Chapter 4. Social Media

Due to the length of ‘Secrets for Traveling for FREE and Building Your Travel Internet Business’, we’ve split it up into chapters. 

In this day and age it is imperative that you use all the communication tools available to you. It may be that your college marketing professor taught you something quite different, but if your company does not incorporate some kind of social media it is unlikely that it will thrive. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram have grown to be vital in today’s market, and have demonstrated their efficacy in reaching thousands of people with just a few clicks and very little effort. I use all three for Davidsbeenhere.com, but you may want to focus solely on Facebook or Twitter for now.

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TweetPages is a family operated web-based social media branding company that can give your company’s social media pages a much-needed makeover. Matt Clark and his skilled team understand that first impressions are everything and your social media backgrounds should characterize quality, consistency, and professionalism. They will work with you to design an incredible background for your Twitter or Youtube account, or an eye-catching Facebook fan page. What you will get from Tweetpages is a designer look to all of your social media accounts that will be sure to impress and entice users into becoming potential customers and fans.

Facebook

For many, Facebook is their number one social media tool. Create a Facebook fan page as soon as you open your business so that you will be able to begin gaining fans. Recently Facebook exceeded 1.1 billion users and so the number of fans you could obtain is extraordinary. The first step is to invite all of your Facebook friends and ask them to invite their friends too. Here are some important tips for keeping you fan page relevant and interactive:

  • Ask questions and attach a picture with it
  • Upload a picture or video from YouTube with a description
  • Interact with your fans. If they comment on something, comment back
  • Post trivia topics related to your business
  • Upload an article you find relevant and informative with a personal comment inviting your fans to read the article and let you know what they think
  • Update your fans on your newest business venture, project, product, or travel adventure
  • Upload pictures or videos from your mobile phone
  • Always be sure to change it up! Facebook fan pages with similar content throughout are boring and fans may remove you from their news feeds or unlike your page
See also
Chapter 2. Accommodations

Fans will build your popularity and credibility. I aim for 3-4 updates per day and I get the most interaction in the early morning hours when people are getting up for work (7am), when people are leaving work (5pm), and around 11pm when most people are heading off to bed. Hotels and Restaurants will look for your Facebook fan page and see if it matches what they would like to represent them. Also, it means more exposure for their businesses every time you update with a picture of where you are staying or eating. Just think – if you have 25,000 fans, each time you release a new photo or video update, you will be sure to get plenty of likes and comments/

The capacity for spreading your company on Facebook is huge! This is especially the case with likes. When someone likes your fan page or shares any of your posts or pictures, this activity appears on that person’s newsfeed.

For example, if 100 of your fans like a post, and another 50 fans comment on pictures, these comments and likes will likely spread to all of their friends’ news feeds. If only 6 of each of the original 150 fans’ friends check out your page and become fans too, you can grow to 900 fans!

Facebook Ads

Facebook ads also allow you the opportunity to find specific fans to target, and have them join your page. This can get expensive, particularly when targeting North American fans, but there are ways to create ads that get you fans very cheaply. Creating a great ad is key. You need to use a picture that will catch eyeballs. Researchers show that 70% of the reason why people click on an ad is because of the picture, 20% is related to the body of text in the ad, and 10% is related to the headline. If you are just promoting your fan page, then the headline will always be just that.

Here is an example of an old ad that I created that attracted many people and only cost me 2 cents per click.

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In the ad above I used a picture of a girl at Oktoberfest and the text is a question, then a call to action. Research shows that if you have cleavage or a pretty girl in your image, you will have a lot of clicks. Remember that the image you use should coincide with the text of your ad. It is counterproductive to fool potential Facebook fans into liking your page if they may remove it once their realize that nothing on your page interests them.

See also
Secrets for Traveling for FREE and Building Your Travel Internet Business

One of the strategies that I have implemented is directing my advertising to Facebook users from the countries where I will be visiting next. I do this primarily because I want to interact with them, but I also want to show that I will be promoting their country. It gets me more traffic through my fan page and more comments and likes. It is a great method to get fans that enjoy my content, but to also to maximize my chances that they will stick around.

So, if you are getting ready to go to Spain, begin advertising to Spain and ask your fans questions about Spain. Tell them about your trip, your route, and the sites you will be visiting, etc. The best part is when you update with videos and pictures during your trip. These pictures, photo albums, tweets, or videos from the road are what get me the most comments. I have learned that photos of breakfast and food in general are something that everyone enjoys to see. Post your breakfast everyday while traveling and share what it tasted like, good, bad, or just plain poisonous.

