that, the number rises to 5.
We recommend to make use of this: create a separate ad account for each card you intend to use. For example, you can use one account to focus on conversions and promoting your online store, and another to boost your social media pages. This helps you never lose sight of what you’re billed for and when.
Another tip is adding a secondary payment method to your ad accounts. This way, your campaigns won’t be paused if Facebook is unable to bill your primary card. You’ll just get billed from your secondary card and your ads will keep going.
Also, keep in mind that you can always change payment settings in Business Settings/Payments. Here you can add and remove payment methods, set a spending limit for your account, manage your billing thresholds and more.
Social media marketing is a very powerful tool when leveraged correctly.
Social interaction is growing exponentially, which is evident in the fact that nearly everyone has an account on a social networking platform.
Why Use Facebook Marketing?
It’s no longer a secret how Facebook is crucial in online marketing.
Facebook is an excellent avenue for businesses and serves as a strong foundation for business , capable of forging personal relationships with a network, as well as turning potential into paying customers.
It’s a quick and easy way to generate a huge amount of traffic for business owners and to create stellar growth for your business.
With over two billion users globally on Facebook, Facebook marketing is a popular way to reach a broad target audience.
However, there is so much more to Facebook marketing than just setting up your profile.
Social marketing is different from any other type of marketing, therefore it is vital to learn how to use Facebook effectively to promote your business.
Otherwise, it will cost you money, time and effort…for little reward!
However, all you need is creativity, technique and a friendly relationship with your customers.
Keeping your fans involved is the ultimate aim.
After that, sit back and let Facebook bring the business to you.
The platform has a high number of users who are (almost) always on the website, spending much of their time checking out profiles and pages.
Users access Facebook an average of eight times per day! *
Therefore, your Facebook business page becomes your showroom.
The page can also become the focal point of interaction between you and your customers.
People can easily post their concerns on the page, and you can quickly respond.
Through this immediate interaction, you can deliver excellent customer service without exerting much time and effort.
There are lots of reasons that make Facebook marketing ideal for businesses.
Facebook gives you the information on the number of people your page (and your posts) has reached.
Through this, you have statistics to help you assess the progress of your Facebook marketing campaign.
It also breaks down the number of likes into different categories such as gender and age.
As such, you can easily gauge if you are effectively reaching out to your primary target audience.
Easy to Manage
Facebook provides features that help you manage your page (s).
You can easily switch from your personal account to your business page.
This lets you manage your personal and professional pages simultaneously, using one login.
You can also build your audience by inviting your friends to like your page.
This helps you easily promote your page, which, in turn, is promoting your business.
In this article, we are going to discuss five Facebook marketing tips to help you find your way to success on Facebook!
Whether you are just starting out or an established Facebook marketeer, these fundamental and proven Facebook marketing tips, updated to match the latest Facebook features should help!
Facebook Marketing – Step-By-Step Guide
Step 1: Build a professional profile
Start establishing your identity by creating a Facebook profile for yourself and your business.
Having a Facebook profile as your way of positioning business will take you a long way in establishing relationship with users.
Facebook business pages are typically designed for brands, products, services, celebrities, musicians and businesses.
The pages enable organizations, public figures and other entities to generate a public presence on Facebook.
You can encourage users to become fans (or followers) of your business page by sharing information with them, including photos and videos.
If you are a brick and mortar business or if you have an office, give your complete address, along with the full contact number and everything they need to know to validate your identity.
Step 2: Quality Content Updates
People are looking for information.
Information can be anything from a good informative article, infographics, images with quotes, or questions to generate interaction.
Give people what they want…what they enjoy…
Equally, be personable when needed.
By actively engaging with your audience on your Facebook business page you strengthen your online reputation.
The best marketers know that quality and trust are the most important foundation when it comes to any social media marketing technique, and all the other things will simply follow.
Today, we live in a world of interactions, where communication is vital.
Facebook is your opportunity to get in front of your target audience with your unique message.
It’s all about attracting people to you and your content. It’s about sharing valuable information to your audience.
if you are helpful to them, they will talk about you and your brand and this spreads your reputation.
It builds your brand, your reputation.
Step 3: Facebook Ads
Facebook ads are taking the world of advertising by storm.
