This is the latest in a series on effective social media marketing, by travel industry consultant Sophie Bujold.
How often have you heard that social media is just like a big networking event? I say this often because it’s the easiest way to convey the tone and style you need to adopt on social media.
However, this doesn’t necessarily help you know what to say in your posts. And it certainly doesn’t change the fact that you are busy selling travel or running an agency, leaving you little time to find content to share via social media.
So, where can you go for share-worthy content when you’re time-strapped or speechless? Let’s look at a few prime spots.
Consortia, suppliers, DMOs
Most travel agency consortia, travel suppliers and destination marketing organizations now offer useful links, articles, photos or videos that you can use in your own social media efforts.
Some even have programs in place making it easy to find information that can be shared on your social channels at the click of a button. Check their websites to see what they offer.
The trick to using these resources effectively is to find a way to add your own perspective to each item you publish. Add a comment, an opinion or share a story about your experiences. This makes the post uniquely yours even though you may be sharing information that has been seen elsewhere.
Social bookmarking and sharing sites are a real goldmine of topical links, photos, videos and more that have already been vetted. They can be powerful tools in your content-finding arsenal.
Consider getting accounts on sites like Pinterest, Trippy, StumbleUpon, Delicious or YouTube and using them to search for things you want to talk about. Just find the search bar and start looking for topics that interest you. It’s that simple!
Your own website or blog
Often content will be right in front of you. Always ask yourself if there is anything on your website or blog that is worthy of sharing – perhaps a travel FAQ or a list of packing tips.
Even if you haven’t posted anything new in a while, consider mentioning old content that is still relevant. If the content is timeless and topical, your audience won’t care if it was published today or last year.
Most travel professionals regularly receive client vacation photos and thank you notes – not to mention those long emails giving you a play-by-play vacation account. These all make excellent personalized content that puts your brand in a positive light.
Make it a habit to ask clients if you can share their story, praise or photos on your social channels. Many will gladly give you permission.
They are among my favorite types of content since someone else does the heavy lifting. You also get free publicity with the client’s family and friends when they share your link to their story.
If you work on a team, get your teammates to be your eyes and ears for anything shareable. Better yet, get them to share their thoughts, experiences and resources.
By making it a team effort, you significantly reduce everyone’s marketing workload while increasing their consumer exposure. Everyone wins in the long run with this strategy.
Not sure you can get your team to help? I’ll talk about tactics to motivate team members in my next column.
All about personalizing
No matter what sources you use to find good content for social media marketing, your best results will come from your ability to personalize everything you share.
Keep your audience in mind and always ask yourself how you can add your perspective to the message. This will be your key to standing out and attracting an audience that is uniquely perfect for you.
Getting it done
Because of their busy schedules, some travel sellers may find it necessary to outsource their social media efforts. (See sidebar for outsourcing tips). But there are ways to fit social media into your busy workday.
With the time-saving tips and tools I discussed in my last column, you can streamline your efforts. (See “5 Ways to Fit Social Media Into Your Busy Day”, May 21, 2012.)
For more travel-related social media content ideas, see my blogpost, “25 Social Media Content Ideas for Travel.”
Sophie Bujold is a social media coach who specializes in helping travel professionals achieve online success. She speaks at industry events and works individually with travel agencies across North America. For more insights from Sophie, visit her website and sign up for free weekly email tips.