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How to Sell Travel through Twitter and Other Social Media.
Tuesday, 11th March 2014
Source : Louise Osborne ~ Exclusive from ITB 2014
Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram have all featured as ways of maintaining contact and engaging with customers in the social media sphere heightening their appreciation of a brand while also giving them the chance to pass on the message to friends and family.

It is an important new tool in reaching out to new travelers, but can also seem daunting as businesses figure out exactly what they are going to do with social media and how to work it into a budget.

The topic has been one of the most prominent at ITB Berlin as hoteliers, destinations and tourism operators learn how important the medium is, but Jennifer Dombrowski, a blogger and social media strategist, led businesses through how they could choose the best social media for a company's clients and how to use them.

"Jobs as social media marketers are bigger than ever," she said. "We're storytellers, customer experience managers and we test how campaigns are working."

Step one is deciding exactly what you want to post with social media and what resources you already have in place to do that, she said.

"Past sponsorships may have done some marketing in traditional media," she said. "Look at how you can re-purpose it and make sure your website is integrated with social media icons prevalent on your page, so people can find you."

Dombrowski said another important issue businesses should bear in mind when creating a social media strategy is deciding what they want to achieve, whether it be reaching out to clients or selling the product. Meanwhile, firms should assess how much time and money they have to dedicate to social media.

"It's important to know also what people think about your brand, you don't want to come out with a great campaign with a contest until you know what the sentiment is about you," she said.

And she said companies should be selective about the social media they choose to use.

"Just because it exists, doesn't mean you have to be on it," she said, urging companies to think through their demographic before jumping into social media. She recommended analytic programs such as Tweet Reach for analysing your presence of Twitter, YouTube Analytics to test how your videos are reviewed and HootSuite for keeping track of all of your social media on one platform.

However, the real key she said, was being social, interacting with customers and reaching out to "key influencers" who were already sold on the brand to help with marketing.

"Engage, interact and be transparent," she said. "And above all, have fun."

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.
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Louise Osborne is a correspondent and editor based in Berlin, Germany. She began her career working at regional newspapers in the UK and now works with journalists across the globe as part of international journalism organization, Associated Reporters Abroad (ARA). Living abroad for the second time, she continues to be fascinated by places both near and far, and boards a plane eagerly, as often as she can.

Besides the ITB Berlin 2014 live coverage, Louise also writes a weekly exclusive column for
4Hoteliers.com

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