Travel Weekly recently published an article warning that “as the social-networking phenomenon grows, travel agencies, home-based agents, suppliers and destination marketers who sit on the sidelines may risk missing significant opportunities to engage existing customers, recruit new ones, bolster their brands, undertake market research and drive bookings“.
The article also highlighted that JetBlue has 132,000 “followers” on Twitter, while Southwest has 64,300 “fans” on Facebook. Wow! So now you are thinking “I don’t have the marketing budgets that Jetblue or Southwest Airlines do so what am I supposed to do now that I have an entire new media channel to manage”?
I have been seeing many articles as of late in media both online and offline that seem to be warning marketers to jump in now or miss the boat. (remember the initial .com bust?) Although many are talking about the social media phenomenon, there is not a great deal of actual step by step guidance about how to build and effectively manage an online community (or a group of communities that may exist on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, You Yube and Linked In), but simply pointing out that it is time to jump in or else.
I did like this article I read online by the Lake Tahoe Daily Tribune (a local print newspaper) that outlined some real world social media marketing examples such as the Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course which has a Web site, but also manages accounts with Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Good for the Tribune for highlighting some local real world success stories and good for the Edgewood Golf course for stepping into social media marketing but also pointing out that this new marketing channel is time consuming (and therefore not free or easy).
In saying all of this, I have been tardy with my Blog updates as of late as I have been actively tweeting and managing communities for both A Couple of Chicks e-Marketing and Online Revealed on Facebook, Twitter. (Patricia took LinkedIn – this is no job for one chick!) We are also just finishing up Part Two of our article Series Moving your Social Media Strategy to the Suburbs which will break down our approach to creating a true social media community.
Our 4th annual Online Revealed internet marketing conference is also less than one month away! We are holding this year’s event in Niagara Falls, Canada and will have real people speaking about real case studies and how-to tactics to using social media (and other online marketing strategies) to market your business. We are really excited to have speakers from Google, Tripadvisor, and from real world companies (no offense to our friends at google and tripadvisor!!) like Sequel Hotels and Resorts (a small management company specializing in boutique hotels in Canada), and other operators who will share tips about successful tactics they have used to market themselves online.
[tags]social media marketing, tourism marketing, travel weekly, social networking, twitter, new media, social media community [/tags]