The challenge for people in the travel public relations business is coming up with new, innovative ways to promote clients. If this describes you, you are probably well aware of the pitfalls of mainstream media. It’s expensive. It’s hard to get the placement you need when you need it. Don’t get me wrong, mainstream media has its place. But, there are other ways to get more and better exposure.
Have you considered working with “social influencers?” I know, another “new” word. Social influencers, however, are a “thing.” And, if you are interested in amplified word-of-mouth advertising, you are interested in “social influencers.” I promise. What exactly is a “social influencer?” They are people, usually people with a blog and/or a YouTube channel and an active Twitter account. They are people who have a loyal following that includes people outside their immediate circle of friends and family. They are the people who determined that burlap at weddings is cool and that bento boxes are the ideal way to pack kid’s lunches. They are the people who might best promote your destination as the best vacation spot ever.
Social influencers have a strong personal connection with their audiences. Their followers think of the social influencer as a trusted friend and value their opinions. By working with a social influencer, you know the people watching that YouTube video or reading that blog post are already invested and open to the message. These are not random people.
If you’re looking to work with a social influencer, what exactly should you look for? I’m partial to video – yes, I AM biased. Working with a vlogger is a tremendous way to spotlight a vacation destination, hotel property, spa, airline or city. Videos can be shared on all social platforms. You can tweet them, post a link on Facebook and embed them into websites. Vloggers can also link to your main website in the video description and link back to your YouTube channel to help you gain even more subscribers.
The other fascinating thing about working with social influencers, particularly vloggers, is the fact that their followers internalize the content they pick up from the social influencers. If I share a video about a recent experience I had on a cruise, it’s likely one or more of my viewers – who may have never been on a cruise – will share “their” cruise information during the course of conversation with friends, coworkers and family. Their video cruise experience is that real and that lasting!
We did a review for one of our favorite hotels on our YouTube channel and one of our subscribers from Ireland emailed us and said, “We are coming to North America and are looking forward to spending some time at your favorite pink hotel.” We helped guide this person’s choice of accommodation because we loved it and she could see how great it is, all thanks to the video we made.