Are you, like others in the tourism industry, wondering if social media is here to stay, not yet certain about making the leap to get involved in social media yourself?
Social media has people talking more frequently and to people they may have never had the chance to meet otherwise. For the world of tourism, it means that our destinations, products and tours can be talked about around the world or across the back fence at all hours of the day.
Through social media I’ve had the chance to connect with a tour operator in South Africa, a hotelier in Dubai and a tour guide in New York. All of this happened in a discussion group on LinkedIn, talking about the exciting ways people are using social media. These examples are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media possibilities. Think about how many people now find new employees, connect with clients and keep up to date on supplier information – all via social media.
There are now innumerable ways for us to reach out and touch our clients. Marketing theory tells us that it takes 7 touches, or marketing impressions, to create a decision. Spreading these 7 touches out over a variety of channels will ensure that current/potential clients and brand evangelists will hear our story told in multiple mediums and voices.
The beauty of this new media is that we’re able to start and join 2-way conversations.
Think about print marketing in the newspaper or those flyers you send to your mailing list. Is there any 2-way conversation happening? Both of these mediums involve ‘push marketing’. We push information and hope they don’t think we’re pushy.
With social media we’re involved in ‘pull marketing’. We’re pulling or drawing people into a conversation that they are already interested in pursuing. They’ve found our Facebook page and have been drawn into the conversation by other people as well as an unsatisfied need that we can fulfill.
It’s all about building relationships through rapport, compelling conversation and the chance to satisfy a need.
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Catherine Heeg is an international speaker and trainer in the tourism and hospitality industry.