Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter or Pinterest? Is Snapchat even still a thing? How do you choose which platform is the best social media for travel agents? Do you kill yourself learning the latest dance steps while snapping a Nat Geo-worthy photo and do it all?
And then, how do you know what the best practices are for each? It’s tough to keep them all straight and know which ones, if any at all, are best for promoting your travel business.
This article’s aim is to debunk some of the most common myths about social media for travel agents and hopefully clear up some confusion.
Myth #1 – Social media is the best way to get new clients.
When it comes to social media for travel agents, not only is it not the best lead generation option, but it’s probably not even in the top 5. While they play an important role as part of your digital marketing strategy, don’t count on them for client acquisition. Except for Tik Tok, the newest kid on the block. New platforms have the benefit of shiny object syndrome and can alter the norm in user patterns.
Think of the last company you found on social media that you actually purchased from straight away. It’s probably not a long list.
Social media is more of a middle funnel marketing strategy, meaning…it’s a great way to stay top of mind with your clients once they are in your eco-system but not the best way to get them to jump in.
Myth #2 – You have to have at least a presence on all platforms
False. Most travel advisors are either solopreneurs or work with small teams. Given that social media is not a lead-generating strategy, it just doesn’t make sense to spread yourself so thin that you have zero time for actual selling travel.
It would be a far better idea to master one platform and then, as time and resources permit, move to the next. Using a shotgun approach to social media and dabbling across multiple platforms but not being great in any will actually fair worse for your travel business than having done nothing at all.
And that brings me to:
Myth #3 – Social media auto-schedulers are the way to go
A lot of travel agents realize that it’s next to impossible to be in all places at the same time so they enlist the help of social media scheduling platforms like Later, Planoly, Sprout Social or Hootsuite (to name just a few). I have no issue with using those to stay on top of your posting.
But, the problem is, that while they may attract some of the same clients, the user experience on each platform is different.
Twitter is the best platform to start a dialogue with your client.
Instagram is the best to promote daily travel inspo
Pinterest is a great idea generator
Linkedin is best for connecting on a professional level
Facebook is the opposite and best for connecting on a personal level
Tik Tok is best for pure entertainment
Full disclosure, I don’t use Snapchat; no idea what the hell it’s good for.
You can’t just take something you’d post on Instagram and then post it across all the other platforms, even though these scheduling softwares make you think that you can.
I’d rather see you choose one or two from the list and then go in deep with a daily, consistent strategy created specifically for that platform.
That doesn’t mean the content has to be different. You can definitely repurpose content, but I recommend that you modify the delivery for the audience.
And don’t worry about your followers seeing your content on various platforms and getting fed up with the duplicate messaging…I promise you, the chances of them seeing your posts multiple times, thanks to the algorithms, aren’t high.
I have found that unless I actively engage with my followers by either leaving comments for them or chatting with them inside DMs, I don’t see their stuff, so conversely, they won’t see mine.
Myth #4 – The social media algorithm sucks
So many want to dog on the algorithms thinking they are out to get them. They do keep us on our toes, but rather than complain about them; I think we’d all be far better off just to adapt. The goal of most companies is to make money, including yours. I can’t fault Mark Zuckerberg for rewarding reels, even though I HATE video. Reels are where it’s at.
Either I get onboard and be willing to make an absolute fool of myself to boost my reach…or I don’t. I get to choose. Neither option is costing me a cent. That’s the brilliant part.
We often forget that there was no such thing as social media for travel agents back in the day. Then you had to spend significant amounts of money to place an ad in the travel section of the weekend paper.
Myth #5 – Tik Tok is the best social media for travel agents right now
I agree that Tik Tok offers a lot of benefits that the other, more established platforms, don’t enjoy. The truth is, the best platform for you is the platform your client uses. Watching Tik Tok accounts scale at a blistering pace is attractive. Just like bitcoin
And no hate on Tik Tok. I LOVE Tik Tok. It’s, hands down, my favourite platform but if my client perceives it as only a space for kids to dance, then does it make sense for me to be there?
Like all platforms, Tik Tok is quickly finding its groove and morphing itself into the mainstream. More and more geriatrics are finding their way over, maybe thanks to their grandkids.
Myth #6 – Social media can replace an email list
Hell no! This is the biggest mistake of all. I hear advisors tell me all the time…oh, I don’t need to email my clients weekly because I’m on social media, and I interact with them there.
A travel friend of mine who I met on Instagram had her entire account hacked a few months ago. She and her sister, ex-flight attendants, were killing it on the gram. Their content was solid. They were consistent and had thousands upon thousands of followers. They inspired me with their tips and tricks. And in an instant…
They lost it all.
Their account was hacked and held up for ransom. A cautionary tale for everyone to be suspicious of accounts that look suspicious. If you smell a skunk, it’s probably not a duck. Steer clear.
My point is that their entire following went up in smoke, and there was nothing Instagram could do to help.
You may have heard people say…you don’t own your list of followers; the social media platforms do. And in the back of your mind, you may be thinking…oh, that could never happen to me. But it most definitely can.
Myth #7 – Social media for travel agents has to look professional
Also no. It may have been true a year or two ago, but now it seems that the more raw and unfiltered you show up, the better.
I love a pretty feed as much as the next person, but the data is in. Turns out, the content that gets the most engagement is the content that looks authentic and relatable.
It doesn’t matter when you post on social media.
I wish this was a myth, but in most cases, it’s not. All social media platforms share the same common goal. And that is to serve up useful content so that its users won’t want to leave and, in the event that they do, draw them back in quickly.
To ensure serving up the best content, they use a tiered release strategy. They’ll send out your post to a handful of your followers and see how they respond. If the post gets some traction and people start liking, commenting, saving, and sharing, then it will be sent out to more people.
This means that if you post at a time that is convenient to you, but all your followers are sleeping or at work and don’t see it, then your content could end up on the cutting room floor before it ever got a chance.
When is the best time to post on social media for travel agents?
The best time to post on social media for travel agents depends on who your audience is and which platform you are using.
Linkedin is best between 9 and 11, Tuesday through Thursday.
Instagram – Between 8 and 9 AM and then between 12 to 1 PM.
Facebook – Between 1 and 3 PM Monday through to Saturday
Pinterest – Just stay outside of working hours.
Tik Tok – Use the same posting rules as Instagram, but because it’s the newest kid on the block, people seem to be having success no matter when they post, so just have at it! You can’t go wrong.
Before I close out, I want to leave you with one important thing to remember. Social media marketing is a slow burn. If you know accounts that have gone from zero to influencer status overnight…you can bet your BF that they purchased followers – which is a no-win solution.
If it feels like your accounts are growing slowly, you are in good company. Don’t stress. You are playing the long game.
You might want to check out these two articles specifically on Instagram if you’d like to learn more.
What is your favourite social media platform, and why? Please add it to the comments below.