Do you need to pump-up your conversations with your group travel clients? The folks that have booked a Group Tour with you are bursting with questions and want to experience the pre-travel excitement. Why not answer all their questions at one time and in one place so that everyone can see and learn from the conversations.
Facebook groups are a way to get personal with a really specific, targeted audience.
Setting up your new Facebook group is simple! Check out this video for the major steps. (Please make sure you’re logged into your Facebook account to see the video below. If you don’t see the video below, it may take a minute to load up.)
Here’s a step by step view for you.
Step #1 – Create a Group on Facebook
On your personal profile’s Home section, click Create a group.
Step #2 – Name your Group
Your Group Name can reference the type of members or the destination. For example, if it’s a Destination Wedding, you may want to call it the Smith-Jones Jamaica Wedding.
Then start adding people from your own Facebook friend list to the group.
When selecting the Privacy for your group, keep these tips in mind:
- Is it a private group; family reunion, wedding, etc. You may want to keep it private by selecting “Closed” or “Secret” as only invited guests will be traveling with the group.
- Is it a group that’s open to the public and you’d like to draw more travelers? Maybe this is a group where you’ve blocked a group of cabins and you’re selling it to the public, then a Public Group is the way to go.
- Do you need to keep conversations totally secret? Maybe this is a surprise trip or a conversation with meeting planners or staff. A “Secret” group cannot be seen or found by anyone who is not a member.
Step #3 – Choose an Icon
You can skip this step or select an icon that reflects the type of group. Wouldn’t the globe be cool for a cruise group? How about the camera for a photography tour you’re arranging?
Step #4 – Choose a photo for your new Group
You can select a photo from your hard drive by clicking the green button, Upload Photo. You’ll be automatically taken to your hard drive to make your photo selection.
If you’d like to select a photo from your existing photos on Facebook, click the white Choose Photo button.
Sizing for your personalized group cover image is at least 400 x 150 pixels.
Step # 5 – Add a Group Description
A group description is great to welcome people to the group and highlight what type of information they’ll find here. Some group leaders include information about the guidelines for group participation, dates of the group tour, information about adding others to the group or how to invite others to join.
- Add a shortened link directing readers to more info on the group tour on your website, if this is an open group.
- Add a shortened link to the destination or ship.
- Endeavor to always link to your own website so that fans can learn more about you.
Step #6 – Add Events, Photos and Documents
Click the tabs beneath your cover image or the 3 dots on the right side to add other information for your group members. The options are endless here. You could add events such as:
- Upcoming consumer night you’re hosting that would be of interest to the group
- Wedding events relevant to the group members
- Photos of the destination, hotel, ship or group members
- Files such as itineraries, group details, planning notes.
Marketing tip: Photos can be a powerful marketing tactic. Encourage group members to add photos to their posts. They may want to share photos from their past visits to a destination, photos of other group members or things they’d like to do or see on their next vacation.
Step #7 – Add more people
Adding more members to your group is easy. Simply start typing their name into the box on the left. If they are already a Facebook friend, their name will auto-populate. If they’re not a friend, invite them via email by clicking the button “Invite by Email”.
Marketing tip: Group members can also invite others to join the group, if you’ve set this up in the privacy settings. This can be a great marketing opportunity as existing clients may want to invite their friends or travel companions to be a member of your group. This opens the door for a new relationship with these ‘recommended’ potential clients.
Searching your group for an individual member can be done by entering their name into the box on the left, “Find a Member”
Step #8 –Share your Group
If you’re looking for new group members you may want to share the group to your own Timeline. You can then select which of your friends you’d like to share with. (if you’ve segmented your friends this way.) This is a great way to grow your group membership if your group is general in nature.
Marketing tip: For example, maybe yours is a group for Cruise Lovers or Photography buffs, then sharing the group with your other Facebook friends or business page fans is a powerful tool. If you’re marketing your group in this fashion, be sure to include some information in the text box letting people know the nature of the group and the benefit to joining.
However, if your group is a private wedding group, you’ll not want to use this feature.
Step #9 –Managing your Closed Group
As your group membership grows and new request start rolling in you’ll want to manage who can join your Closed group. By clicking the 3 dots again you’ll navigate to ‘Manage Group’ then select “Member Requests”. Here you can approve people who have requested to join the group.
Step #10 – Finish & Edit
When you’re finished with your group you’ll see a notification like this showing the green check marks.
If at any time you’d like to edit your group description or other features, click the 3 dots and then select “Edit Group Settings”.
Request Notifications is where you’ll set up how often you want to see notifications about your group.
BONUS – Review and update your Group settings.
By clicking on the 3 dots and then selecting “Edit Group Settings”
Here you’ll find the unique URL for your group.
Marketing tip: You can always include this URL in an e-blast or marketing piece to draw in new members. Present them with the value of joining your group and give them the URL. For example you may say “When you join this exciting travel group on Facebook, you’ll find cruise news, top destination information and enlightening conversations with other travel enthusiasts.” Hyperlink your URL into this text.
Remember to click SAVE when you’re finished updating.
Facebook groups are a powerful way to enhance conversations within a specific interest group. The way the Facebook algorithm is set up now, group members see group posts more readily.
What groups will you create for your travel business?
Social Marketing Strategies for Travel and Tourism