Six Big Mistakes Travel Agents Make When Using Social Media

by Tammy Levent

What is it about social media that travel agents find so difficult? And why do so many of them believe it doesn’t work?

After talking with countless agents and seeing the difference between those who thrive and those whose businesses are struggling, it’s become clear that there are right ways and wrong ways to handle social media.

Let’s examine this further and see if maybe what’s really going on is not that social media doesn’t work, but that your strategy just needs some tweaking.

1. Every day you post personal pictures and personal status updates with sprinkles of business mixed in.

I’m about to tell you what your clients wish they could, but never will actually say.

For the most part your customers couldn’t care less about your personal life. Your potential clients are looking for a professional business page that shares relevant information and articles that actually educate and inspire on the topic they are there for—TRAVEL!

Although we are real people with real lives who want to share exciting things like baby pictures and marriage milestones, those are best reserved for our personal pages. Stick to business on your business pages.

While we’re on the subject, don’t include too much business on your personal page, either. It’s important to keep these things separate.

2. You only post pictures of beaches on various islands with generic messages, and nothing else.

Okay, yes—people are going to “like” or even “share” that image. However, if you didn’t include the name of the destination in the image or some kind of call to action, your post is unfortunately worthless. Your audience wants to see something new, unique, and exciting. With generic images you will never get beyond the “Like.”

How about making it a trivia post instead? Post the image with a question like, “Can you guess where this is?”

What you have done know is taken something generic and made it into an opportunity for engagement. Then, once someone guesses correctly you can announce that they are correct and share details about deals for travel, or comment with a call to action for the destination. Or up the engagement stakes by offering a freebie to the winner—perhaps an eBook you have written.

3. You post a link to your blog on your social media pages with no description and no hashtags.

That is akin to posting something like this:

Posting a link is simply not enough. Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself, “Why should I click that link? What’s on the other side of it?”

Tell your audience what the link is to. Give them a hashtag that clues them in to the subject. Then, after you give the brief description add the link at the end.

4. All you post is sales pitches and prices.

This looks bad—and it can kill your page’s statistics. Constantly pitching sales makes you seem needy, and your page just seems like a spam fest. What’s worse, social media outlets are getting wise to this tactic and penalizing companies who do this by pushing them down in the news feeds, or only allowing them to show up to people who are already fans. You just wasted your time because potential clients can’t see your posts anyway.

5. You whine, complain or beg for business on your pages.

An actual post from an actual business page: “Please buy _______ so we can keep our doors open.”

Begging potential customers to buy your services or products so you can pay your bills is a really bad idea in any business. Your brand should be presented as reputable, professional, and successful (even if you are not).

Would you buy from a company that is begging for sales? Most likely your gut reaction would be that this company could go under at any moment and you may never see your money again, let alone get what you paid for.

The same goes for complaining. Whether it’s about politics, the economy, or even other companies, consider how your customers perceive you if you are just using your outlets as platforms to complain.

6. You only use one form of social media.

Are you blogging? Are you making videos? If not, you should be. Then share the links to your best content across all of your social media platforms. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn—each of these outlets is looking for free advice, relevant content, and engagement. The goal is to build relationships, and to interact with people to solidify those relationships. Then, AFTER you build the relationship, ask for the sale.

I promise you, it’s really not any more difficult than this.

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