Twitter is the latest step in the wider evolution of how people publish information on the web. It is an online service that publishes short 140-character messages to ‘followers’ who, most importantly, have opted to receive these short bursts of information.
The opportunities for the travel industry with Twitter appear to be endless, but it’s still worth thinking first about how you will use it as a brand or as an individual.
Registration is simple at twitter.com but consider your profile carefully, especially if your own or company’s name is popular or generic.
The key thing is to ensure that any web users who come across your Twitter page instantly understand what you do. This can help enormously with attracting new ‘followers’.
Put as much useful information as possible in the biog section, use a company logo, create a striking yet not over-the-top description of who you are and, above all else, link to your own website.
Also consider setting up multiple profiles if there are different areas of expertise (destinations, product types) within a business.
Find and increase your potential network
There is one very obvious reason for increasing your ‘follower’ list and that is so that as many people as possible see the information – or tweets – you put out.
Another reason is to keep an eye on what your competitors are saying to their followers, as you can follow people and companies too.
There are a number of tools you can use to make sure you find the right people. Use websites such as twittergrader.com, crazybob.org/twubble or mrtweet.net to discover other profiles similar to your own – and, more importantly, who they are ‘followed’ by.
In addition, use search.twitter.com to track conversations relevant to a particular product or destination.
Away from your Twitter page, make sure you publicise your presence on your email signatures, on your website and even in offline literature.
Using Twitter as a product distribution channel
Using Twitter to inform people about products – and doing it effectively – can be a difficult process.
So although it might be very easy to insert a weblink into a tweet about a weekend break to Prague, you may narrow your chances of gaining click-throughs if it does not stand out from the countless others who are doing the same.
Try appealing directly to the people who ‘follow’ you by taking a little time to read their profiles – what they like, so you can second-guess where they like to go.
Another trick is to seize on the social or political context of the moment, perhaps by using cultural references (the location of BBC’s Survivor, for example) or referencing topical news items, especially if they are entertainment or celebrity related.
Engaging in conversation
Where Twitter comes into its own is in its ability to create a simple, useful and instant interaction with a customer.
You can, and should, keep an eye on what your followers are saying by following them.
Also use search.twitter.com to monitor relevant conversations to your business and to reply to a user’s tweet.
As travel providers you are often armed with a wealth of information about everything from destinations, products and services, to essential travel advice such as passport and visa requirements.
Most businesses have a fantastic memory bank of knowledge and Twitter can help you share it with the wider world – which, in turn, might prove valuable for generating new custom.
TW Group Tweeters
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