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Embracing Social Media is not just limited to the consumer & brand relationship

26 August, 2011

Social media is everywhere. Or is it? A lot of brands dealing directly with their fans or followers yet I do not see many third parties using social media. This blog post will review how B2B can embrace social media and increase leads, engagement and sales.

The return of the Travel Agent

When it comes to booking a vacation, a customer may begin by browsing Expedia and compare prices, then review the websites and customer testimonials. Perhaps they will visit the Facebook page before sending an email to customer service to ask for the best time to travel to Norway. In fact, according to InsideView, 70% of the B2B buying process happens online.

Many travelers are finding it complex to book a trip online and ultimately may not help make the decision.

People like simplicity. Whether online or offline, simplicity will always triumph. With the abundance of travel options, many travelers have found that by visiting a travel agent and allowing the agency to handle the booking process, the only decision the customer has to make it where to go.

How you can embrace social media for your business

Going social is working with your clients who are already browsing the products you sell. A quick twitter search for Hurtigruten produced 8 tweets in the last hour, with a search for Norway producing 30 tweets in the last 5 minutes.

As a B2B brand, I recommend becoming active in the following channels;

  • Find people talking about your products and brand on Twitter
  • Create a community for your brand on Facebook and engage
  • Blog about your brand’s history, current goals and your experience on WordPress

To convince you further, the following articles provide support on why you should be active:

In return, you will become more visible online and create brand awareness for those who do not use travel agencies, which ultimately could convince them to start using when booking their next trip.

“We need to transform the business conversation the same way Facebook has changed the consumer conversation. Market shifts happen in real time; deals are won and lost in real time and data changes in real time” – Marc Benioff, CEO & Chairman of www.salesforce.com

How will Hurtigruten embrace social media with your business?

With a range of social networks at your fingertips, we will keep it simple by only selecting 3 key platforms to engage with you in social media in the near future. A workshop will be held internally on Monday, August 29th to move these forward:

LinkedIn

A travel agency group on Linkedin specific to Hurtigruten is a great start to networking online and within the industry. At a recent sales meeting with partners, I found there was a strong community spirit within the agencies and that information was very much shared. By building a dedicated agency on Linkedin, we can plan events, travel fairs, network and build your personal brand.

WordPress

By introducing a blog for travel agents, we can use WordPress to provide selling tips, techniques and advice from our inside sales teams.  With years of experience and dealing with cultures worldwide a platform to share this information is a great way to build up our own knowledge of the product. And not only will this support the community but blogging is a great way to build links to your websites and increase SEO rankings in Google.

Facebook

A Hurtigruten agency Facebook group is a great platform to share questions about Hurtigruten voyages and can be used for sharing videos, images, press releases and newsletters. As a partner, you can use these images and videos on your website to show to clients interested in Hurtigruten. A recent study found that web visitors who viewed video on Hurtigruten websites were 107% more likely to “add to cart” than other visitors. Using this statistic, we can increase the number of visitors initiating the purchase and thus completing the buy.

See an example of how Hurtigruten use Linkedin, Expedia use blogging and Via Travel use Facebook below:

Use social media and build your brand presence online

Social media may not be here to stay but each day that passes that you are not active means your competition is one day stronger in building a relationship with your potential client. I hope the above give you some inspiration on how you can increase leads for four your business when selling a Hurtigruten voyage so get ahead of the competition and start engaging today.

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