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I would add to that list that ‘traditional’ agencies often lack the culture necessary to really make social media (or digital for that matter) work.


And at Think! Social Media we can add a specialized focus on the travel, tourism and hospitality industry as well. This industry isn’t easy to figure out and you need to understand the specifics in order to deliver real value to your clients.


Jeremiah also identifies some weaknesses boutique agencies can have:

Despite their strengths, Social Media Boutiques have weakenesses. They are often unable to scale as engagement is difficult to roll out to all product units and around the globe, are quickly finding that traditional agencies are catching up by training staff (see how Edelman has an internal black belt education program) and often lack the ability to achieve an integrated marketing approach.

At Think! we’re already rapidly expanding to offer full digital services with integrated social media. We’re achieving this though great partnerships (including ‘traditional’ agencies) and by acquiring new talent, here in Vancouver, but also around the world.

It’s safe to say that 2011 will be very exciting.

  • Internet, social media, Travel & Tourism

    You’re already in social media; ignore or engage

    09.19.10 | Permalink | Comment?

    I still get questions from tourism businesses who aren’t sure if and how they should engage in social media. The answer is that you already are part of social media.

    • People write reviews about your business on Tripadvisor
    • People tweet about your experience on Twitter
    • People check-in with your business on Foursquare
    • People talk about your business on Facebook and post pictures
    • etc

    So the question is “to ignore” or “to engage”. Answer these questions:

    • If a customer has a question or feedback at your front desk, do you ignore or engage?
    • If somebody calls you with a question or feedback over the phone, do you ignore or engage?

    How is social media any different?

  • Internet, Marketing, Travel & Tourism

    Take-aways from VisitBritain’s social media presentation

    07.29.10 | Permalink | 1 Comment

    Somebody emailed me this webcast where Justin Reid from VisitBritain shares their social media strategy, examples, results and learning. Very insightful. Here are my key take-aways.

    People don’t make a travel decision on a national tourism board website

    Justin said: “Our research told us that the majority of long haul travelers visit a national tourist board after they’ve already made the decision to visit”

    VisitBritain’s rightly concluded that in order to target people in the decision making process, they need to engage in other places like third party websites. A content partnership with Yahoo is working very well for them for example.

    The future of CRM/eMail Marketing is under threat

    Justin said: “Where previously you might have focused a lot of CRM activity we learned that the inbox is no longer a happy place. People want to clear it out as fast as possible. So we now want to focus on finding places where people are in the mindset of making decisions about travel [social media].”

    I wondered about the same thing about a year ago in this blog post. As people become overwhelmed with email, they pay less attention to marketing messages, even when they opt-in. This kind of change won’t happen overnight but social media is an environment where people are easier to engage, two-way dialogue is possible and content is easy to share.

    Social Media’s network effect has incredible reach

    Justin: “10,000 followers is amazing. But we followed the traffic of some of our tweets and each of our tweets reaches a potential audience of about 325,000 people”

    Through re-tweets on Twitter, and by tagging and sharing on Facebook, a message can travel far and wide in a very short period of time. And the content itself is much more credible because it’s endorsed by a friend who shared it.

    Tourism Australia’s fanpage with over 600,000 fans is a good example. Every message they posts could be read by that many people. And for every person that comments on the post, the post gets published to their friend network, extending reach with the potential to organically grow their fanbase.

    And as a side-effect, “Facebook is now the third largest referrer to VisitBritain after Google and Yahoo, and we’re not even seeking to push people to the website.”

    Content is far more important than a website

    Justin: “Our website is not the most important marketing tool for us, our content is. We’re just as happy if somebody reads our content on Yahoo as on our website.”

    VisitBritain is agnostic about where content is being consumed and as a result, more of VisitBritains content is being consumed on third party websites. A partnership with Yahoo produces an exponential amount of views, for free. More videos are viewed than some market websites receive visitors.

    Producing or gathering the right content, and pushing it out into place where you add value for the publisher and the consumer, preferably with easy sharing opportunities is much more effective than trying to generate website visitation through advertising alone.

    User Generated Content is an easy and cost-effective way to publish content

    Justin: “95% of VisitBritain’s photography comes from user generated content” and “when somebody’s photo appears on a national tourism boards site, you can bet on it they will send a link to all their friends to check it out.”

    VisitBritain set-up a Flickr group called Love UK and is using it as one of the sources for its photos on VisitBritain.com. And because most people are happy to see their photography used, they will tell everybody about it.. on social media.

    Brilliant. This is something I’ve advocated for years but I could never get it going. Well done VisitBritain.

    Thanks for sharing Justin!

  • Internet, social media, Travel & Tourism

    First look at Facebook Questions – Lots of potential

    07.28.10 | Permalink | 8 Comments

    Today Facebook launched Facebook Questions, “a beta product that lets you pose questions like these to the Facebook community. With this new feature, you can get a broader set of answers and learn valuable information from people knowledgeable on a range of topics.”

    The new feature is slowly being rolled out. It’s extremely buggy for me at the moment. Searching for questions about specific topics or keywords doesn’t work at all for example.

    But the concept is becoming clear.

    Facebook is making clever use of the social graph (friend networks) and user profiles. Questions asked by my friends and topics I’ve have listed as interests where listed first for me. You can also send a question to a friend. Inside Facebook as more details about the product and how the social graph is used.

    What’s great for fanpage owners is that you ask and answer questions as the fanpage.

    For DMO’s and travel operators, monitoring questions and answering them can be a powerful way to built relationships with potential customers. Besides it’s incredible userbase, its use of the social graph and ability for fanpages to participate makes it a great tool for engagement.

    [Tnooz has a step-by-step guide overview]

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