Travel Agent recently chatted with some notable travel advisors to find out their top essential tips for digital marketing.
For a simple answer, just ask Ryan Doncsecz of VIP Vacations, Inc., who told Travel Agent, “Be precise, be frequent, be yourself, use imagery, market you.”
But for a bit more analysis, we also spoke to Lindsey Epperly of Epperly Travel; Brianna Glenn of Milk + Honey Travels and Marisa Costa, founder of Amiko, a new company that promotes luxury travel to the next generation through exclusive small group experiences, and learned of some valuable tips that can help make you some money.
For Epperly, consistency is the most important tip she can offer in regards to digital marketing, while limiting your focus will also enable an advisor to get the most out of marketing.
“Make sure the promotions and branding that you're offering are similar across all social media platforms,” says Epperly in regards to consistency. “Focus on only a couple of platforms and don't try to be a jack of all trades.”
Epperly also says incorporating video is critical. It is also important for an agent to engage with the audience by talking to them or tagging them on social media.
The most important tip for Glenn, however, is to “show up where your ideal clients are.”
“In the same way we should be focusing on finding and developing a strong niche for our travel business, we need to focus on a niche for our social media efforts as well,” she tells Travel Agent. “Don’t try to be everywhere, instead figure out where you should show up and commit to being there.”
As far as figuring out what social media platform to market on, Glenn says it is crucial for agents to first figure out their audience. Who are you looking to attract? Are your clients primarily male or female? Are they likely to be married and have children? What kind of purchasing power do they have?
“Now that you have a general idea of who your people are, figure out where they are online,” says Glenn. “An easy tool to help with this in the beginning if you feel stuck is to see a breakdown of the demographics for each social media platform.”
And like Epperly, Glenn also urges agents to “create a pattern of consistency.”
“In order to be effective on social media, you must show up consistently, and allow your followers to know what to expect from you, so you can always be top of mind,” says Glenn. “Social media helps us do this by giving us a space to show up in the feed of our prospective clients each and every day, reminding them what we do, what makes us special and unique, and how we can help them. So my advice — no matter what the platform — is to post daily.”
Glenn also suggests providing value, posting engaging updates and devising an overall social media strategy. “It’s our job to add value to their lives before they even become our clients,” says Glenn.
“We are sharing who we are and what we do, from a perspective that actually helps them. That way they enjoy following us on social media, start to see us as the expert in our niche, and know all about how we can help them travel better.”
As far as social media goes, Glenn says there is a big difference in being on social media and actually having a strategy on social media.
“The strategic element is what helps it be an effective marketing tool for your business,” says Glenn. “An intentional social media strategy ultimately points people to your email list. You want to deepen your relationship off of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and wherever else you are connecting with your ideal clients and be able to talk to them directly in their inbox."
Costa, however, told Travel Agent her most important tip is to invest in your online presence.
“Use search engine optimization to make sure your website is easy to find and that your branding is consistent among different platforms,” says Costa.
She also stresses that agents tell their story or give their followers some “behind the scenes” facts about their lives.
“You are your brand, so show off what makes you unique and personally engage with your clients - you'll make them a part of your story as well,” she says.
Costa says it is also vital to be consistently visible on your social media platform and to also make sure you connect with everyone you know. But perhaps Costa’s biggest advice when it comes to digital marketing is making sure you stay on the right side of the blurred social media line.
“There's a blurred line between professional and personal in this industry, so make sure you review what's on your profile, take down anything inappropriate, and control who can post to your page going forward,” says Costa. “If you choose to post about sensitive topics, understand you may lose some clients in the process. Always review before posting and check your spelling and grammar.”