As we’ve discussed, social media has completely revolutionised the way people look at social networking.
Facebook ads are visual and allow you to prospect for new customer (as opposed to Google where you’re relying on the user searching for a relevant keyword).
Travel ads on Facebook look beautiful…
So, are Facebook ads worth exploring?
One of the key advantages of Facebook is strength in numbers!
One of the things that Facebook has going for it is the sheer number of its users.
As of today there are 2+ billion members around the world.
22% of the world’s total population uses Facebook *.
7. 400 new users sign up for Facebook every minute *.
So, if you’re looking to reach as many people as possible, Facebook is the best platform you could ask for.
In fact, a lot of people are joking about how powerful Facebook would be as a country!
Step 4: Use Facebook frequently
You cannot implement these Facebook marketing tips well if you’re not regularly sharing content on Facebook.
If Facebook is one of your chosen digital strategies, then use it every day.
View it as a place you go to. If you go there often, people there get to know you, and feel more comfortable and familiar with you.
This can only be good for your personal brand and digital marketing efforts.
Facebook can be a very useful marketing tool, but not all Internet Marketers see success from their use of Facebook.
Success is, of course, not only measured by website sales conversions, but also by the amount of interest, interaction, and excitement generated by your Facebook efforts.
Facebook is a bustling and active community.
There is always something happening in your newsfeed.
And if you don’t actively participate, you will be left behind.
Remember that fan engagement doesn’t end with regular post updates.
If you want to achieve maximum results, you must exert your Facebook marketing efforts.
Instead of staying within your page, get out there and start connecting with other fan pages.
This way, you can capitalise on their existing fan base and use it to your advantage.
Step 5: Create a Contest
A contest, whether weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, can go a long way in keeping people engaged with your Facebook page.
Offer a prize associated with your business and make it fun (where you can).
You can run a competition in which participants solve a problem, come up with a creative solution or find clues on your business page that help them win.
It may be trivia based or involve predicting some specific outcome.
Facebook has various guidelines, rules and restrictions concerning contests, such as a business cannot make part of the requirement of a contest that entrants “Like” your page.
This used to be a no-brainer for FB marketeers, using programs such as Shortstack.
A well-run contest presented via your Facebook page can help to ensure loyalty, entice new fans to join and create a solid base that you can continue to cultivate.
Facebook is an excellent tool to use for marketing.
By harnessing its immense reach can prove to be very advantageous for people starting out in the online marketing industry or even seasoned professionals.
It really is the place to be right now!
If you want to improve and excel in your Facebook marketing, then start following similar businesses in your specific niche.
Watch what they do, take inspiration…
Then do it better!
Facebook is undoubtedly the most important social networking site on the internet.
Making proper use of your knowledge of Facebook marketing information plays a significant role in today’s business marketing.
Does Facebook marketing work? Just like any other opportunity, it works if YOU work it.
Use the five tips above as a checklist for your Facebook marketing, or learn more about Facebook Ads support.
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With the rise of online booking and comparison sites, it had started to look like travel agents and tour operators might become totally redundant.
But this trend is slowing down and even reversing.
Customers have realised the value of travel businesses is in the guidance they offer, value for money through better supplier rates and better customer service.
The opportunity for growing your brand and selling to your customers is out there, but you need your name to be known in order to have a strong online presence.
Alongside SEO and paid adverts, the best way to do this is using interactive social media accounts.
The best part is that only around 20% of travel agents view social media as an essential channel to their business – so the window is open for you to lead the way and beat your competitors to the punch.
Are you one of those 20% that are hoping social media is just a fad or passing trend? Bad news.
There’s no sign of it slowing down and virtually all of your customers will be on one social platform or another.
There are 2.56 billion global mobile social media users, with 1 million new active mobile social users added every day in the first half of 2018.
Businesses can now engage, accurately measure and create two-way dialogues online.
Digital media isn’t new anymore, but its reach and potential continues to evolve rapidly and integrating social into your core business strategy will transform your digital efforts from an expense to an investment.
Why is Social Media Important?
First and foremost, it allows you to communicate with your customers in a different format than email marketing or websites. Because they can interact through sharing, liking or commenting, you can build and strengthen relationships.
It also allows you to establish yourself as a thought leader by publishing content, getting involved in discussions, commenting on news stories or trends and responding to customer queries.
This raises the brand profile of your agency or tour operator and brings in leads as people become aware of your company and its offerings, and grow to like you through interactions.
Social media is just one strategy that should be part of a wider marketing arsenal. It can be used alongside and interlinked with email campaigns, website and content creation, SEO and trade shows or face-to-face meetings.
In fact, integrating it within a multi-channel marketing strategy will allow it come into its own. Within your social media strategy you must also consider which platforms are the best fit for you and your services and whether they are well suited to your audience.
What Platforms Should You Use?
Each platform has its own community culture and posting protocols. Some favour images and video, others prefer long-form articles.
Some target Millenials with a short-attention span whilst they’re on the move, and others can engage older generations or those who may be browsing at work. Each platform has word, image size and video specifications and their algorithms favour some post types over others – so take this into account in your planning.
This is probably the key platform to focus on if you are just starting out and have limited time and resources.
On Facebook you can secure fans, promote content, handle customer enquiries, advertise and interlink multiple social accounts once you’ve got them up and running.
It has the widest appeal in terms of age and affluence of user and allows you to post text, images, links and videos.
Facebook Ads allow you to target users based on their interest and behaviour. An effective combination. Also, you can upload your customer email database to target those people on Facebook with specific offers.
Enviable images of incredible and eye-catching destinations to inspire users to travel.
Share advice and top tips, either within the post by linking to an article you’ve recently written. This should be accompanied by an image or video to draw in attention.
Create a poll to engage users and find out more about your target community, both in terms of their demographics and their wants/needs.
Use Facebook ads to market your services, upcoming or current sales and boost brand awareness. Facebook harvests all sorts of data about its users, so you can really drill down into particular categories or niche audiences by age, gender, location, interests and topics they talk about with friends.
Twitter is a lightning-speed social channel and really needs quantity as much as (if not more than) quality.
Whilst it’s great for getting up-to-the-second news and spotting trends, less than 25% of Twitter users are active, and you will have only a split second on the homepage of your followers.
However, with some good content and targeted ads, you can really make an impact and have a reach of tens of thousands off the back of a single message of 140 characters or less. Short and punchy with a hint of humour will work best.
Likes and shares propagate your post far beyond your network of direct followers.
Links to blog posts, infograhics or white papers to establish yourself as a knowledge source and get people to click through onto your page and then your website.
Promotional offers and sales updates with bright and bold images to cut through the Twitter ‘noise’. However these should be less than 20% of your tweets, with the rest focussing on conversation and interaction (rather than hard selling).
Images of holiday destinations or fun activities. Adding visuals boosts engagement by up to 313%.
Hashtags, hashtags and more hashtags. Including a few pertinent hashtags on each tweet make it 33% more likely to be retweeted.
Photo-sharing app Instagram is the prime platform for engaging time-short Millenials with an epic narrative. Stunning photos of far-flung destinations or thrilling videos of various activities can get followers dreaming about destinations they hadn’t previously considered and inspire wanderlust.
48% of Instagram users rely on Instagram to find a new travel destination and will check locations and hotels to see what they’re signing up for.
A study by Schofields Insurance revealed that almost 40% of Millenials will choose their vacation based on how Instagrammable the destination is.
High-quality and original images. Do not use stock photos but reposting followers’ holiday snaps and tagging them is a great method of engagement.
Images and clips from your staff’s own travels to highlight your brands investment in and passion for travel. Not only will it show that you love travelling as much as your followers, it demonstrates that you will be knowledgeable about those areas.
Quality but short videos. People scrolling through Instagram won’t stick around to watch lengthy videos, and will scroll straight past if it doesn’t buffer immediately.
Hashtags within image and video descriptions, and adding locations on posts. For the same reason as Twitter, it allows users to search by themes, topics and destinations and will extend your reach.
Pinterest is another visual platform that is well-suited to travel agents.
As the name suggests, it is a digital pin up board where you can post hundreds of images or various destinations, infographics, stills from videos, maps and so much more content that will appeal to your followers.
