However, since the buzz about social media optimization continues, I find many digital marketers in the travel and tourism sector (not to mention generally) are still struggling with how to apply the latest and greatest tactics to drive real value from social media.
Many of the marketing people I speak working within the various hotel chains often claim to be undertaking a social marketing campaign. However, I meet very few who are doing this within a broader integrated campaign and at best is often a simply fan page on Kaixin, renren or Facebook. This is a very one dimensional understanding of the use of social media marketing and misses a huge opportunity to develop a dialog with communities of travelers (and potentially reach new clients).
Further, many hoteliers and other travel suppliers are not aware of their standing on travel review and social sites. They don’t take advantage of the review sites, either as a way to gauge the competition or have a better understanding of the sentiment related to their brand. You should realize that when someone searches in a search engine, these review sites will be shown in the search results. Therefore it’s critical to seed the basic listing info necessary to draw users into learning more about your service. In the travel planning and research cycle, exposure to your brand constantly reinforces the idea that you may just have something to suit a particular type of traveler. Be sure all of your information is up to date, including rates, URL, phone numbers, office hours, etc., and provide an accurate and unique description of the business to each site whenever possible. You’d be amazed how much of the information out there is out of date or duplicated across multiple sites based on outdated information. Test it out.. if you have not done so, pop your brand into Baidu or Google and look at the results.. also don’t stop at page three.. I like to continuing looking at the search results on the 4th and 5th pages.. often this is where I find either the most positive or most negative feedback.
So a of couple of take always for those in the travel sector wanting to get more from social media marketing (smm). Understand your objectives of a social media campaign, understand the time-frame and what you are using to measure success, leverage review sites, use tools to measure your brands sentiment and also know where people are talking about you online.
Just as an online branding campaign is unique so is a SMM campaign. However, the tips above are universal and may help you in securing better outcomes for your campaign and ultimately your brand. If you have some more take aways of have suggestions on other key points please add them here.
*The article is first published in Digital Marketing Inner Circle
Dr. Mathew McDougall
Executive Chairman & Chief Executive Officer