By Tom Ogg
Even though Joanie and I operate social media for travel professionals I am just not a big fan of most social media platforms. Yes, I do have some Facebook pages and a Twitter account, it is just that I really don’t have an appropriate application for social media where the potential returns would outweight the costs associated with obtaining them. So for me, my interest lies in seeing what is working and what isn’t.
That said, I do use social media to promote the use of travel professionals by sharing video, images and meme to that effect. If you would like to participate “Like” https://www.facebook.com/TravelProfessionalAssociation and share posts that make sense to your business. This is a grass-roots effort to make a difference.
Over the years I have accumulated over 900 friends on my Facebook page and pretty much know them all. Some are from my childhood, some from when I worked for Aloha Airlines, some old surfer friends and lots of travel agents I have been blessed to become friends with. Since my role is primarily an observer, I thought I would share the most obvious mistakes that my friends make that would probably be terminal if they were made in a business environment.
Don’t Be a Poligot: This is about the only infraction that causes me to immediately un-friend a friend. A Poligot is someone that is a political bigot. Of course a bigot is defined as “a person who strongly and unfairly dislikes other people, ideas, etc. : a bigoted person; especially : a person who hates or refuses to accept the members of a particular group (such as a racial or religious group)” Here is a word of advice: unless you want to immediately alienate 50% of your friends or fans, keep your political views to yourself, especially when they disparage someone else’s political beliefs.
Don’t Be a Robot: I have several surfer friends that I like very much. We have a lot in common. But, one guy takes pride in posting 2 – 3 pictures of waves every day. Another guy likes to take pictures of sunrises and sunsets every day. Another couple posts pictures of themselves at the same break every day. Enough already!
Make sure that your posts are engaging, motivating and represent the best of you rather than simply posting a never ending parade of the same post every day.
Don’t Publish a Book: Sure your life is extremely interesting, but avoid publishing a book about it on a Facebook post. Keep your posts short and to the point (and make sure you have a point in the first place) No one wants to read lengthy posts with tons of details about your topic. Write an e-book instead.
Take the time to craft a well thought out and grammatically correct post that uses rifle like accuracy in as few words as possible. This helps people learn that your posts are worth reading. Avoid long self oriented posts about things that you are interested in as the cost of the reader.
Negativity Begets Negativity: No one wants to read about your negative opinions or experiences. I was recently asked to look at a community member’s blog as to why it was not producing clients for her. She posted to her blog everyday and it was forwarded to her Facebook page automatically. The blog posts were generic (at best) destination information followed by how she happened to be feeling that day. Unfortunately, she wasn’t feeling well on most days and expressed it in her posts. And, she wondered why no one was responding?
Keep your negativity to yourself and never engage in confrontational posts on anyone’s time line or fan page. Always think and act in a positive way, or don’t post in the first place.
Facebook isn’t Your Storefront: I cringe when I see agents posting “specials” on their Facebook page. It is one thing if you have established a Fan page and collect email addresses in an opt in list where clients are requesting that you send them information, but a whole different thing to simply spam specials to everyone who happens to see your news feed. This is quite likely to do more damage to your business than benefit.
Don’t Ask Me to Like You: It is so unfortunate that when one creates a new Facebook Fan Page the first thing Facebook does is to ask you to invite your friends to “Like” you new page. Of course, there isn’t really anything to see on your page yet and when your friends go there to see it, it looks like it was an afterthought. While everyone is anxious to get the first 25 “Likes” to validate their fan page, do you really want to solicit your friends who may be turned off by your request?
The way to get “Likes” is by creating quality and engaging content. There is no shortcut. I have a friend that invited me to “Like” his page and it was the best thing I ever did. He owns an advertising agency in L.A. and he only posts when he has something new and exciting to share. I look forward to his posts and have called him a number of times because they were so engaging. I must have sent him hundreds of likes as I have mentioned his Facebook page to many entrepreneurs.
Relax and Have Fun: Social media can generate new clients, but not by advertising to them. By generating quality content and conveying a certain expertise in your niche, folks will seek you out. Have fun online!