It can also be linked to your Facebook and Twitter to increase share-ability.
What sets Pinterest apart is that it is an aspirational planning site. Users don’t share their own pictures, they bookmark ones that help them to map out potential trips, activities, meals and even holiday outfits.
Blog posts or articles about great two-week getaways or retreats where you can relax and unwind.
Articles about the benefits of taking a trip and impacts on productivity.
Enticing images that might encourage those scrolling on a break at work to take action and book a trip or weekend away.
A thought leadership piece commenting on marketing trends or looking forward to trendy destinations over the next six to twelve months.
Other platforms that you could look at, depending on your resources, are YouTube and Snapchat, although these are harder to project and monitor the effects of.
How Should You Be Using Social Media?
As a travel agent the social media possibilities are endless.
The main goal is to create an open conversation with your customers, involving them wherever possible, as well as becoming a part of of industry-wide conversations and jumping on trends.
Below are some of the key things you should be using your social media channels for.
Tracking what others are saying about you
Customers and suppliers that mention your brand or services are pretty much creating free PR for you – engage and involve them, and then re-share their posts.
Promoting sales, deals and upcoming events
Just started a 24-hour fare frenzy? Going to a trade show in the city where customers can come and have a chat? Tell your community of followers.
This can be in a text-based post, a photo on Instagram or a banner on your Facebook page.
Sharing your content
As soon as you write a blog post or article – put it on out on every social media channel you have.
Adjust the wording and change up accompanying banner images,but spread it far and wide.
Sharing others’ content
Just be clever with whose content you share. Avoid promoting articles or blogs from your competitors, as you’ll drive traffic back to their site.
Focus on news articles and trend pieces, to show that you’re up to date with what’s happening in the market, as well as top tips for travellers, plenty of photos/images, and generally anything that might inspire your consumer to book a holiday or activity.
And don’t forget that social is a two-way street with your customers. Almost 90% of travellers start talking about their trip on social media on the day they return (or before!) so share their stories and amplify your own messages at the same time.
Top Tips For Success On Social Media
With such a busy work day and 100 tasks already on your list, this might not be want you wanted to hear, but you’ll need to post multiple times a day to try and cut through the noise.
On Twitter alone there are 350,000 posts per minute. As a result, you’ll need as many posts as you can put together on this platform – whether that’s sharing original content, doing a poll or contest, or retweeting others.
On Facebook and Instagram you can afford to be a bit more selective with several posts per week.
The aim of the game is to keep your brand in customers’ minds as they think about booking their next trip. In peak booking times or seasons, ramp up your efforts to remain a front-runner.
Although social media may be time-consuming, it doesn’t need to be an all-consuming second job. Once a week, pull together some content, news articles and images and schedule them to go out automatically.
There are plenty of free platforms to do this like Hootsuite and TweetDeck so just have a look and see what works for you.
Know Your Audience
If you’re trying to reach audiences across multiple geographies – you’ll need to post accordingly.
According to Hubspot, the best time to post on Facebook is 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday or 12:00–1:00 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
If you want to engage US or Asian customers, you’ll need posts throughout the day and night.
People often go on social on their way to and from school or work but for platforms like LinkedIn, you’ll want to target professionals on their lunchbreak or in a mid-afternoon lull.
Focus more time on the platforms where your target audience are. If your clients are typically 50 and over, Instagram isn’t the place for you.
If you’re pushing gap year trips, LinkedIn won’t bring much in the way of leads.
A picture really is worth a thousand words, and a video even more.
We mentioned it before, but the point can’t be emphasised enough. Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.
Although video creation might sound like hard work, travel lends itself to visuals and these can be easily recorded and edited into short clips.
If you’re really feeling daring, try a Facebook or Instagram live from your next trade show, or interview an employee about top travel tips.
Tone Of Voice And Sense Of Personality
One reason that people will come to a travel agent or tour operator rather than booking trips themselves is the emotional connection, and expert opinions on offer.
This needs to be reflected on your social channels – regardless of which platforms you opt for.
Convey a real passion and enthusiasm for travel and be relatable.
Showing your human side and your voice makes it easier for consumers to connect with you.
Twitter and Instagram are great platforms to be humorous and playful and because you’re posting regularly, you can try out different things and see what works with your target audience.
