Sorry, We Are Not In Right Now

Hi,

Thanks for checking out our blog, we really appreciate it.

However, our blog has moved to http://travel2dot0.wordpress.com/

Sorry that you have to visit another site to find us, but it is worth it...we have all of our 'classic' posts and comments on the new blog, plus a ton of new thoughts and ideas.

Why are we moving? Basically, Blogger failed us and never responded to our emails and requests. A clear example of poor customer service...too bad, we liked Blogger.

Come over and see us on the new blog.

Regards,
Troy and Mo

Monday, July 21, 2008

How To Protect Your Social Media Footprint


A lot of us in the interactive marketing world are familiar with the term 'cybersquatting,' where an individual or company sits on (or squats on) hundreds of domain names in the hopes that another organization will have no choice but to pay an inflated price for the URL.

This practice reached its peak several years ago, as the original ‘dot com’ bubble was bursting. However, there are still hundreds of thousands of domain names still being held or developed, primarily as link farms, by people and organizations who are still looking for that payday.

See arizona.com as one example. (Not linked on purpose, they are not getting SEO love from us.)

Now, with the undeniable popularity of social websites, such as Facebook and YouTube, many marketers are finding that there ideal social URL or username has been already claimed.

A little background. Most social sites allow users to select a username or nickname for the account. In addition, many of these sites also allow you to create a unique page, channel or profile.

Such as www.youtube.com/arizonatourism

The challenge is that anyone can essentially claim any ‘social URL’ that they want, regardless if they have any connection with Arizona, travel, Nike, Starbucks, your name, my name, etc.

And as more and more marketers launch campaigns with a social site component, many are finding that there brand name is already gone.

Here is what you need to do. Go out and begin registering on these social sites, whether or not you are ready to launch a campaign. Many of them will allow you to set your profile to private, meaning you can simply register your brand-specific ‘social URL’ without having to maintain a social presence. And while that seems so anti-social, at least your social URL will be there when you are ready.

Social Sites (travel and non-travel) You Need To Protect:

TripAdvisor
http://www.tripadvisor.com
  • Who: The major travel review and social travel site online. Millions of visitors, hundreds of reviews.

  • Why: See above, with hundreds of reviews and members, this should be your first step in communicating with the social travel consumer. While there is not a risk of losing an URL such as tripadvisor.com/traveltexas, there could already be a consumer using 'TravelTexas' as there Member Name.

  • How: TripAdvisor offers DMOs, hotels and other travel organizations the option to contribute content, with links to your website, for FREE! Insider Pages, GoLists, Videos, Forums and Reviews all offer a chance to spread your message to the TripAdvisor audience.
MySpace
http://www.myspace.com/
  • Who: Owned by Fox Interactive, MySpace, along with Facebook, dominate the social networking space.

  • Why: Even if you don't have plans to launch a MySpace campaign in the near future, you need to own your MySpace URL. Several major companies have already experienced losing there brand name to regular consumers. For example: http://www.myspace.com/cocacola

  • How: Like many social sites, launching a campaign on MySpace is more complex than simply throwing up some product images and brochure copy (see our post Why Facebook Will and Will Not Work For the Travel Industry - Part 1), users expect a connection via MySpace or Facebook and so far, very few 'brands' have been successful using the site. So, until you are ready to take on the work load, just set that MySpace page to private.
Facebook
http://www.facebook.com
  • Who: Independent, along with MySpace, one of the largest social networking sites.

  • Why: See MySpace above.

  • How: Again, see above.
YouTube
http://www.youtube.com
  • Who: Owned by Google, YouTube is the largest video sharing site online. Famous for being the source of thousands of viral videos, YouTube is increasingly being used as a marketing platform.

  • Why: YouTube allows members to create 'channels' with specific URLs, such as www.youtube.com/ArizonaTourism. Like we have said earlier in the post, even if you are not planning on running your content or videos via YouTube at this time, you should own the URL. Additionally, YouTube has already become the primary location for online video, so if you want your commercials / custom content to be watched online, you will probably have to add it on YouTube.

  • How: Like MySpace, TripAdvisor or any other 'social' site, members and viewers of YouTube are looking for valuable content. You can and should upload your standard commercials, but unless you are Bud Light, don't expect them to be the next viral sensation. Use YouTube to highlight original content, participate in the conversations or to connect with travelers (many of which probably have travel videos of your state).
The Rest...Other Sites You Should Consider:

Flickr
http://www.flickr.com

Twitter
http://www.twitter.com

Virtual Tourist
http://www.virtualtourist.com/

IgoUgo
http://www.igougo.com/

RealTravel
http://realtravel.com/

Squidoo
http://www.squidoo.com/
Social URL / Marketing Tips:
  • Make sure you set your profile to private if you don't plan on contributing regular content. Do not register for a social site, leave your profile public and neglect to post anything. If you do, watch your social rep decline quickly.

  • Try and use the same Member Name, URL, etc for each site. Even thought it is not your site, you still need to present a consistent brand to the end user. For example, whenever possible, we use 'ArizonaTourism.' And while this point is contrary to the one below, because your staff may change over time, it is better to use a consistent 'brand name' for the Member Name and then provide a complete description, including your real name, in the bio or about section.

