June 28, 2017 #AskMeredith, Blog

When you become a travel agent, Facebook will likely be a part of your marketing strategy.  But proceed with a solid strategy and for the right reason.  Many people jump into Facebook because they hear that it’s the place to be, or that they HAVE to in order to survive.  They feel their way around, posting at random, without an effective strategy.  In this article, I hope to clarify the confusion and help you discover WHY you should be on Facebook and HOW to strategically build a loyal following that will eventually lead to new business.

Fan Page or Personal Page?
First and foremost, the answer is yes to both.  You MUST have both a Fan Page and a Personal Page.  Your posting strategy should include being active on both.  When you make a post on your Fan Page, always share it to your personal page.

The Why
“Why” Be on Facebook?  Because most of the world is on it and I can guarantee a lot of you potential clients are on it.  But don’t get caught in the trap of thinking it’s a direct source for leads.  Yes, it’s a fantastic source of new leads for most types of travel, and it’s FREE.  But it will NEVER lead to new business if you don’t establish a relationship with those you are trying to connect.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people making is getting on Facebook to get more business. If you are on Facebook because you want to get new business, then it’s a complete waste of time and I suggest you stop immediately.  This motive is coming from a place of fear.

Instead, your motive for being on Facebook should be:  TO BUILD RELATIONSHIPS. That’s it.  We ALL need to build relationships.  It’s the one thing in business you should never stop doing.  And eventually, your relationships will lead to business…but not always…they may lead to referrals or great resources.

The 4-Legs to Your Facebook Strategy
(Use this 4-leg strategy on BOTH your Fan Page and your personal page)
Just like a chair needs four legs to stand properly and support a person sitting on it, your Facebook strategy needs 4 legs to properly build relationships and eventually grow your business. Once you have made the decision to be on Facebook, these 4 legs will guide you in your Facebook activity.  Incorporate all 4 legs and I guarantee, you will build very successful relationships, a loyal following and grow your business.

Leg #1: Connect
The most effective way to connect with other people is by triggering emotion in them. How do you trigger emotion?  By opening up and sharing a vulnerable side of yourself.  When you do this, other people will respond in kind and a connection will be made.

There are a few ways that you should be strategically connecting on Facebook:

A) “Friending” other people. When you first get started on Facebook, this should be a large part of your strategy.  It’s the only way to build your following.  If you don’t know WHO to “Friend,” start with your own circle.  Search for classmates, church members, extended family members, friends of friends, etc.  Facebook will naturally recommend people for you to “Friend”

B) Posting your personality. Open yourself up to people with your posts.  Upload a photo of your new haircut, report on your favorite restaurant, ask people what Pandora station they like?  Get your personality out there with your posts.

C) Ask open ended questions to start a conversation.

D) Comment on or Like your Friends posts. This is where connection is made and I think it’s a huge blind spot for many professional travel advisors.  Facebook is about 2-way communication.  If you are only posting, you won’t connect with others.  You must actively comment and like your Friends’ posts too.

Leg #2:  Inform
You want to be known as an expert and the best way to do that is to share good, helpful information. If you haven’t narrowed your specialty down, you will find this more difficult.  Get known on Facebook for something and watch your following grow.  Don’t be afraid to share your best secrets.  If you give them the best, they will pay for the rest.  So if you discover a fabulous restaurant in Miami, tell them about it.

Leg #3: Inspire
What’s the big promise you offer in your services? For example a client of mine specializes in Disney, and specifically, Disney for the first timer.  The big promise she offers is that it’s possible to have your dream Disney experience, even if you haven’t been there before.  So to inspire her clients on Facebook, she could post about success cases of clients who just came home.  Or, she could talk about the smile on her clients’ face when she got off Space Mountain for the first time.  Or she could post about the connection her honeymooners made on their trip.  Or she could simply post a famous quote that inspires her.  One final way to inspire is to plant the seed for future travel.  Using this client one last time, she could post about birthday celebrations at Disney.

Leg #4: Promote with Calls to Action
Yes, you can promote your business in a subtle way by using calls to action.For example, if you are holding a free webinar about an itinerary you will be escorting, invite people on Facebook.  If you have an “Irresistible Free Offer” on your website, tell people about it on Facebook and share a link for how they can sign up for it.

LOOKING FOR MORE?
Did you like this content?  Are you curious about how Facebook fits into your greater marketing plan?  Check out Gifted Travel Network’s Travel MBA Program that teaches you not only how to become a travel agent but also how to become a savvy business owner too.  WWW.GETYOURTRAVELMBA.com

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By Meredith Hill