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21st December 2010

Travel Social Media Trends for 2011

EyeforTravel just published their 2011 Trends and their number one pick is the increasing need to integrate social content and activity on your corporate website.

As budget freezes start to thaw, it’s time for them (companies) to consider how to integrate social media functionality, for example, incorporating the power of Facebook comment boxes on site to provide a feedback loop for consumers. onto their main site. Sites will become a hub to aggregate and explain activity on social networks, and add long-form value.

I totally agree that this is an important travel social media trend for 2011 and here’s why:

  • 93 percent of people active in social media say they expect companies to have a presence in social media and networking sites and 85 percent of them want the companies to communicate and interact with them on those sites.
  • The rate of content sharing on Facebook has increased 500 percent in the last six months. The average Facebook users now shares 12 pieces of content a week.
  • Shared news content links in Facebook send three times more traffic to news websites than Google News does.
  • The UMass Social Media adoption surveys presented at the SNCR Symposium at Stanford University in November showed that while the adoption of social media by companies and organizations in many sectors (including the travel industry) is rising fast, there is still a large disparity between those active in social media and the number that connect that content and activity to their corporate websites (less than 30%).
  • In June 2010 the Washington Post interviewed thought leaders in the social media and marketing space and asked for the 10 mistakes companies make in social media. We know how important it is to get your content out into the social web, but not many have seen the value of aggregating the content and social conversations on their own site.In this article Debbie Weil, author of the Corporate Blogging Book, warns that companies that rely solely on external networks to reach their audiences relinquish a certain degree of autonomy. She recommends that organizations and companies using social media have a hub on their primary Web site where users can find links or feeds to blogs, photo galleries and other third-party Web sites. This also gives customers or constituents a single go-to URL. (There is that word hub again.)

How do you integrate social content, conversation and activity on your site? Jeremiah Owyang of the Altimeter Group published this roadmap that lays out the steps you need to follow

By my own observation of the corporate websites of the Fortune 100, top 100 hotels, Inc 500 and Entrepreneur 100, of the 70-odd percent that have not yet integrated their social content and activity most are still at step one, or at best, step two.

The PR version of this dilemma is the corporate newsroom. Most travel companies have one, but they are definitely at the bottom of this ladder.

And there really is no need to languish down there – social media news hub services like PRESSfeed can catapult your site to number five on this ladder in a few weeks. (Disclosure: I am a partner and helped to develop this social news hub)

Doubletree Hotels are using this system for their new Destinations website.

DoubletreeDestinations.com

The CVB of Winston-Salem in North Carolina is seeing excellent results in increased traffic and news coverage from their social news hub.

You can of course work with your IT department to develop a social news hub, like Intel did. It’s likely to take a lot longer than a few weeks, but the tools are readily available.

Step 6 and 7 on this ladder are where this trend is heading: Users stay on your site using a social log-in like Facebook Connect and that log-in triggers sharing of the content onyour site. Content shared in this manner ends up in their social news stream, is seen by others and usually gets shared again by 5 of their friends or followers. According to Facebook’s Developer Network Director, Ethan Beard, more than 100 million users started logging into Facebook Connect on third-party sites in the last 12 months. And it is spreading – it’s already been integrated with YouTube.

A social registration and log-in helps your visitors – they save time and keeps them connected to their friends .

It helps you because you become part of the their social graph.

Which step are you on now? Do you have plans to upgrade to a social hub in 2011?

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2nd December 2010

SES Upgrades Online Newsroom to a Social Media Hub

Search Engine Strategies (SES) the premier search conference, launched their new social media newsroom for reporters and bloggers in August at SES San Francisco.

social media newsroom

There have been many indications from social media thought leaders that while it is necessary to publish content and spread it far and wide across the social  web, it is just as important to provide a social content hub on your own website or online newsroom.  Visitors, bloggers and the news media should be able to easily find and republish your content.

Google’s Caffeine algorithm that went live in August  incorporates social links, mentions and reviews.  After a recent story in the New York Times about how negative reviews were in fact helping unscrupulous merchants get higher ranking, Google has tweaked that algorithm so that these reviews will act as a negative vote.

Bruce Clay, a very authoritative voice in the SEO world, predicts that within a year ‘likes’ will have have as much, if not more, weight than links.  And this means you will have up the quality of your game: people only ‘like’  good content, great products and excellent service.

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