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    Social Media

    Social media is a great way to gain new clients and get more sales out of your existing ones!

    For the most part- you are free to promote yourself as an independent travel agent through Travel Best Bets however you’d like. Here are a few suggestions to get you started!

    1. Facebook

    Facebook pages are a convenient way to organize everything related to your home agency and relay it neatly to your clients. Another perk is that most people are already on Facebook- so it’s as easy as sending them an invite to ‘like’ your page!

    Follow these steps to create your own page. Although you can choose any page type, travel agent is listed under “company, organization or institution”. Under company name- you can create your own handle (such as “Jane’s Travel”) or just use “Jane Smith- Travel Best Bets”.

    On this page, we recommend sharing deals that you think your clients would like directly off of our Facebook page. Sharing travel related news and updates from news sources or suppliers that your clients may find interesting is another option. You can also post the links to (or share directly if the site makes it possible) Claire’s articles and news clips. These can be found on morning Global, Global at noon, YVR, HuffPost, CKNW, WestCoast Families, Western Living, and more. Claire also has a YouTube channel that you are more than welcome to share by just hitting the “share” button below an open video. When sharing or re-posting Claire’s articles/tips, Claire must be credited as the original author and source.

    Through your Facebook page, you can “boost” your shared travel deals posts and set your desired target audience. This will reach other Facebook users who are, for example, over 65 and interested in travel, or under 25 and students around spring break. Here is Facebook’s explanation of how to boost a post. This will drive traffic to your page and that deal- hopefully getting you sales and new clients! *This service is not free, but is possible for under $10*

    2. Instagram

    Instagram is another convenient way to stay in touch with your clients, this medium being more visual and “inspirational” however. You can promote your preferred deals by posting a nice photo of the destination with the deal info in the caption. Before we get into the tips and tricks, be sure that you have a clear username and a public account. If your name is something unrelated to you or travel- these methods are less likely to work. Similarly, if the account is private… nothing will work. A good username could be “janestravel”, “travellover” or just “janesmith”- as long as it is clear what your account is about! Extra points if you can come up with something witty ;)

    When choosing which photo to post, make sure it is bright, clear, and not too busy. Here are a few examples of professional travel accounts that make a living off travel and Instagram. Although you may not be on that photography level- it gives you an idea of what kind of photos perform well. Keep in mind that on the explore feed (explained further down), these photos are thumbnail size, but you need them to really stand out and grab attention. If you shrink your photo down (look at it in your camera roll), ask yourself if it still stands out to you. If the answer is no, try increasing the exposure, saturation or contrast in your built-in photo app. If you want to go even further, download VSCO to put a filter on your photos and increase the sharpness. *If you are sourcing other people’s photos, altering them in this way is usually not allowed/recommended*

    To source these photos- you can type in the destination in the location  search bar and scroll through the huge inventory of photos. When reposting another user’s photo (by screenshotting and cropping to upload directly from your camera roll), you should always comment or direct message first and ask for permission to repost their image WITH credit. After they give you the go-ahead, be sure to add something like “photo by: @__” in your caption. It is important to tag them in the caption this way and not just on the photo. You can of course post your own photos if you have them or search the creative-commons. Images that are labelled under the creative commons are free for you to use (sometimes with credit). Be aware  that reposting photos any other way or without permission  is not allowed.

    When posting,  add that destination in the post’s location so that your clients can easily click to see more photos. Hopefully triggering their travel bug and bringing you the booking!

    You can gain more followers on your Instagram account (which will hopefully lead to more clients) by interacting with the Instagram community and using hashtags.

    In a COMMENT on your new post, write out (or copy/paste) a list of hashtags that are related to the destination and travel in general. The more specific your hashtags are, the more useful they will be. When using “#travel”… 250 million posts show up! So the chances of your being noticed are very slim. However if you use “#europetravel”… 150 thousand show up, and if you use “#germanytravel” only 14 thousand show up. So as you get more specific, the competition pool decreases and your posts become more relevant to the right people. You are allowed 30 tags in one comment, so use them all to your advantage!  Here and here are longer explanations with examples. And although you can 100% post your hashtags in your caption- it’s going to make it look messy and less appealing. The best way is is to immediately comment on your own photo with just the hashtags  (before anybody else can comment). This way they will be at the top but are unseen when just scrolling by. They are still effective in the exact same way when posted in a comment vs the description!

