Your Message in Social Media

Okay, after last week’s Twitter overkill in the media, you may be hesitant to sign on and find out what it’s all about. That could be a mistake, however, especially for home-based travel agents who need every tool available to market their business—and where else can you market for free but online with tools such as Twitter and Facebook?

I had a conversation with travel agent Steve Cosgrove of Dynamic Travel in Fort Worth yesterday. Turns out Steve is a big booster of social networking media for marketing, and he has plunged in headfirst. He joined Facebook four or five months ago, and now has an extensive list of  “friends” and contacts with whom he shares travel industry news and his own company’s deals.

“The thing to remember,” he told me, “is that these users are very sensitive to being ‘sold.’ You have to establish social connections. Comfort level is very important to Facebook users.”

There’s a learning curve to building that comfort level, as Steve found out firsthand. After posting several blatant marketing pitches, he would receive warnings from Facebook. “There are no clear guidelines,” he said, “but you don’t do out-and-out selling there. It’s a lot of trial and error, but my motto is, better to be forgiven than to ask permission.”

So if you haven’t yet, you may want to check out Facebook, Twitter, et. al. You might make a few mistakes along the way, and you probably won’t have as many Twitter followers as Oprah or Ashton Kutcher, but it’s a good entry to a whole new way of connecting to your clients and finding new ones.