“Social media has increased the ability to communicate exponentially, in new and more immediate ways.” – George Rimalower
For this week’s blog, I returned to one of the most successful bloggers online today, Tim Leffel of cheapestdestinationsblog.com. While he is a huge supporter of online, digital publication and believes “We are clearly in a transition phase right now with media and there are two sides to the story.” He is also mourning the loss of the way things have traditionally been done for many years. He continues, “On one hand the destruction side, where the print and network broadcast world we’ve known for more than half a century is crumbling down around us…Some see a threat in this transition, others see a huge opportunity” (Leffel 87).
TIM’S SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
So, I began to wonder about his social media presence. What I found was a recent story on his travel blog talking about how he disliked mixing his travel career with his Facebook page, but alas, he has succumbed and started a fans page called Cheapest Destinations. The layout is pretty good, but I did notice there are no comments posted yet, so we can see he’s just getting started, but the important thing is, he’s getting started. He also has a YouTube page that is currently empty, but it’s up and running so he’s obviously looking into that as well. Now his Twitter site is looking better. He has over 6,000 tweets and over 5,600 followers, so this page is doing better than the others. But, that’s okay. James Howe tells us, “…it’s probably best to wade into the pool rather than to jump in the deep end. Pick one platform and learn to use it well, instead of using too many and using none of them well” (1). So, clearly Tim started with Twitter and he’s now branching out.
MATT”S SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
I also looked up Nomadic Matt, another great travel blogger to see how his social media world was coming along. His Twitter site is one of the best I’ve seen. It was very attention getting and he seems to have mastered getting to the point in as few words as possible. Nearly every tweet has been re-tweeted at least once. He has 44.4 thousand tweets and 74 thousand followers. I then checked out his Facebook page and found it has received 66,687 likes. Clearly he’s on his way to being known in the social media world. Of course, here there are longer posts and photos to accompany them. His fans comment regularly and they have a good rapport with him, talking as friends do about his trips and postings. His YouTube site is fantastic as well. This writer has obviously embraced social media and has every site up and running. It’s clear he’s put a lot of time into this and it’s paying off. Helene Solomon tells us, “It takes preparation, patience and persistence” (1). I can see all of that has come through and Nomadic Matt is off and running.
I decided to meet with a travel professional, Diana/Travel Consultant, and see how important she feels social media is to the travel industry. This is what we found:
Stacie: In your experience, do you speak with many clients who are regularly using the internet?
Diana: Absolutely. Almost everyone is at least researching online before they call. Once in a while, we’ll get the older generation that’s not comfortable with technology, but overall our clients use it. It feels like they often double check with us, saying things like, “Well, I’m on (name website) and they have a price that’s less. Why can’t you get this price?”
Stacie: So, obviously people are online. What about social media? You have a home-based travel agency. Do you have a Facebook page or any other social media connection?
Diana: I don’t have those set up right now, but I’m working on it. I use Facebook on a personal level, but I don’t know a whole lot about it. My son and daughter are going to be helping me get my online presence up to date and trendy.
Stacie: So, you feel that it is important to have these sites?
Diana: Definitely! We are living in a time where people can access the internet from the palm of their hands. It’s imperative that your name and company name appear as often as possible while they are doing searches.
Stacie: What kind of an increase do you expect to see once your sites are up and running?
Diana: It’s hard to say at this point. But, I think the important thing is to have the sites up and running. There was a time, a decade or so back, when having a website was what it was all about. If you had that and email it was a sign that you were in business. Unfortunately, that’s just not enough anymore. To really be up to date, we’ve got to reach the people who are so tech savvy that they could book their own travel online without our help. If my Facebook postings can change that and have them calling me instead, business will improve. I also think it will add credibility to my business, showing that it is real and I can be trusted.
WHAT DID I LEARN
From this interview, I learned that even travel professionals are aware of the need to increase their internet presence and it has helped me to think in terms of my own writings. Not only for the travel blog, but for my other writing as well. I wonder how effective it would be to add social media to those outlets. I know now, for my personal blog www.thethinkingwell.wordpress.com, I currently link this on my Facebook account and thereby get more viewers. If I were to link it to Twitter and YouTube as well, I think it would increase even more. As Barbara Fagan-Smith stated, “…the digital revolution has truly turbo-charged everything” (1). So, if we want to keep up, we better turbo-charge ourselves as well.