Social media for travel marketers – unpicking the 2.0 hype

Best Job in the World I’m speaking at WTM (World Travel Market in London) on Wednesday 11th November.

If you’re there... drop by! Whether you’ll be there or not... how about participating now?

The seminar is called Social Media for Marketers: Unpicking the 2.0 hype. Seeing as it’s all about social networks, why not share my thoughts ahead of the seminar with my own network (ie you guys!) and see what people have to say...

I’ve got some basic ideas... but stuff people say here can and almost certainly will influence what I present. (Of course I will attribute where necessary!) Speaking with me will be Jane Nicholson one of the PR people who ran the ‘Best Job In The World’ campaign (BJitW) for Visit Queensland – a competition which went viral and was much talked about. I’ve not seen her deck yet, buy I imagine she will discuss how they went about organising the campaign and why it worked. (Feel free to let me know what you thought about it – but for my bit I will focus on other examples.)

A few thoughts - this is probably the way I will structure the presentation too:

1) Hype (or brands that maybe get it wrong?)
I didn’t choose the title. But clearly those who did, feel that there is ‘hype’ here. Is there? And if so, what forms does it take? Any examples of travel sector (or other) brands that have engaged in hype-ish activity and been caught out?

2) Brands that get it right (at least most of the time)
Look at examples of travel sector brands that use social media really well to drive marketing campaigns and/or to interact with customers. Any suggestions?

3) People are still people

A pause for breath before we get theoretical... It’s fine to get excited about ‘the power of social media’ but making a big noise doesn’t necessarily bring you more business. Most of the old principles of marketing absolutely still apply on-line (don’t they?). People still make purchasing decisions about flights and holidays according to similar principles. (Or do they?)

4) Some suggested ‘rules’ of social media
Taken from the great work the social media team at iCrossing has been doing.
- Be useful – the most important point. No one will be interested unless what you are offering is valuable to them – ie it fulfils a need. (This might be something quite trivial like make them laugh when they are bored at work.)
- Be findable – no point doing stuff if no-one knows you are doing it. SEO needs to be in the mix (along with some careful promotion?)
- Be live – the whole point of social media is that it allows 2-way interaction. You need to respond in a timely and useful manner to comments and requests. And that takes commitment.
- Be real – you simply can’t afford to try and game the sysyem. (cf 1) above and ‘hype’) You will be found out and then the network will eat you up and spit you out!

5) It’s about networks and communities
Fine to make a big noise about a campaign... but what happens next? Is ‘little and often’ a better strategy? Can you ‘build’ communities on-line? If so what do you need to do? Been reading Rachel Happe’s fascinating posts on the social organisation.

6) The importance of reputation
Participants in communities – whether on or off-line – are not all equal. Key people influence and drive them. Will the influencers in these communities ultimately mean PR is a dead profession? As communities become more and more transparent, trying to influence opinion (ie push products) within them will become impossible.

7) Privacy – and Facebook connect
I’m fascinated and terrified by Facebook Connect – and the idea of portable personal data (people talk about portable social graphs... but I find that a bit of an odd name). Basically, FB Connect (and other similar concepts like Google Friend Connect) allows you to log in to any site that adopts it using your FB login and password. How convenient! No more forgetting which password you used for what site. What it also does is carry all your personal data along too and feeds back your activity on the participating website to your status/wall updates on your Facebook profile. What FB Connect also does is share your Facebook data with that website and Facebook also gets to learn about all your activity there as well as on Facebook itself. A phenomenally powerful tool for marketers - a whole feast of rich user data - but it's shot through with privacy issues for the individual in my opinion. The link above shows some ways FB Connect could be used in the future - potentially very very interesting.

I increasingly feel the days of the big bang PR campaign like Best Job in the World could be pretty numbered. Do you?

Related Posts