    Interacting with the community is also important. A great way to focus in on the right people is to use the hashtag method but from the other side. This time, we’re going to search specific tags that are related to a trip you want to sell (or just any destination at random) and like or comment on their photos. This brings you to their attention and if your feed is enticing enough- they’ll return the favour or give you a follow! Although it seems useless to have random people liking your posts if they don’t follow you or want to book, it actually really helps. Not only does it give more credibility to your account and therefore your service, it will also make your post show up in more people’s explore feeds. The explore feed on Instagram shows you posts that your friends have interacted with (or that Instagram thinks you’ll like). So if someone likes your photo, all of their followers will now see your post in their explore feed… and if the photo is nice enough- they may click on it too! This will continue until hopefully the right person who is looking to book a trip to that destination sees it! Another way for you to find photos to interact with is using the explore feed, and clicking on travel related photos and liking or commenting how much you love that photo or destination. If you spend a few minutes a day (or just whenever you’re bored) it will really help grow your account!

    In your bio, you can put a link to your agent page on this website, or you can link to your facebook page. If you have your own website- link there! This is changeable at any time, so if you are posting about a deal- put the link to it there. In your post caption you can tell your followers that the “link is in bio”. Unfortunately, Instagram does not allow clickable links in a post description, so do not copy and paste the link to our deals and put them there- as they look messy and are essentially useless. Paste them into your account bio. This may change in an update soon!

    Similarly, if you post stories, note that only verified accounts or those with over 10,000 followers can add a “swipe up” link. If you see this on another user and are trying to do the same- unless you get to 10 thousand followers, you unfortunately can’t. So again, just say that the link is in your bio.

    If you really want to see exactly how your account is doing, considering switching to a business page. This allows you to see analytics on how all of your posts and stories are doing. It won’t really make a difference to you or others interact with the page, however it will make contacting you easier. Instruction on how to do this are here.

    3. Snapchat

    Some may suggest Snapchat as another medium to utilize, however at this time we don’t recommend it. You are completely free to find your own way to make use of this app- but our advice is that Instagram and Facebook will be better uses of your time.

    4. Pinterest

    Pinterest can be a difficult platform to utilize if you don’t already have a follower base. However if you are frequently on the site/app or have a decent following, try out a travel board where you upload photos (see: sourcing) with the deal and/or your info in the description. This can link to wherever you choose and hopefully bring some traffic!

    5. e-Newsletters

    Luckily for you, we’ve already done all the work! Here is a step-by-step guide on how to use Travel Best Bets’ eblast as your own.

    1. Once you have received that days e-newsletter, click Forward
    2. Now that it is open in a new message, select and delete all text that automatically appears above the newsletter (your signature and something like “—FORWARD–“). Once this is done, it should look like a new email.
    3. Click on the Travel Best Bets header, and then click delete.
    4. Drag your signature (found here- we recommend leaving this saved on your desktop for quick access each time) from your desktop into the top (and/or bottom) of the newsletter. We recommend placing it where the Travel Best Bets header was, but it is up to you.
    5. Drag the corners of the signature to adjust the size so that it fits with the the other graphics.
    6. Add your extension into the contact info at the bottom of the newsletter. Feel free to replace “Travel Bets Bets” with your name and/or add your  email, website link, or any other contact information.
    7. Delete the automatic “FWD:” from the subject line.
    8. Send to your client list!

    To view visual steps click here.

    If you would like to make your own newsletter instead that is fine too! This could be for travel news, updates, trips you choose to promote and/or our deals. If you choose this option, please be very cautious of typing out the information correctly, as sending out an eblast with a typo in the price can lead to some unhappy clients for you to deal with!

    A free and easy service to use is MailChimp. There are so many templates and custom settings that we won’t get into them all, but their website does a create job of explaining everything. You can import your contacts into different lists and schedule emails to be sent at a certain times. Recipients are also able to unsubscribe at the bottom of the email or click on links to your social media, contact info, etc. There are so many things you can do with this service! To make this look as nice and professional as possible though, you will need our high-res logo and correctly-sourced images. Our font is “Myriad”, colours are roughly “#1FB04B” and “#F47B1E”, and feel free to ask for the logo. If you have any questions on how this service works or what you should put on your email, email Haley.

    If you are ever unsure about how to use a social medium or what you are/aren’t allowed to do, please ask!

    Tracy or Haley will be happy to answer your question or give advice.

    Technology and social media can be an amazing tool to grow your business and hang onto clients.

    And of course, follow along with us: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest.

     GOOD LUCK!