Following is the latest in a series of guest columns by social media strategist Catherine Heeg.
What are you risking in your social media presence with a misstep? Reputation? Loss of the social element? Failure to reap the full rewards of social media?
Social marketing is changing so quickly that we all make mistakes. Here are 4 common mistakes in our industry and ways to ward them off.
Mistake #4: A strict business focus
Many businesses focus their posts only on their own sales, promotions and news updates, while forgetting to add the personal touch, a bit of frivolous fun and whimsy.
Our industry is FUN! When you create a mini-vacation for your clients on your social sites, you’re connecting, and they will love you for it.
A general guideline is that a business page is successful when relevant information from others is shared 80% of the time. The balance can be focused on selling and marketing your travel products. This means sharing links, photos, video and content from suppliers, clients and destinations. This tactic will keep your fans interested and socializing with you.
Key takeaway: Let your personality and that of your business shine through. Give your clients the chance to indulge in their travel dreams and they’ll reward you with their loyalty and hard earned money.
Mistake #3: Missed opportunities
So you’ve spent an hour writing a blog and another hour writing your newsletter, but you never get around to writing any Facebook posts or Tweets yet. A mistake made by many travel pros is to showcase unique content on only one social platform.
Here’s how to get some added mileage from your hard work. When you write a blog article, break it down into posts, tweets and pins – all with links back to your original blog post.
Key takeaway: Repurpose your material so your fans and potential new clients have the opportunity to see your work in a variety of platforms. That way if a fan misses your Facebook post because they were in a meeting, they can catch your tweet later in the day and then have access to your newest blog post.
Mistake #2: Thinking likes = sales
While we all strive to gather as many fans, followers and contacts as we can, we still need to focus on keeping these people engaged so they remain loyal, revenue-generating clients.
Key takeaway: Be vigilant about responding, listening and being pro-active to create new business. Remember, people do business with those they like – really like, not simply “like” on Facebook.
Here are key listening tools:
Mistake #1: Not having a plan
You might think: I don’t need a plan; I like to be totally spontaneous! Or: I don’t have time to create a media calendar. Or: I’ll just let my “digital native” child handle my social media – they’re all over it anyway.
Digital natives are great for resolving some issues, but when it comes to professional marketing and communication expertise you’ll want to leverage your success with a well-thought out long-term strategy.
Key takeaway: A media calendar is essential. Plan out your social posting themes so they coordinate with your sales cycle and integrate with your traditional marketing. This will enhance your exposure and gain momentum for your upcoming group departures.
Here’s a template of a calendar that I’ve developed for our industry.
When you sidestep these common mistakes, you’ll find that your social media presence will evolve and flourish. Implementing these key takeaways at any phase in your social media experience will minimize your risk and provide a model for your success.
Catherine Heeg is president of Customized Management Solutions. An international speaker and trainer, she delivers interactive social media, marketing and communication workshops and webinars for clients in the travel industry. Connect with her at http://www.cmsspeaking.com/contact.php and socially: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest.