SOCIAL MEDIA SHOWCASE
Some Highlights By Guest Blogger Courtney Crawford
PERCEPTIONS BEFORE THE CONFERENCE
Growing up in the 21st Century, I never really gave much thought to the sudden adaptation to new technology as it went from brick phone used solely for ringing landlines and any other “mobile” phones… at best, texting and the snake game became available. To the modern day technology like the go-pro, the Samsung S7, the I-phone 5S and software apps that can be used on computers and mobile phones.
Technology constantly seems to change from a monthly to a yearly basis on a variety forms of hardware and software.
The onslaught of what is available can almost seem to be overwhelming. And because of this, it has become the social norm to take each change in stride as it occurs and adopt it to how we use the technology without giving much thought in how we can strategically use social media for the sake of innovation and reaching out to other communities or organisations.
There seems to be a broad general understanding of the purpose behind Facebook, Instagram, twitter, YouTube, and snapchat as we have been left to figure out how the technology and social media operates on our own. Even with the curiosity of learning how to use all of the new technology and social media platforms; they have been designed to allow users to embrace it to meet the user’s needs and interests.
As a result of this, users such as myself, have ended up using Facebook, twitter and Instagram as a form of personal gallery to share our thoughts and images of things we have seen or experienced throughout our lives or to stay in contact with people we meet along the way. And this design of use is highly successful on its own.
For a while, I felt like the convenience of using Facebook, twitter and Instagram for personal use to share things with friends. I never developed the understanding of connecting with other businesses and promoting their services or products through my social media accounts.
It never occurred to me. But in my current situation, as a second year student studying a Bachelor of International Tourism Management at Auckland University of Technology, I felt that my networking reach had been limited and was stagnating at roughly 200 people on Twitter.
ATTENDING THE CONFERENCE CHANGED EVERYTHING
I was curious about the possibilities of how I could use these social media platforms for the benefit of establishing a reputation for myself within the tourism industry. So when I heard about an event in Queenstown known as the New Zealand Social Media Training Travel Showcase, I jumped at the opportunity to attend with the hopes of hearing people such as Allan Dixon, Talman Madsen, Mark Gee, Kaikoura Tourism, and Keith Keller talk about the secrets and tricks to their success of using Instagram, Snapchat, Blogging/ Videos and twitter that resulted in becoming internationally recognised as adventurers and travellers in the tourism industry.
I wasn’t sure if my attendance at the event was the right timing. I felt like the conference was mainly targeted to already established businesses that needed a competitive social media edge to broaden their reach of followers and customers interested in what they have to offer. And as a student, I was not yet professionally established and so I felt out of place. But as the day progressed I started to notice how there were ideas that each speaker presented that were universally capable of being adapted to all sorts of social media and methods of approach.
Keith Keller (To Tweet Or Not To Tweet)
QUEENSTOWN HIGHLIGHTS (PODCAST)
LAKE TEKAPO HIGHLIGHTS (PODCAST)
— Courtney Crawford (@CRJCrawfordNZ) June 16, 2016
Keith is what you would call, an influential twitter growth hacker and has a number of accounts on twitter as proof. He has three effective strategies that simplify the method of using Twitter to your advantage of growing a network of followers who are interested in the same topics as you are.
The first strategy is the “To Tweet Or Not To Tweet” – the question of what to tweet or when it should be tweeted. Which should always be considered because there should be a strategy is to what content you advertise to your followers.
To tweet or not to tweet acknowledges that Twitter is a global network. This idea is essential. You can network and communicate with almost anybody around the world with the chance to promote a product or service for them/ to them; or build a professional relationship with them in the hopes of a possible future project interaction between two or more businesses. The point is, the possibilities of what networking can do, are almost endless.
Once you can see how this global community behaves and interacts with each other, the easier it will be for you to become involved too.
And a great way to draw attention to a topic idea is to create a hashtag.
For example, you want to advertise the idea of how to use twitter effectively for tourism.
Resulting hashtag: #TwitterTips4Tourism.
If you continuously tweet this hash-tag whilst tweeting your tip; it will draw the attention to the other twitter users, and if they click on the hash-tag it will send them to a page full with similar topic tweets. It is an effective shortcut to advertise your points or ideas at no charge at all.
