Social media has become an increasingly important resource to travel advisors looking to grow their client base, but it can be challenging to balance a day-to-day business with the ever-changing demands of social technology.
Meet Sinem Sen, owner of SS Gold Luxury Travel, an Affiliate of Travel Edge. While Sinem only started her business as a luxury travel advisor about a year and a half ago, she’s a firm believer that social media has played a large role in her success.
Sinem’s Instagram page, ssgoldtravel, which showcases her experiencing high-end properties and exotic destinations, enjoys more than 16,000 followers. The result, Sinem says, is that she receives new potential client inquiries (typically from travellers aged 30 and up) on a weekly basis – and has experienced a repeat rate of approximately 90 per cent from her current clients in the last 12 months alone.
We asked Sinem to provide some tips on how her fellow advisors can develop a solid social media presence for themselves:
Know your brand
While many social media experts may stress the importance of long-term strategy as the key to a successful social presence, this social media guru believes that building your brand awareness should come first.
“Your real goal should be to have a clear vision of what your identity is, and then push out content that best reflects that identity,” says Sinem, whose Instagram and Facebook posts portray an elegant and enviable luxury lifestyle to travellers that is, with her help, easily attainable.
The travel agency owner also cautions against falling into the trap of overthinking one’s social media approach – a common misstep for entrepreneurs who are new to the practice.
“If your posts are consistent, and authentically represent your brand, then people who are looking for the kinds of travel experiences you’re sharing will find you – and engage with you.”
Don’t worry about trends
Sinem doesn’t mind admitting it: despite its growing popularity as a medium, she doesn’t post social media videos on her Instagram page.
“When it comes to my brand, a photo can speak to the charm and character of a location or a place or experience well enough on its own,” she shares, adding that she doesn’t have the time or resources to create videos that are as polished as her brand requires.
“Videos are great when they’re done right, but it takes a lot of time and thought to put together a good video that will attract viewers.”
Social media marketing trends are constantly evolving, she says, and utilizing the latest trends isn’t as important as ensuring your brand is consistent.
Focus on your followers
While Sinem understands the temptation to try and attract as many followers as possible to your social pages, she also knows that quality over quantity is the key to longevity.
“You don’t just want a lot of followers,” she explains, pointing out that if you only focus on gaining new followers, you’re probably not maintaining the ones you have. “You want loyal followers.”
Sinem suggests using social media to better acquaint yourself with the interests of your current clients. A client who regularly posts about their weekend wine tastings, for example, will certainly appreciate you adding a vineyard tour to their Europe vacation itinerary.
Be true to yourself
Despite the notion that social media is crucial to a company’s success, Sinem says that in order to succeed, entrepreneurs who manage their own social platforms should also enjoy posting and sharing.
“For a social media presence to be successful, it has to be engaging,” she explains. “To be engaging, it has to be authentic.”
If you dislike using social media in your free time, she adds, you’re not likely going to be successful using these tools for your brand, and should perhaps consider spending your ad dollars elsewhere.
“It takes time and dedication to be involved in these social platforms,” Sinem says, adding that Facebook and Instagram also tend to attract different demographics with different interests, and to curate your posts accordingly.
“Ask yourself what works best for you, what kind of posts tend to get you the best engagements, and where do you think your potential followers are?”