Today, social networking is an essential aspect of growing your business and keeping in touch with consumers and trade professionals. LinkedIn continues to be the number one social network in forming and maintaining professional connections. While it might not be as ubiquitous as Facebook, or as aesthetically appealing as Instagram, when used correctly, LinkedIn can be an extremely valuable resource.
LinkedIn is primarily a business-oriented social networking site with more than 380 million members worldwide. Since its launch in 2003, the interface has mainly been used for professional networking by individuals and companies. It also provides a feed of articles and other content that is relevant for and determined by its users.
Among the social media platforms, “LinkedIn is underutilized,” said Ryan McElroy, CEO of Travel Agency Tribes, which is responsible for creating and managing digital marketing platforms for hundreds of travel agencies in North America. “It’s where professionals congregate. If you’re looking for new clients that are active in your business community, and want to support local businesses, go there. The market is wide open for advisors and agencies on LinkedIn.”
One of the big draws for professionals is that LinkedIn has a very specific user base. It’s not just a place for friends to share photos of their vacation or their new car, but a place where professionals of any background can virtually meet with their peers and communicate with clientele.
For people in the travel industry, this is no exception. Here are five useful LinkedIn accounts for travel agents to follow:
1. Ann Handley
One of the foremost leaders in social media promotion, Ann Handley is a pioneer in digital marketing. Speaker, author, and a member of the LinkedIn Influencer program, Handley was cited in Forbes as the most influential woman in social media, and was recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers.
She is also the chief content officer of MarketingProfs, a training company that empowers marketers internationally with the skills they need to drive success at their companies. And while she doesn’t have experience in the travel industry, her LinkedIn account is rife with posts and submissions designed to help professionals rethink the way they market their businesses.
2. Travel & Tourism Industry Professionals Worldwide
This LinkedIn group has more than 120,000 members, all travel professionals coming together for the purpose of networking, sharing knowledge, discussing business associations, seeking career advice, and exploring job opportunities.
Whether you’re just starting out or you’re a veteran in the industry, this group is a good place to start communicating with peers, sharing business ideas, and meeting potential clients.
3. American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA)
Odds are, if you work as a travel advisor, you know about ASTA. The American Society of Travel Advisors is the world's largest association of travel professionals. Their members include travel advisors and the companies whose products they sell, such as tours, cruises, hotels, car rentals and more.
For travel professionals, this is the place to get up-to-date reports on the goings-on within the business. From industry trends and new legislation, to product knowledge and webinars, ASTA is a leading global advocate for travel advisors, and a great repository for information on the industry.
4. Brian de Haaff
Brian de Haaff is the co-founder and CEO of Aha!, one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S. and one of the world’s premiere marketing planning software. His LinkedIn account is regularly updated with articles and posts sharing his experience and insights in the marketing trade.
He uses his expertise to help professionals across various industries improve the way they promote their businesses.
5. Social Media Examiner
Founded by Michael Stelzer in 2009, Social Media Examiner is a free online magazine that takes a critical look at how individuals and businesses use social media, and develops methods to help maximize the effectiveness of their sites. Though not specifically travel-related, this page regularly posts tips and tricks to help drive your social media presence up.
SocialMediaExaminer.com was designed to help businesses discover the best ways to use social media tools like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn to find leads, increase sales, and generate more brand awareness. The site contains comprehensive articles and videos on how to use the best social media tools, along with original case studies, reviews of the latest industry research, and advice directly from some of the world’s leading experts.