Social media can be your best friend or your greatest enemy.
People are increasingly using social platforms in place of review websites or customer service phone lines. If a customer is praising you, your tours or your general service, respond to them and share their feedback.
71% of consumers who have had a good social media service experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others.
That is word-of-mouth marketing at it’s absolute finest.
If a customer complains or comes to you with a query or problem, react quickly and politely and send them a private message to follow up over the phone. 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour.
Never turn social media into a forum for arguments or negative messages about other agencies and operators. As well as responding quickly to your customers, you need to react quickly to trends – usually in the form of hashtags.
As you find your feet and get the basics under wraps, expand into multiple social platforms and link them together.
Share content across them all, try out different post types and see what sticks.
Re-purposing the same content allows you to extend your reach to a wide range of customers and drive people towards your website or into your store.
Combining social media with an email campaign or as a follow up to face-to-face meeting helps build a longer lasting relationship with prospects and customers.
Win Business On Social Media
The digital area has created a nation of tech-savvy travellers who are used to a self-serve online world, full of comparison sites and price watch emails.
But play to your strengths with the below at-a-glance social media tips for travel agents and tour operators.
Social media marketing is a relatively inexpensive and effortless way to build brand recognition, disseminate content, win new clientele and retain existing customers.
Build up their bucket list
Show them new places and things that they didn’t even know existed until you put it on their radar, then follow this up with tips and trends posts to really get them engaged.
Keep them informed
Of the latest trends, of upcoming sales, of seasonal travel opportunities, of regional disasters or emergencies, and all the rest.
Be the one they trust
Customers will come to you rather than booking a trip through a faceless online company as there is less risk. Encourage them to ask questions and check others’ reviews on your Facebook page.
A positive online reputation is invaluable.
Offer them deals
A well-time social advert with the opportunity for a cut-price trip or activity for someone who is bored at work or stuck on a train in the rain will likely lead to a sale, or at the very least a conversation with your team.
And there you have it, the latest trends in social media and some top tips on how you can use them your advantage and harness the power of digital.
Social media marketing is a relatively inexpensive and effortless way to build brand recognition, disseminate content, win new clientele and retain existing customers.
Still got questions? Get in touch and we’ll help you decide the best strategy for your business.
Social Media has fundamentally changed the tourism industry and has affected all aspects of the tourism and hospitality sector ranging from travel research, to travel booking, and online reviews.
Some companies have taken advantage of this growing marketing medium, whereas those don’t have an effective social media strategy for their business, risk experiencing a major disadvantage compared with key competitors.
In this article, we will shed some light on how social media has transformed tourism marketing, and how you can ensure that your brand isn’t left behind.
The way you research your next holiday has undergone significant changes in the digital age.
Sites such as TripAdvisor along with social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter, are now the most popular mediums for travel-related research.
TripAdvisor revolutionised online travel research and has been the driving force behind the rise of online travel reviews which allow users to research a destination, hotel, resorts, and other travel related services before they book.
The value associated with immediate and trustworthy opinion from other customers has meant that it has become common, especially amongst the younger generations, to conduct all or most travel research online.
Most people now use social media and travel sites for conducting some part of their research.
People of all ages now use the web and are now far more comfortable completing high-value purchases online, including booking a holiday.
Statistics suggest that a whopping 87% of millennials use social media for travel research and use the information gathered through social media for creating their travel plans.
Social Media sites allow prospective travellers to check other people’s check-ins, photos and feedback; with almost 20% use Pinterest and Twitter for travel inspiration.
Social media has also made travel more spontaneous due to ongoing exposure to posts about a travel destination.
Review sites such as Feefo (travel focused) and Trustpilot, play an essential role in travel research nowadays.
Ratings and reviews often play an crucial role in any travel decision as people are more willing to trust a brand if it is rated highly by others, especially where the review is trustworthy (hosted on a 3rd party review site, not a company-owned reviews platform).
These statistics show the importance of social media and review platforms to travel business as no serious travel brand can survive in today’s digital world without a social media presence.
Customer service is another arena where travel brands are feeling the impact of social media.
Many travel brands now have a social media presence, which is often leveraged to deliver customer support.
