Ataway - Digital Marketing Redux


Ruthanne Terrero
Vice President—Content/Editorial Director, Ruthanne Terrero

I’m still digesting many of the things I learned at the Ataway Exchange, the digital marketing conference I attended in May.

In my last column, I spoke of the need to have good content to post on Facebook and Twitter so that followers would be tempted to share it with others. 

In a roundtable discussion at Ataway, a hotelier spoke of ensuring that the right audience is being drawn to your content. Suppose, she said, you have a great video to post on YouTube. (In the case of a travel advisor, this could mean good footage of destinations and hotels or other travel experiences.) That’s all well and good, she said, but when you’re counting “likes,” keep in mind that young kids these days are sitting and watching YouTube videos for hours on end. One attendee said that her 13-year-old niece knows no bounds when it comes to YouTube. In the case of travel videos, however, you’re not wasting your time if your audience skews to this young demographic, because children are a tremendous influencer when it comes to convincing parents where to take the next family vacation. Regardless of who your viewers are, be sure you’ve thought of a way to convert the likes to a sale via your agency. This could be done with a call to action at the end of the video and in the description area that YouTube provides for the footage. At the end of the day, sales are still all about the close, no matter what medium you’re using.

Another hotelier found that adhering to the basics always works. “Good photos on a website convert to bookings. So-so photos have a negative impact,” she said. This means, don’t just post photos because that’s all you have. If you took a trip and the photos of your hotel room turned out really dark because your iPhone fell in the bathtub twice and was chewed on by your dog three times, don’t post the pictures. Get photos from the hotel company itself that you can run. In this case, reality is not the best truth you can present.

In all of your social networking, don’t be afraid to ask for the share, as in “share this with your friends if you agree.” People online share things on an impulse, they don’t wake up with the plan to do it. Make it easy for them and ensure that your messages above videos, links or photos are simple. They haven’t come to your Facebook page to read multiple sentences of stuff. Tell them what to do, make them feel like they want to do it and move on to your next big idea for viral marketing.

Another note: Be aware of who your “super-users” are. These are the people, for whatever reason, who are liking your content on social media and sharing it and commenting on it in a positive way. Reward them by thanking them publicly or by supporting them equally in their social media efforts. “Focus on the 10 percent who really care and give them the tools to share,” said Outbrain’s Kodi Foster, who presented at Ataway. 

If you have at least 400 folks on Facebook who have liked your page, you’ll earn the ability to promote your posts. These posts should be entries that lead consumers back to your site—with the possibility of converting to a sale—and present your branding in a positive light. Consider promoting your posts via Facebook as well as spending money to have one of those ads that appear on the right-hand side of your Facebook page. Use your best judgment and don’t sweat over when something is worth paying for. In the words of Foster from Outbrain, “Just get it done. Just win.” 

One important note from Ataway is that if your website is not enabled to be well viewed via mobile devices, you’re not really in the game. Plan to invest in upgrading your web presence so it can be enjoyed via smartphones. Good to know: If you have a YouTube channel you’re already mobile-enabled. See? Some things do come easy.

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