The second strategy is a 5 step process Keith calls “Twitter 101”
(1) Create a strong bio
keep the bio short but right to the point of what you are going to be using twitter for. People will want to know what you are going to tweet about as it will be one of the defining reason for people to follow you.
(2) See Twitter as an information network.
There are plenty of people out there tweeting about the same thing as you. So build up on your information and connect with others who can offer information that you can re-tweet to your followers.
It is important for the sake of competition to become that go-to resource. Try to become that one business or one person that people will remember you as a resource that will have the answers to their questions.
(3) Create a compelling bio
insert a profile picture and a cover photo to advertise the theme of your business or twitter account. And your followers like to see who they are talking to.
(4) Remember The 80/20 Rule
This is all about the topics you tweet. This rule is set to mean for every 80 tweets that you release about what you’re doing, what the town is doing, what others are doing….promoting other ideas and re-tweeting what other people say, you tweet an idea or message about your own business.
So broken down it is; every 4 tweets that you’ve tweeted about someone else. You release one tweet about a product, service that you or your business offers.
(5) Share, Share, Share.
Pretty basic right there; tweet, retweet, retweet… keep the ideas and other people’s tweets going.
The more you share, the larger numbers of people seeing those tweets. And through retweeting tweets with hash-tags, it will draw more attention on those hashtag pages.
The third and final strategy is called “Twitter Magic 123″
This is the breakdown of how to follow people and get them to follow you back. Because believe it or not, the more often you follow people, the more attention you draw to your account/ twitter profile page.
This strategy is broken down into three methods.
(1) Follow First
This is all about you finding people that you want to follow.
There are two ways of doing this… Either the 30/30 ratio or the 60/60 ratio.
Which means you can either follow 30 people a day for 30 days; review your followers and then repeat. Or follow 60 followers a day for 60 days.
(2) Follow Back
Keeping to the method of say, 60 followers a day, review your followers and follow people that are of interest to you. This will strengthen your network.
(3) Follow Up
This is where the communication starts, between yourself and those who you have connected with.
And it can happen either as a public tweeting conversation or through private direct messages.
It is a great way to discuss business or ideas.
Hearing and seeing Allan talk about the idea of setting a theme to your Instagram and being consistent to it- this theory stuck with me and I began to notice how I could adapt this personally.
As an example, Allan’s Instagram is about selfies with animals that uncannily have the ability to smile. And I have to admit, the photos are pretty adorable. But the secret to his success is to the credit of his strategy.
Some of the core ideas from his strategy included:
- Set a theme that people can relate to easily and stick to that theme. Don’t stray from it.
- Be consistent with how often and when you make a post. As it results in a level of predictability that followers to keep up with. They know and expect you to make a post, which causes them to come on Instagram and find your post. It keeps them attracted.
- Be careful with the layout – it calls it the four S’s. Shapes, Simplicity,
- Final point is proportion layout; it breaks it down to thirds. If you place the main object of focus at the intersection of the Instagram third breakdown – it attracts the eye of the beholder.
But the core lesson or challenge that Allan Dixon (Daxon) taught me was that it wasn’t necessary to sit around and wait until later on in life to find a suitable time in life to be actively involved in social media on a professional level.
There are things that can be achieved right now… in this moment, in the capacity and connections that you have right now. It is all about having a cognitive shift at how you look at using twitter and Instagram during your interactions socially or when you are travelling and actively being involved in attractions or staying in a form of accommodation.
Take a photo or tweet something, and tag the connection to the business that you are experience… it is likely that will go viral if done correctly. And that is what is essential here; making sure that the execution of your strategy is following the key ideas and secrets that result in the enjoyment of your followers.
Talman Madsen (Snapchat)
The next lesson that I took on board is to the credit of Talman who is a wiz at snapchat. He began his adventure into travel social media through an adventure that resulted in him backpacking through New Zealand.
As he continued to speak, he was explaining how before he even started backpacking; he found himself procrastinating from starting his journey through always finding something else that needed to be done or collected first.
That was until he realised it was time to step out of his comfort zone and just go do what he’s been planning to do.
