The answer is YES! Facebook is evolving into more than just a purely “social” site. There are new ways to reach people through Facebook that help qualify them for travel and lodging businesses. Let’s start with some clear statistics which can be found on the Facebook Statistics page.
– There are more than 400 million active users
– 50% of active users login everyday
– The average user has 130 friends
– People spend over 500 billion minutes per month on Facebook
– There are over 160 million pages, groups, and events that people interact with
– The average user is connected to 60 pages, groups, and events
The great news is Facebook is FREE and allows businesses to create their own “Fan Pages” to interact with the millions of people on Facebook. Your marketing team can have genuine discussions with consumers, share photos, videos, news, and information about your property and just the topic of traveling in general. Fan Pages can have an unlimited number of fans (unlike a personal account – limited to 5,000 friends) and when a user “likes” your Fan Page it then shows up in their news feed to all of their friends – spreading your page’s name exponentially.
We know Facebook can get you in front of a lot of people, but what do we do to help qualify them? A relatively new development is that Facebook Fan Pages will now be picked up by the search engines and have the potential to show up in search results – another possible spot for your brand to come up within the real-time search results.
Also, find ways to stand out from the crowd – build your Fan Page its own customized tab using the FBML app (also make sure it’s the first thing fans see when they click on your page) Check out the Hyperarts Website that gives lots of great tips & tutorials on how to implement the FMBL app.
So, what it comes down to is that Facebook is definitely one of the latest marketing tools (just like Twitter, FourSquare, YouTube, etc.) and with that, you also want to make sure your Facebook Fan Page is appealing and active enough to capture leads for your property. A few ways to do this are as follows:
– Make sure you are publishing and sharing great content – relevant information that your consumers are looking for – i.e. if you are a hotel, push your deals and packages or talk about your area as a destination on your Facebook page
– Actively engage in conversation with your fans – remember that consumers like to do business with humans. Show your fans that you are actually a person over there at your property and want to give them the best traveling experience possible.
– And again, create your own customized tab within your page – to help you stand out from the crowd.
Also, refer to a few of my previous blog articles “Don’t build a brand for Gen Y; build your brand WITH them” and “Why is Social Media so popular?” where I discuss the reasons that social media sites do so well and who uses them (Gen Y – who also spends the most money out of any generation).
Just remember that having an active presence on Facebook will allow you to connect with consumers on a personal level. If you are a hotel or resort owner – have you thought about connecting with your guests before they come to stay with you? Wouldn’t that be cool if your marketing team connected with a guest, who actively uses Facebook, before they came to stay at your property – welcoming them to the property? Think about it. With at least 200 million Facebookers using Facebook EVERY DAY – is your business in front of as many of them as possible?
For further reading on Facebook Fan Pages and if they’re worth it check out this post from WebPronews.com.