Fi Morrison-Arnthal, founder of Progressive Travel Training, learns to #Go #easy #with #the #hashtags from her teenage kids
As a parent of four, I’m often astounded by the amount of time my children, aged from 13 to 20, can spend on social media.
I find myself commenting that it’s a waste of their time and headspace and being critical of the frivolous content they’re consuming.
With only sporadic access to home learning at the height of the pandemic, my children defaulted to spending the day on a spectrum of social media channels.
It was easy to recognise when my daughter Lottie was on TikTok, as it sounded like a baby elephant was jumping around upstairs while she followed the latest dance craze. Anyone who has a teenager will know what I mean.
While my children were mass-consuming social media in lockdown, I was developing a sister business to our travel recruitment company, Progressive Travel Recruitment.
As a qualified learning and development specialist, I always wanted to take my passion for training, along with my knowledge of the industry, and develop a soft skills e-learning business, and so Progressive Travel Training was born.
As I was designing our initial suite of 12 interactive courses, my children were dancing, snapping, engaging with influencers and watching countless YouTube videos. I felt frustrated and that they were wasting their time. That was until the time came to create a social media campaign to launch Progressive Travel Training.
During a dinner table discussion the days, weeks and months my kids had spent on social media began to show its value.
Like many of us in the travel industry, I was familiar with Facebook and LinkedIn but my experience with other platforms was limited. Within hours, my teenagers had switched me on to the power of Instagram images, the benefits of a YouTube channel, and shown me how creating a Snapchat account for the business could help us engage with travel professionals. As they wandered off to their rooms that evening, it was with an air of superiority!
With 3.5 billion people active on social media, travel consultants need to ensure they are leveraging these platforms in the right way to effectively nurture and grow their customer base.
As the saying goes, “to be a good fisherman you need to fish where the fish are”; agents who are angling for new, repeat or referral business simply can’t afford not to be on social media – it is via these mediums that an abundance of existing and future prospects are to be found.
Chances are that many in the trade will have teenagers of their own, or at least know of one in their broader circle. There is great opportunity in looking to Gen Z as a source of digital marketing expertise, as their invaluable insights could elevate a social media campaign into something much more impactful.
Five of the key takeaways that I took from the teenagers in my life are:
- Consider that each platform has a different tone, treat each as a unique entity and create content accordingly. You wouldn’t create the same posts for Snapchat as LinkedIn. Understand which channel your target audience is most likely to be on. If you’re promoting a cruise to the over 50s, Facebook might be best. If you’re marketing to youth travellers, TikTok could be more suitable.
- Be authentic. Content doesn’t always have to be highly-polished, as long as it feels real – your audience want to see the person or people behind the logo and that will help them connect more deeply with your brand. Interact with your audience, engage in two-way dialogue and be approachable
- Develop your brand and be consistent with your visual identity – logo, brand and handles – to amplify impact across your chosen channels. If you have wildly different usernames on the various channels, you will be much harder to find.
- Set up a content calendar to help you plan your social posts. Make a note of special days that might be relevant to your audience – Valentine’s Day, World Oceans Day – and the start of the summer holidays, for example – and use content tools to help you get organised. Experiment and try posting at different times of the day to see what works for your audience and gives you the highest levels of engagement.
- #Go #easy #with #the #hashtags. Research has found that the more hashtags used, the less engagement posts receive, as they can be off-putting and users find an abundance of them jarring. Select just the most relevant words for your post and campaign and focus just on hashtagging those.
These are just some of the things I’ve learnt from the Z Gen, and listening to my teens really helped us successfully launch Progressive Travel Training to the industry. But perhaps the greatest learning of all was to be more tolerant of my children’s social media consumption. It’s a great business asset, after all!
Progressive Travel Training (PTT) offers e-learning courses custom designed for the travel industry