This is especially important in the light of the fact that a vast majority of potential travellers use social media sites for conducting preliminary research.
A full 53% of users expect a brand to respond to their tweet within an hour, and this figure rises to 72% if the tweet is a complaint.
These figures may sound unbelievable but are a reality a produce of the change in customer behaviour with the rise of the internet
In today’s connected world, consumers want immediate answers to their queries and complaints.
Considering rising customer expectations, a travel brand overlooks social media at their peril.
People have long shared photos of their holidays with friends and family.
Unfortunately for us all, this often entailed an hour or so at the next family get-together, looking at Uncle Andrew’s slides of their latest yacht charter holiday.
Social media has added a digital dimension to this phenomenon.
Now it’s possible to share the photos with all of their friends, family members, relatives, and colleagues with a single click.
And people can CHOOSE whether to look at them or not.
Uncle Andrew gets his likes…and everyone else can get on with their days!
There is a recent phenomenon known as the Instagram effect, which has an out-sized impact on travel plans of millennials as several studies have shown how important the medium is in making travel decisions.
According to a recent study, 30% to 40% of travellers under the age of 30, make their travel plans based on how Instagram-able the potential destination is.
Potential customers discover destinations and make their travel plans based on the fact if they can later share their travel pictures, videos, and other graphic content on their Instagram profiles or other social media networks.
Social media also remains one of the primary mediums of destination discovery as has been proven time and again.
Travel is one of the many industries affected by the rise of user-generated content or UGC, and it has often been singled out as a deciding factor behind any travel decision by consumers.
Almost 97% of millennials share the photos and videos of their holidays online.
Shared photos are the primary example of user-generated content, which often is the most important source of free promotion for travel-based businesses.
Younger audiences pay special attention to user-generated content as shown by this info-graphic.
According to various sources, almost 84% of millennials cited user generated content as having more influence than paid ads on their travel decisions.
It’s clear that modern-day consumers trust word of mouth and user-generated content than paid ads when it comes to buying anything online.
It just happens to be the case that social media is the primary channel used for disseminating user-generated content.
Re-shaping Loyalty programs
Loyalty Programs have always played an essential role in the tourism industry and have been used by businesses ranging from hotels to airlines to retain customers as retaining old customers is often much easier than finding new ones.
Various studies and surveys have shown the importance of trust signals, and how travellers trust user-reviews and ratings far more than the promotional and marketing material commissioned by a travel brand.
Social media is an excellent medium for user feedback.
Brands are realising the power of a single viral post or tweet, equally the negative effects of even 1 bad review if shared with enough number of users.
Travel businesses who use social media well, have generated positive mentions of their business and have designed innovative social media contests where users are awarded loyalty points for posting an update about a travel brand.
Users are only happy to share their reviews with their friends and family on social media platform as they often get reward points and gifts in return, creating a win-win situation for both the brand and the customer.
You may have yourself participated in such social media loyalty contests run by travel brands unknowingly where you may have got loyalty points in return for a like, post or a tweet.
One other often overlooked area, where social media has made its impact felt, is transparency.
Now the days of poor customer service and poor-quality service are certainly behind us.
With social media and sites like TripAdvisor, Booking.com etc. it’s become effortless to review a travel-based business, and the sites mentioned above contain millions of reviews of hotels, resorts, and other travel businesses.
These sites are often the first step in any travel plan as most users nowadays research beforehand before booking a holiday and they pay close attention to the online reviews and ratings left by previous buyers.
This is called social proof.
This has initiated a clean-up of the whole travel industry as brands have now become aware that poor quality service will not only affect their current customers but may also hinder their future growth.
It’s clear that social media has truly transformed the travel industry.
Travel businesses can no longer avoid having a social media strategy. Younger generations are hooked to social media, and it plays a significant role in their travel plans.
It’s no longer enough to shout loudest about what makes you better than the rest. Trust is built from relationships and understanding your customers.
Marketers must work to communicate a level of empathy with customers through social media, as well as the ensuring that the business’ social profile portrays a positive image for the business.
Travel businesses need to take advantage of this new marketing medium by adapting their marketing strategy and by making a conscious choice to evolve with the changing times.
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