Travel insights from VAX VacationAccess

#getsocial | How to Grow Your Travel Business Using Social Media

Social media is important for travel agents, but how exactly does it work, and where do you even start?

For travel professionals who are looking to just get their feet wet with social media, Facebook is a great place to start. You probably have a personal Facebook account, so why not create one for your travel business? A Facebook business page is an ideal way to promote, sell and engage to both new and current clients. Here are four ways to use your Facebook business page to grow your business:

1. Create posts daily

Keep your clients up-to-date by posting current deals and industry news. Posting daily helps you maintain a strong presence and be the first thing your followers see in their newsfeed. As your clients like, share and comment on your posts, you make your business known to not only your current followers, but your followers' followers and so on. Basically, posting engaging content every day will increase your audience reach.

2. Don't be afraid to use hashtags

Facebook's audience optimization intelligence allows you to publish posts to users other than your current followers by using hashtags based on their particular interests. This can help you reach and engage your target audience and to better understand their interests. So how does it work? Using hashtags increases the potential reach for your posts by creating clickable links in your posts. By including keywords with the # symbol in front of it, your post will show up when Facebook users either search for that keyword or click on the hashtag somewhere else. For example, a travel post might include keywords for a specific destination or type of travel, like #ILoveMexico, #familyvacation or #destinationwedding.

3. Send messages to clients and prospects

A Facebook business page allows you to communicate in real time with your clients. If users have questions or concerns regarding your business, they can contact you quickly and efficiently, and you can respond just as quickly and efficiently back. Providing a platform that allows potential clients to easily get in touch with you means you can respond before they take their business elsewhere.

4. Measure and manage your performance

A Facebook business page allows you to gain valuable marketing insights and track your engagement efforts. Analyze your page's total reach, clicks, shares and likes to understand what your audience is interested in. Monitoring your business' performance through Facebook can help fine-tune your posts and paid advertisements. You can also adjust your marketing budget and tweak your target audience for your ads after analyzing the results.

It's important to keep your personal page separate from your business page so you can present yourself online as you would if you were in an office setting or when meeting a prospect. You wouldn't show up to a client meeting in shorts and sandals, right? This is just as reflective when the first thing a potential client sees online is a silly photo you've been tagged in or a recipe you've shared. Maintaining a strong, professional brand identity is crucial to allow new clients see what a great business you are running.

While it is not recommended that you manage business tasks through your personal account, you can add your business page to it. Facebook advises that you do not create a completely separate account for your business. Instead, set one up by creating a new page through your personal one. This still allows for you to manage your tasks under your business' brand rather than your personal one and easily switch between the two pages.

Facebook still reigns as the top social media platform for most businesses, other social media platforms can help you grow your business. Twitter and Instagram can provide you a completely different user base and way to market your services. Twitter gives you a quick way to get your message out. And now that you can tweet in 280 characters or less, you've got a little more room to work with. Instagram is great for photos. You can upload or regram (Instagram's way of sharing) photos of your clients' trips to entice potential clients. And don't forget the hashtags! While Facebook is a great place to start for beginners, you should be familiar with other social media platforms so you know that you're representing your business online as best possible.

Are you ready to become a social media pro? Learn even more from Facebook's guide to creating a business page.

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