Are you on Twitter?
If you’re not, don’t freak out. I don’t believe that every travel agent has to be tweeting like crazy. Twitter is not for everyone and I think it kinda depends on your business model and specialty whether Twitter makes sense for you.
But let’s say you are on Twitter. What should you tweet about?
First of all, don’t tweet blatant marketing messages. “New cruise specials. Visit my web site!!” Of course, if you want to promote a special now and then I see nothing wrong with that.
Second, keep it real. Some people have likened Twitter to a cocktail party and it’s a good metaphor. Yes, business gets done over cocktails, but most of the chit-chat is light and personal.
People may not want to know what you ate for breakfast, but if your kid got a great report card of your crocuses are blooming like crazy, why not share? Any actual or potential clients in your Twitter following will respond more favorably if they see you as a person, not a relentless sales machine.
But here are some things that you might want to consider. They are subtle marketing messages but they don;t cross the line (at least in my opinion).
Tweet your bookings. “Just booked Bob and Marilyn for their 25th anniversary celebration in Vegas. They’re pumped.” Over time, tweets like this will give your following a good picture of your specialty.
Don’t overdo it. Onesy-twosey hotel and rent a car bookings aren’t going to ring too many chimes.
Tweet your clients’ returns. “Bob and Marilyn are back from Vegas. Marilyn got a nice tan and Bob won some money!”
And here’s something very few travel agents do: Get your clients to tweet too. If Bob and Marilyn are on Twitter, ask them (politely, of course) to tweet about their travels and their homecomings. And if they’d like to thank you with a link to your site, well why not?
Tweet about magazine, newspaper, and web coverage of destinations in which you specialize. “Nice article about Bali in the latest T&L. [link]” Your following will appreciate being kept up to date on helpful info like this. The fact that it encourages them to think about their next vacation is a bonus.
Look for questions to answer. If you are a destination specialist, look for people asking questions about your specialty. In the search box on the right of your Twitter page, enter the topic and a question mark, separated by a space. For example: scuba diving ?
I just ran that very search and came up with someone saying “I wanna try scuba diving too” and a link to an article about the world’s top dive sites. That’s info you can use. (Assuming you specialize in dive travel, of course.)
Tweet about your ongoing education. “Just back from a seminar on St. Lucia in Hartford. Questions anyone?” Tweets like this are a subtle way of saying “I’m a professional. I keep informed about my specialty. I have made a commitment to excellence.”
Don’t link to your site in every tweet. Instead, sprinkle links judiciously in your Twitter stream. And make sure you offer your followers a healthy blend of interesting info (e.g. links to articles), personal observations on travel, personal details about you and what you’re up to in your private life (but not too personal!), and tweets that will lead people to your site.
I could go on. And at some point I probably will. But hopefully, these suggestions have jump started your creative juices.
One last word. Tweeting should be fun. If it becomes a chore that you hate you won’t enjoy doing it and chances are your followers will not have fun following you.