Independent agents across the UK are becoming much more Facebook savvy, and some of the leaders of social media activity are members of The Global Travel Group (TGTG).
So says Bruce Martin, founder of social media strategy firm, Ginger Juice, who at last week’s TGTG conference in Dubai, revealed who was getting Facebook right and how.
“It’s my opinion that we are right in the middle of a transition towards the majority of agents becoming Facebook-savvy,” Martin told TDUK at the conference.
“Travel agents have a real desire to get up-to-speed with all things social as they increasingly see this as a medium where they can win more business.”
Ginger Juice, in collaboration, with TGTG, undertook comprehensive analysis of the Facebook activity of the 180-plus Global agent members attending the conference, which took place at Atlantis, The Palm, from 23 to 25 April.
“We wanted to find out how many agencies had Facebook pages and how they used them; who was maximising the potential of Facebook and who was missing a trick,” explained Martin.
“We also met with 28 agencies face-to-face during speed networking sessions at the conference to get some first-hand feedback about what’s working and what’s not.”
He continued: “Many Global agencies really ‘get’ social media. They have the right mix of content and reported a high number of bookings via social media, especially Facebook.
“On the other hand, we found many successful agencies who hardly touched social media.”
Ginger Juice research found 88% of Global agents attending the conference had a Facebook page and the median average number of Facebook fans was 250.
However, during Martin’s presentation on day one of the conference, he told agents to “chill out” about trying to increase fan page likes because “it can be a slow process and anyway, organic reach is dying fast”.
It is better to put resources into Facebook advertising, which allows agents to deliver targeting messages directly in the newsfeeds of potential local customers, he said.
One Global agency that stood out from the crowd for Martin was Bordessa Holidays from Wales, which he said was “absolutely killing it on social media”.
“Co-founder Mair Jones reported to me that ‘virtually all our business now comes from Facebook’, which is incredible,” he told TDUK.
“Sears Travel of Yorkshire caught my eye too as they had such a personal, easy-going style of posting and had also reported high sales from Facebook.”
Martin encouraged agents to make sure they use Facebook as a “digital extension of themselves”.
“Travel agents are such wonderfully friendly, funny and insightful people – and this often does not come across on social media,” he explained.
“There can be too many pushy offers and not enough of the things that people like to see – posts which are personal, funny, useful and those that inspire and create desire through the use of great images and video.”
His advice to agents on how to use social media was simple: “Be you, and, embrace advertising”.
“All agents should take time to learn how to use Facebook ads; they are so powerful and still offer great value,” he said.
DID YOU KNOW?
During the Ginger Juice presentation at TGTG 2016, founder Bruce Martin revealed:
(Source: We are Social 2016)