Is Social Media Failing Travel Agents?
It is not working ; but are agents brave enough to fix it?
Seven years ago, backed by research from a very experienced social media team, I was invited to present on social media at an ATAC conference. Here it is.
At the time it was accurate, but gee, looks crap now huh?If it was a book, it would have been revised after the first year, then six months later, and today, every 28 minutes. Lots has changed. Including the shirt – it was baggy…. Slim fit was not in yet!.Not long after the presentation, Martin Bailey did a presentation on word-of-mouth marketing. Whilst oriented in the Internet era, in does not require a whole lot of updating.
I was a hard-core social media at the start, replaced recently with a growing sense of un-ease. There’s people who are commentating more effectively on that, let’s bring it back to travel.
Mark Manson, author of the “Subtle art of…” and “Everything is…” sums up the problem with social media; we’ve traded in quantity for quality. The quantity has generated so much noise that no one can be heard. Now customers can barely hear us. Social media morphed into a multi lingual crèche where someone slipped a can of coke to each of 350 kids….lots of energy and volume, hard to understand anything.
Competitive advantage comes from yelling louder (paying more) until someone else yells louder (paying more). The louder voice thus becomes the bigger brand who blows cash until you go broke and hike their prices. If you belong to a big brand, you are a fortunate one. If everyone is yelling on social media… What makes you think you will be heard? Go on, go to Google, type in holiday in XXXXX where xxxxx is a destination you specialise in. How hard will it be to get up on the front page?
Some really horrible trends have emerged; trolls, whoever yells first wins and truth comes second.
FOMO is getting you as well; fear of missing out of all those great opportunities you will generate through advertising on social media that advertisers tell you about. They need you to believe in their product because that pays their bills. But is it helping you pay yours?
The challenge is somewhere in at all, we’ve still got to reach our customers with the truth of our message and we probably still need a social presence. We have to connect with like minded people who we serve well and become our advocates. We have to work for it to make the sale. We have to make that connection again, as people, to one another, and go back to being organic. Speak in quieter, more authentic tones in places where there is less noise.
So where are we at? What do we do?
- Get real
- Focus on quality and not quantity
- Cast a smaller net with greater accuracy
Yup, go old school. Talk. Visit people, shake their hand, hug them, remind them you are you and YOU can deliver THEM an experience of a lifetime. Or tell them to use Expedia.