His message of being prepared and willing to step outside of his comfort zone, doing something new and unknown really resonated with me. As I really wanted to make the most out of the conference experience and adapt it to how I behaved and reacted to opportunities that were available.
AFTER THE CONFERENCE
Leaving Queenstown, my perspective about social media had been changed. And for the better too, rather than feeling reluctant to want to use twitter, Instagram and snapchat; I was actually motivated and eager to make some active difference with how I use social media.
I have to admit, being challenged by Talman to step up and do something out of my comfort zone played a role in not being reluctant to actively do something that I am capable of doing but for one reason or another haven’t.
Also through adapting Allan’s theory of being consistent with the theme and consistent when you upload; I figured out it was time to restructure my Instagram and my twitter.
So with my Instagram, instead of making it a personal gallery of selfies and scenery shots, with a mix of other themes. I deleted those but kept photos of my toy kiwi bird named Barry. So now my Instagram is pictures of the kiwi bird in various locations around the world in front of locations or iconic attractions.
This has meant that people know what I am going to post pictures of but they don’t know where Barry will be location wise in the photos.
As a result my followers have gone up by 10 in 10 days, and noticeably, they are reacting to the photos more often.
As for my twitter, I felt the username Kiwimuppet, was a little…. Informal.
Well, it is. So I thought, I will link my Kiwimuppet twitter account to my Instagram so that I can connect followers that way… and then I started a new twitter account- 9 days ago on the 30th of May.
This new twitter account is CRJCrawfordNZ, and through using Keith’s strategies (ALL THREE)… I set a theme to it. I am trying to market/ advertise destinations around the world but drawing the attention to quirky places that stereotypically travel agents don’t use in their advertising to sell a tourist destination for a holiday.
Put it this way, when you think of Paris; you think of the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, The Louvre, fashion, cuisine and lights/love.
But what about Sacre Cour (Sacred Heart Cathedral)? What about hearing of traditional café’s or restaurants that should be experienced as part of embracing the culture? What about the variety of accommodation available?
What about hearing how to use the transport system, taxis, cultural traditions and expectations that the locals have of you? What about hearing that you need to wait in line underground during the summer period for hours on end just so that you can go stand underneath the Arc De Triomphe?
This sort of information isn’t common knowledge and travel agents don’t bother to tell you as they expect you to figure it out for yourself. And truth is, sometimes the extra unexpected discovery can sour the overall outlook of the visit to the destination.
So this is what I want to do with my new twitter account but I am also attempting to do some social media marketing (in general terms) of how to use twitter. And here are the results. Using the 60/60 method, it has been 9 days as of the moment I am writing this. I have followed 510 people, and I have 227 followers. IN 9 DAYS!!!!
So maybe my theory is right, through the overload of technology information, it has left some of us disorientated and not sure how to use twitter or other forms of social media. But through constructive strategies, the results are truly showing.
This overall experience has been a total education. It has turned around my perspective about social media and motivated me to seriously consider the influence of twitter from the view that I would be able to professionally establish myself in the tourism industry through social media and show how capable I am at marketing.
Which I hope will benefit the process of establishing an actual career in 18 months-time when I graduate from Auckland University of Technology.
MEET COURTNEY CRAWFORD
Courtney Crawford is currently a student at Auckland University of Technology studying a Bachelor of International Tourism Management majoring in Business Management.
And has so far, travelled to Australia, Germany, France, United States and the United Kingdom.
In the mean-time is actively involved in social media marketing on twitter @CRJCrawfordNZ – networking with travellers internationally and interacting with tourism companies on the global scale. Through connecting this with Instagram posts that regale the journeys of a little kiwi bird on Instagram @kiwimuppet
Through combining the two of these, will be providing a blog entry to market the culture and experience of destinations around the world to entertain and broaden the understanding of what each destination can offer to the variety in types of travellers around the world.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES YOU MAY ENJOY
Twitter Is The Information Network (Video)
“TWITTER MAGIC 123”
Growth Hacking Your Twitter Marketing!!
(1) Follow First
(2) Follow Back
(3) Follow Up
OVER 30 MORE FREE PODCASTS HERE!!