What have I learned during my second year of sharing my travels on social media? The good, the bad and the….wonderful.
My first article: A Year of Tweeting and Travel: A Beginner’s Perspective can be found here. Many of the lessons I learned that first year are still true today but in the rapidly changing world of social media, some updates are needed.
All Social Media is Personal
Do you follow @RichardBranson or @virgin ? If you follow both, who would you prefer retweet or follow you? Personal social media accounts are winning the social media influencer race. Hands down. If you are a brand, make sure you also have a personal face, or many attached to your brand. Customer Service is another matter, but to achieve influence as a brand, you need a face or many faces. If you are a social media user (influencer) not attached to a brand, make sure your personal brand is clearly defined and you are laser focused on your niche. Specialization is key. You will not be trusted as a resource if you tweet about everything. Focus. Luxury Travel is mine.
Numbers No Longer Rule
Huge followings are impressive, but irrelevant without real focused engagement. Sharing good content and unique perspectives, not just posting is the goal. Many early “leaders” in the social media world learned how to game the numbers, attract huge followings who retweet all their posts on all subjects but with little real, unique content or focus. Inspirational “quotes” and ” go get ’em” posts fill their feeds. Look for influencers who are experts in something…. Social media is a tool for all to use, not a numbers game for a few to lead. A recent excellent article in Forbes ” The Top 7 Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2015″ calls Twitter the “Amplifier” which is a perfect description for a tool for all, not a profession for a few.
Photography is king. YouTube is Emperor.
No matter how creative or astute your posts, if they are on any social media platform without a good photo, they are likely to fail. Take a look at my Instagram account (JeanNewmanGlock) and look at my early photos. Pitiful and I should delete. But over the past months I have focused on using a better camera/phone camera, better app on my iphone and carefully vetting the photos I post. My engagement and followers have increased dramatically and the best photos always get the most likes, comments and most links back to my website. Four of my most successful images are below. I plan to focus much of my efforts in 2015 on YouTube. I have been weak/nonexistent, there and for travel it is major.
Social Media is Visual Sound Bites
Many on social media are so “precious” when crafting their posts. By this I mean overthinking and playing it safe and dull.
One of my favorite examples of social media in diplomacy came this summer when Russia and Australia had an exchange about whether Russia should attend the recently concluded G20 Summit due to the Ukraine troubles. The Australian Foreign Minister tweeted they should reconsider attending, Russia responded “he” (who is really a “she”) should not lose sight of its principles. Australia’s Ambassador to Russia responded:
<em>Paul Myler ✔ @PosolAustralia
@carlbildt @mfa_russia @JulieBishopMP <strong>Thanks Carl! Borders, genders – all a bit confusing right </strong>now!
12:32 PM – 2 Sep 2014</em>
What to Post?
Somewhere I read (and I apologize for forgetting the attribution) that a 40/40/20 split is good for your tweets. Forty percent original content, your own pictures or blog posts, 40 percent retweets of content you find valuable and 20 percent personal. I had the hardest time with the last, as I couldn’t believe anyone cared about my personal life, dogs or commute problems. Besides, it would surely embarrass my kids. Perhaps it has, but I know I enjoy a glimpse of the same from those I follow so my followers now know my dachshund had back surgery, that two of my children were married this year and my son published an op ed in the Wall Street Journal. I am human and a proud Mom, be yourself.
Be honest. Your credibility is the most important thing you control. Don’t risk it for any reason. Admit mistakes. I do all the time!
If you are in any business, join Twitter now, same for YouTube, Instagram, Google Plus and Facebook and yes, Linkedin. You are appealing to your targeted market if you are interesting and aren’t we all? Be open, honest — even vulnerable. You will build relationships that will offer returns, both monetary ROI, brand building and friendships.
But most of all, enjoy!
1. never install an IOS Update on the road. IOS 8 came out when I was in St. Petersburg, Russia. All crashed and it took me days to restore and on an Around the World jet tour, that meant almost not sharing Marrakech!
2. Watch your data plans-I only found out that Morocco did not participate in my data plan after running up a $500 bill in 10 minutes. Thank you Verizon for locking my account at that point…..