Buying Fans

There are many inexpensive sites out there that will sell you fans. I have not yet used this type of service because I have grown steadily with Facebook ads, but if you have the money to invest then I encourage you to go for it because you can really get growing. Buying fans is not the most ideal way of obtaining them, but it works. I know of travel bloggers who have paid for fans, but it is not something they like to talk about. By posting your fan page via other pages, your page gets promoted to people with interests related to your page (in this case, travel). One important thing to keep in mind is where you would like your fans to come from. If your product is only for Americans then you need to purchase a package aimed at gaining fans from the USA, but if you want an international fan base you can opt for that too. Here is a list of websites below that will get your fan numbers to explode. Some even allow you to purchase up to 2 million fans!

See also
Chapter 3. Restaurants

Social Promotionz

SocialKik

Fanbullet

GettyFans

Twitter

Another great social media platform is Twitter. What I do on twitter is very different than what I do on facebook, but I do have them connected so certain things that I post on Facebook go to my Twitter and vise versa. A great resource for understanding the value of Twitter is New York Times best selling author Joel Comm’s book Twitter Power 2.0. It will give you strategies on how to (and how not to) manage your Twitter account. This book dramatically changed my perspective on the significance of this type of social media. The importance of Tweeting goes beyond simply broadcasting your opinions, and instead is a powerful and convenient way to communicate with millions of people quite easily.

Twitter became a great research platform for my old Ask David web show in which I helped people with their travel-related inquiries. The episode topics range from suggesting an itinerary, answering travel concerns, suggesting unique destinations, etc. Most Ask David episodes were created for people that I found on Twitter. They were posting questions with tags like #Italy, #need advice on Istanbul, and #Venicerestaurants. Since Twitter allows you to perform a live search of these topics I was able to pinpoint a specific traveler who needed advice so I jumped into it and created an Ask David video response for each. Those people then became fans, who then tweeted about me, who brought on more fans. The exposure is priceless and it only took me 10 to 20 minutes to create each Ask David video.

We have the privilege of being in the travel business this day and age with all these fantastic tools at our disposal. Don’t ignore them!

YouTube

YouTube is a fantastic way to broadcast your work (commentaries, pre-recorded lectures, stock reels, etc.) Vimeo and Viddler allow you to do the same, but I like the classic YouTube. I did not begin using it until late 2009, but I am now a YouTube partner, which basically means I have a channel with ads.

Ok so how do I grow on YouTube? ADDING FRIENDS! It is that simple. By adding friends (similar to the way you add them on Facebook except you can only add ten at a time on YouTube) some of them will subscribe to your channel. Subscribers get regular updates of the material you post and usually share the same interests as you and the subject matter of your channel.

See also
Chapter 1. Your Travel Blog

If adding friends yourself seems like a daunting task you have the option of putting your YouTube account on autopilot. Friends will be added 24/7 without you having to do it yourself. You can also buy YouTube subscribers if you wish. Tube Assist is convenient software program that I recommend for target marketing on YouTube. The program works on a PC, Mac, i-Pad or i-Phone.

#Instagram

You’ve likely heard of Instagram. You know, the company that Facebook bought out for $1 billion even though they produced no revenue! Studies show that 59% of the world’s top brands are using Instagram.

“The growth of the image-sharing startup is meteoric; in just a few months, the number of photos shared on the platform doubled from 200 million to the current 400 million. If you don’t count video, that number outstrips Facebook’s daily photo share count by 50 million. For comparison, Instagram’s 130 million users share roughly 55 million photos each day.”

-Via Mashable

By hash tagging (#) words and phrases related to your pictures and videos, you’ll get seen by other Instagram users who are interested in those hashtags, thus resulting in more likes, comments, and overall social media interest for your brand.

8 tips for growing your Instagram account:

  • Mix it up by posting fun images with pictures of travel, it’s okay to show your human side
  • Connect Instagram to your Facebook account
  • If someone follows you, follow back (if you enjoy their pictures and you can learn from their posts)
  • Don’t saturate your followers’ feed by posting your pictures all at once – it’s better to post sporadically or create a schedule
  • It’s okay to sell yourself by posting photos relevant to your brand or products (in moderation)
  • Optimize your profile using this cheat sheet.
  • Switch it up with your use of filters – while it’s perfectly alright to use them, be sure to post non-filtered pictures too
  • Keep tabs on your Instagram stats with a Free Instagram Report by Simply Measured

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Continue to Chapter 5: Tips for a Successful Travel Blog

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