  • Be authentic. Cannot stress that enough.

  • Consider using a generic email address such as webmaster@yourstate.com or social@yourstate.com. Rather than trying to hide yourself, this point is designed to make transitions (i.e. new employees) easier.

  • Keep track. There are a lot of social sites out there, make sure you keep track of the sites you have joined.

  • Contribute value content. Again, unless you are ready to begin contributing to the community which you have joined, simply stay quiet. Wait until you are ready to commit the time and resources to the project and then proceed with your social strategy.

  • Be aware of the time required. Any of these social sites will take a significant amount of time to maintain, nurture and grow. You must be prepared to interact with these communities on a daily basis.

  • Users will talk to you. Unless your intern is an expert on your organization, you may want to rethink having him or her manage your social marketing just because they are 'young.' Users within the communities you join will want to talk and communicate with you. They will probably yell, praise, question, dismiss and love you. All at the same time.

  • Look around. See what other companies and organizations are doing on the social site you want to join. How often are the posting? How are they using the site? What is the response?
Remember, if you are ready to enter the social scene, enjoy it. After all, the travel industry is all about communicating with travelers...but instead of across a desk, it is across a social site.

Have any additional thoughts on the subject? Did we miss a website for the list? Let us know in the comments section.

11 comments:

Travelista said...

Wow, Troy! Thank you SO much for this incredibly, incredibly valuable post!!
Very much appreciated....

Grazi,
Jess

Troy said...

Hi Jess,

You are very welcome, glad you enjoyed the post.

Keep in mind, there are a lot more of these types of sites out there. Plus, new ones keep launching all of the time.

Keep an eye out for them and protect your 'social URL.'

Keep reading,
Troy

William D. said...

If you're a foreigner and are gonna on a Tibet Travel or Tibet Tour, it's better to consult professionals on Tibet Travel Information or Tibet Travel Service. They may advise you to take part in the Tibet Travel Packages or Tibet Tour Packages because it's cheaper and the cheapest way of traveling is by Tibet Train. But travel abroad often needs to apply for a series of procedures such as visa, of course you need a Tibet Travel Permit. A Tibet Travel Operator or Tibet Travel Agency is the best way to choose for you.

Cheap Flights to Dubai said...

Dubai is the best & so beautiful place to travel i have ever seen. Here any one can book Flights to Dubai at crystaltravel.co.uk or also can call us on 0800 368 0300 to get cheap flights to Dubai.

Flights to Perth said...

Dazzling city of Perth is an integral part of Australia. Incredible beaches, blend of modern skyscrapers

and historical buildings, and museums making you aware of the art and culture of the city are few

attractions of Perth. Take cheap flights to

Perth
to enjoy vacation of your life. Our Perth flights are available from all the

leading airports in the UK.

Hong Kong Flights said...

This metropolis is well known for its beauty and amazing lifestyle. The best way to reach out here is by taking flights to Hong Kong. Some of the must visit places include Ocean Park, Victoria Bay, Disneyland, Victoria Peak, Ladies Market, Wong Tai Sin Temple, Sheung Wan District, Jumbo Kingdom and many others. We provide Cheap flights to Hong Kong from all leading airports in UK.

Flights to Melbourne said...

Melbourne is one of the top destinations in the world; Tourists from across the globe explore through the city and enjoy the beautiful picturesque cityscape. Take Melbourne Flights right away with us. Its opulence and elegance marks it as a regal land diverse from others. Visit Crystal Travels to spend a hassle-free vacation with Cheap Flights to Melbourne.

Cheap Flights to Sydney said...

The key to planning a great Sydney holiday is to plan ahead as Flights to Sydney are available at very cheap rates with us. And book Sydney Flights with us and spend quality holidays in this magical city that is blessed with some of the most spectacular attractions of the world.

Flights to Melbourne said...

Brisbane city provides a unique experience to tourists who get flights to Brisbane. The major attractions of the city are the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary, the Story Bridge Adventure Climb, the Old Government house and the Queensland Art Gallery. Despite the recent floods, the metropolis has seen no reduction in the number of travelers by easily overcoming the disaster. Get your Cheap Brisbane Flights with www.crystaltravel.co.uk.

Flights to Auckland said...

The metropolis of Auckland is a well planned one and has great transportation facilities so as to provide no hindrances for the people who get cheap flights to Auckland to visit its attractions. The city, being a large one flourishes with attractions ranging from bays and beaches to harbors and islands. It is often termed as an unforgettable heritage experience’ by some of the tourists who get Auckland flights from their hometown to come here.

Flights to Bogota said...

Bogota is located in the heart of Colombia and is the administrative hub of the country. Being a place of prime importance it is well renowned all over the world. It has many places of attractions that delight all the visitors by its beauty and grandeur. The place has much to explore and must be visited for an unforgettable experience. Those planning to take will cheap flights to Bogota have a great time here. It is full of surprises for its guests that make the journey of all those taking Bogota flights full of fun and adventure.