There isn’t a lot of data about the 2012 summer travel season yet, but listening to the news and hearing from some readers, it hasn’t been a stellar year for many.
Here’s my take on what happened:
Doom and gloom news reports are affecting travel plans!
1. While most people in the US haven’t experienced a huge direct financial impact from the recession, everyone knows someone who has. (Imagine trying to run a rural tourism business in Greece or Spain this year!)
And if they haven’t had a direct experience, news reports about Europe and the stalled economy in the US have pounded into everyone’s heads that “it’s bad.”
2. The weather. The news is full of stories of fires, droughts, and heat.
Who wants to go somewhere hot, dry and smoky, and if you follow the news, that’s just about everywhere!
How can a small rural tourism business counter Mainstream Media?
By doing what you do best. Talk to your customers one by one by one. Tell them what’s happening in your neck of the woods.
Here’s where a robust social media presence can be your best friend. If you’ve built up a strong following on Facebook, you can counter all the general news with specific stories and news about what’s going on in your area, directed to your own customers!
Take a look at River Dancers Facebook page. If you’ve been reading my blog regularly, you know about River Dancers Rafting Company. Like many of you, River Dancers hasn’t had its best year this year. But Chantal’s social media efforts to keep in close touch with fans and their friends may be River Dancer’s saving grace.
Looking at her posts, it’s clear that the place to raft is the Klamath River and the company to trust your family to is River Dancers. No fires reported. No shortage of water, and who cares if it’s hot!
Don’t have a robust social media presence? Now is the time to start to build one.
Creating a following of faithful fans takes time, and there is no better time to invest in your future than right now… for next year’s sake.
For many reasons I have not encouraged you to start out with a Facebook business page. Mainly, because many of you are unclear about its value, and so might tend to create it and ignore it.
Since many of you have a personal Facebook presence, I’ve encouraged you to “friend” your customers. I suggested that you segment them in their own list and communicate with them through your personal profile since you ARE your business as far as your customer is concerned. It’s part of the lessons in my membership program, Take Control of Your Internet Marketing.
If you’re ready to build a social media presence that can counter the doom and gloom dished out by Mainstream Media, it’s time to create and effectively use a Facebook Business page.
Like Chantal at River Dancers, you’ll need to plan regular posts.
Facebook’s algorithms are as arcane and hard to understand as Google’s. Numbers of likers doesn’t seem to be as important as the interaction your likers or fans have with your posts. So part of your strategy is to make your posts something people will want to comment on and share.
The more interaction with your posts, the more of your likers will get to see future posts.
Back to Facebook. Go to http://www.alwaysupward.com/facebook_helpers/Improve_FB_Post_Visibility.pdf, download the pdf and follow the instructions, exactly.
If you don’t have a WordPress blog yet, it might be time for you to sign up for my membership site, Take Control of Your Internet Marketing and learn how to set one up and use it. NOTE: There are a few things you’ll learn to do first, like take control of your relationship with Google and review sites. But learning how to set up and use a WordPress website is a huge benefit of membership.
If you have a blog and a Facebook business page, you can follow Cinda’s instructions today, and begin immediately to communicate directly with your customers about what’s REALLY happening around your area.
So, tell me. What’s REALLY happening around your area? Is Mainstream Media doom and gloom affecting your business?
Here are several related posts:
Photo on Flickr by Marc Falardeau