Welcome everyone to our fourth installment in the SIMBA Digital marketing course! We are going to spend this session getting you prepared to choose your social media platforms and to work with them. Then, next session, we are going to actually do some exercises to watch our tactics in action.
Understand the context of social media
One of the most important concepts to keep in mind is the fact that as a marketer on Social Media, you are now a Publisher and you need an Editorial Mission. Your editorial mission should recognize your need to entertain your followers, to inform them and to inspire them. Remember: It is called social media marketing. It is not called social media sales. You are conditioning the sales environment, making people aware of you and comfortable with you and your expertise. But people don’t go to Facebook or Instagram to buy things.
Think about it as in the context of a real live physical party you attend in your community. You don’t walk up to people and immediately begin trying to sell them Carnival Cruises. No, first you talk to them about the weather and your kids, perhaps a hobby or two. You ask them for advice on a good realtor and they give you a recommendation. They ask you about a good place for dinner and you recommend a restaurant. Eventually you form a relationship and get to know each other and what the other does for a living. One day she tells you she is thinking of a cruise…
That is the way marketing works! Social Media Marketing is no different. Except you already know how to attend a party and you may not know how to properly post to Facebook! Only the platform has changed. The fundamental rules of decor remain the same.
Know Your Platform
Choose your preferred social media platforms carefully. I recommend you not try to master them all at once! Choose 1 platform, get to know it well and then you can do another.
I estimate 70% of the traffic I get on the Travel Research Online website comes from Facebook. Another 25% comes from email marketing, our newsletters. Only 5% of our traffic is organic! So many travel professionals build a site and then wonder why nobody comes to the site. You need to market the site, and social media does a fine job of doing so.
Start with one platform and the use both internal and external resources relative to that platform to develop a working familiarity with it.
Use the Platform's Internal Resources
Exercise: Almost every platform has internal resources you can access to learn more about the platform. For example, Facebook and Instagram use FaceBookBlueprint.com. Visit this site and take one of the courses. I recommend as a first course the one on "Creating a Facebook Page". While you may already have a page, you may find aspects of the process you did not fully understand or missed. Continue to take these courses and experiment with all of the varied aspects of Facebook and perhaps Instagram until you feel you have earned a much greater degree of proficiency.
Find Good External Resources
There are excellent external resources available to learn more about marketing with the various social media platforms. One of the best is Hubspot where you can find white papers on almost every possible digital marketing strategy. Likewise, Lynda.com has video tutorials on Social Media marketing and on practically every software you might ever wonder about using in your business as well as a very generous free trial period.
Exercise Spend some time with Hubspot's Resources. There are terrific white papers, plan generators and courses for you to utilize in developing an expertise in Social Media Marketing.
Put Together a Marketing Plan for your Platform
Work with a written marketing plan for your digital marketing. It is absolutely true many travel professionals, perhaps you, have worked for years without a written plan. If so, it is a testimony to your innate marketing skills. What might you accomplish if you took the recommendation of every business consultant I have ever read or met and actually wrote down a marketing/action plan and tied it to a calendar?
When you put your plans in writing, you have the opportunity to better articulate the plan and thus to make it more substantial and solid. Placing a plan in writing is a good investment of your time.
Exercise Brianna Glenn, a brilliant young travel professional, put together this Social Media Plan she shares with other travel advisors and I highly recommend you use it as a model for your own plan. You can download it below and study through the various aspects of a plan as outlined by Brianna.
Click the graphic above to download Brianna Glenn's template for a Social Media marketing plan
In the next SIMBA session, we will focus on actually putting together some social media ads.
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