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Social media tips for travel agents

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Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest, oh my! Add in LinkedIn and Tumblr and you can go social media crazy.

What works? What doesn’t? How should you post and tweet?

We asked some travel agents for social media tips that work for their business:

Put up Photos and Videos

“I like to post pictures with lots of color to get them excited and tips for traveling,” said Denise Lorentzen, CTA, owner and travel consultant at Dreams Travel Consulting in Hughson, California. “I don’t like to talk to them like all I am doing is selling, so I even sprinkle in some personal photos or fun things that are not travel related.”

Lorentzen has started to add video as well.

“I have done a few lives on Facebook to start to show them where I am,” she said. “For example, I just put a live video on Facebook to talk to my followers about October being cruise month and to stay tuned for great opportunities from cruise lines to be posted all month long.

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Go Big or Go Home

Chris Hornick, Dream Vacations Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist with Vacations on the Sea in Pleasant Hill, Pennsylvania, said that getting as large a following on all social media platforms is the way to go.

“What I have found to be most successful is getting as large of a following on all social media platforms,” said Hornick, who swears by LinkedIn and has more than 12,000 connections. “You get a wide range that includes CEOs, HR executives, business owners and other non-management professionals.”

Hornick tries to post daily to keep his name and posts at the top of everyone’s feed.

“I post various photos, quotes and current specials/deals to drive interaction and inquiries,” he said. “On average, I quote around 3 to 5 people per day just from LinkedIn. For me, it has been by far the most effective and cheapest (I have never paid for anything with them) way to grow my business and clientele.”

Share Tips Galore

“I strive to do this by offering photos of ships we have toured, destination photos, shared information from travel partners such as cruise lines and tour operators and an occasional post about an upcoming special offer for a vacation,” said Ray Teet, Dream Vacations Franchise Owner and Vacation Specialist with Sunshine Cruise and Travel in Palm City, Florida.

“My aim is not to sell my clients, but to sell our own knowledge and experience traveling,” he said. “I will also offer some teasers, showing a destination photo with a question about whether they recognize the location and seek to engage them in a conversation as to whether they have visited there, or have interest in visiting the destination or having their own experiences.”

Don’t forget about Facebook: At least 50 percent of Lori Foster’s travel business is from Facebook, and she loves how quickly she can build a following.

“I make myself known as a travel specialist in my own personal groups,” said Foster, an Independent Vacation Specialist with Foster Cruises and Cruises Inc., in San Clemente, California.

“Groups that I participate in have to do with my interests, so my clients are like me and we relate well. So I can address their interests and questions easily.”

Since these groups don’t allow business promotions, she doesn’t post about her business unless asked.

“In the course of a week, there is at least one post about vacation advice, so when asked, we can make a recommendation or reply about our business,” she said.

Foster responds with a brief explanation about her business, always mentions that she is part of the local chamber of commerce, tells them if she has been to that destination or on that cruise and says that she’d love to help them plan their trip.

She leaves her number, email, website and Facebook page/group, then follows up with a private message.

“I do not waste my time in travel groups because there are so many travel agents to compete with for the business you get,” she said.

“On my personal Facebook page and Instagram, I also get a lot of business. This is by posting about the places I visit, and not about current promotions. I will often post a picture of me on the beach with a cocktail in hand or with a gorgeous view behind me. People love seeing beautiful places and interact with posts like this. I think it just takes some practice and creativity to see what works for your business.”

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