Published on Monday, May 13, 2013

Social media is like teen sex, says Advantage marketing head

Social media is like teen sex: everyone wants to do it but no-one really knows how and when it's finally done they're surprised it's not better.

That's the opinion of Mark Rowe, Advantage head of marketing - leisure.

"We are fumbling around in the dark, not really sure what to do, listening to our friends telling us it's great," he told the Advantage conference.

Just like good sex, there's a skill to using social media, said Rowe, who urged agents not to use Twitter and Facebook to constantly pimp their business.

Rather, they should view social media sites as platforms to build their relationship with customers by providing interesting, informative and entertaining content, he said.

His tips for using Twitter effectively include:

  • Keep it simple
  • Only include one message at a time
  • Stay polite
  • Instead of shortening words (to keep your message within the 140-character limit) choose them carefully
  • Only tweet what you would be happy for others to retweet; retweet your own tweets occasionally
  • Respond to questions - 64% of people are more likely to purchase from a business that responds to their queries on Twitter
  • Don't be afraid of sharing other people's comments by retweeting or copying tweets and inserting RT at the front
  • Label your tweets with hashtags to make it easier for others to find them

Rowe said 85% of customers who book a holiday via a travel agent have already researched it online and 39% use Facebook as part of the research process but he said agents need to think about what would make a customer want to add their travel agent to their list of FB friends.

His tips for using Facebook effectively include:
  • Post once a day but no more than twice
  • Try to manage your page seven days a week
  • Respond quickly to comments
  • Use a mix of images, videos and pose questions; add blogs about fam trips and photos from destinations
  • Promote special offers
  • Include 'behind the scenes' information about your company
  • Generate new followers with competitions
  • Don't over or under-sell
  • If you have a special offer, put a teaser on FB with a link to your website
  • Post live chats with travel experts, giving your followers at least two hours' notice
  • Avoid jargon or text-speak; think about your image, how you want to be portrayed and be honest. "Be yourself, be who you are, be real."
  • Add social media sharing buttons on all your online content and promote your social media sites everywhere - on your shop front, on your website, in your literature and direct mail campaigns.

Rowe advised agents attacked by customers on social media to respond promptly and sensitively but to try to avoid a public battle by sending the customer a direct message or calling them instead.

His final tip was "to blog like there's no tomorrow".

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