Recommend attended Palace Resorts’ first 4-day Global Conference last week at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort. For a full account of the conference, click here. One important topic during the conference was Social Media: An Off the Wall Conversation with Michelle Catin, social media manager for Palace Resorts. Here a few noteworthy tidbits on social media and how this tool can help travel agents increase their business, develop new contacts, and maintain relationships with current clients.
- “Facebook is the number one influencer on purchases, with one billion people on the site. The average person spends about 40 minutes a day on Facebook, and there are approximately 293,000 status updates every minute. If agents aren’t using Facebook, they are missing out on reaching a large audience,” said Catin.
- “Twitter is the cocktail party of social media. You can join conversations at any moment,” said Catin. Twitter’s biggest growing community is the 55-64 age group; and if Twitter was a country, it’d be the 12th largest country in the world.
- Pinterest has 20 million users, 80 percent of which are women, and travel is among the top 10 categories. Women are also generally the biggest influencers on travel choices in the family, added Catin. You are missing out on a big target if you’re not sharing photos of destinations or travel ideas on Pinterest, she added.
- Instagram has 150 million users with 14 percent between the ages of 30 and 49. This is an ideal outlet to reach the younger demographic by sharing photos of destinations, hotels, and experiences, said Catin.
“Social media is not a fad, but a fundamental shift in the way we do business,” said Catin. “Customer service is huge on social media.” Catin added that social media isn’t as free as some think, and that the power of a fan on social media is worth $174. To help you ease into this digital world, she said, create a better plan that won’t have you wasting time. She broke it down into five easy steps to help agents create a social media plan.
- Create Goals—Have a purpose and set goals. Think about what your goals are—increase followers, grow email database, drive sales, or generate traffic. Get a clear picture of what you want social media to accomplish for you.
- Content Planning—Come up with an editorial calendar, identify themes and subjects you want to write about, write your content ahead of time, and then schedule it for when you want it to post. Time your content for peak hours, which is around 9 a.m.
- Contacts—Reach out to your family and friends to follow your social media sites, add your social media to your marketing materials, email signature, website, newsletters, and advertisements. You can also create Facebook ads and sponsored posts to reach your target audiences for a very low price point.
- Conversation—Customer service and guest management are a big part of social media. Be a viable resource to your clients and potential clients.
- Consideration—Measure your results to make sure you are on the right track. You can measure your success by increases in followers, outreach, comments, ‘likes,’ retweets, increased traffic to your company website, and sales.