Agents need to create “good social sentiment” among their clients and use imagery to “seduce” followers on social media websites.
Charles Reid (pictured), business director of media planning and buying specialist Carat Media, told delegates at the Aito Agents 2014 conference that agents needed to be engaged in using social media sites as part of their business.
It is no longer enough to pay for advertising and marketing, he warned, and it is critical to have a presence on one or two social media sites.
“You have to have a good social sentiment as well as paid-for advertising. You need to be in a social environment - if not, your customers will take you there. And you must have clearly-set goals and decide what you are doing it for,” he added.
He warned agents against using their personal Facebook pages for work customers to follow them on and suggested allocating a member of staff to monitor the company’s social media presence after agreeing the “tone and language” the company wanted to use.
Content “is king”, with images becoming increasingly important on social sites, he added.
“Don’t just stick up flight offers; that’s not enough to make people want to be friends with you. Put links in and images, you don’t necessarily need to write lots of content. Don’t underestimate the importance of visual content. Social [media] isn’t about making a quick buck, it’s about how people follow you and whether they trust you.”
New Aito Specialist Travel Agents chairman Gemma Antrobus admitted it was hard for some members to get involved in or understand the value of social media.
“For some members it’s not straightforward and they may think, if I am not doing it to sell holidays what am I doing it for? It’s a case of doing one [social media channel] to the best of your ability.”