Social media is a confusing platform for many tourism businesses that are new to marketing and new to technical online programs. Most of you have taken the plunge and we take our hats off to you. In fact, we are on our feet applauding as this is still new to many of tourism businesses and they are doing a great job at keeping thier guests and customers informed.
The ME or WE discussion
On a typical day, we recieve many emails from tourism businesses around the world asking for a review of their social media sites and feedback as to what we think they are doing right and where they can improve. After doing this for a few years now, we find that there is a ME, and WE issue that many tourism businesses are confused about. The voice on their social media sites and networks leans more towards the ME when it should lean more towards the WE. This difference when you shift your online voice from ME to WE is astounding and fans, followers and likes seem to shift when you make the shift from ME to WE.
When to use the ME in social media
Personal branding is all the rage now that people have the opportunity to build their own brand through their personal profiles on social media networks. Hey, that is what I do, for my personal brand, but it is not what I do for my businesses.
The ME in social media is appropriate when you want to build your personal brand. This applies to speakers, writers, consultants, bloggers, one man bands and anyone hoping to build their personal brand that represents their work or thier skill. Social networks are valuable when you are applying for jobs and when you are selling yourself and your skills. The ME approach is perfect for this but is not perfect for a tourism business that employs many ME’s.
When to use WE in social media
The WE is a very different voice where you build a community, get people involved with your brand and create brand ambassadors for your tourism business, destination or travel tours. The WE voice is when you share, care and nurture relationships through your online social networks. When you are a WE, people want to be a part of you. When you are a ME as a business, not a personal brand, then people feel that you are just talking AT them, not engaging with them.
The best way to create your WE voice
Ask a question, look for opinions, comment on others people posts, like other businesses and engage on your sites. Be helpful, nice and kind. Look for opportunities to share your knowledge and expertise. Don’t sell. As soon as you sell, you turn from WE to ME, unless you are very, very clever. To be safe, stick with the no sell rule and stay in the WE.
Focus on your destination and neighbors, focus on things happening around you, not things happening to you. use your search options on any of the social networks and find out who you can help. If you are helping and being thoughtful, providing information and resolving issues, you are in the WE. If your information resolves a problem before any one even knows they could have one, even better. You have become the best WE on social media.
The dangers of ME in travel and tourism marketing
If you own a company that supplies tourism and travel services your number one priority is to build your brand, not you as an owner but your brand. If at any t ime you want to take a break, sell your business or pass more responsibility to your staff, people will always recognize the brand no matter who is behind the wheel, the counter or on the other end of the phone. If you build a ME then you are the brand and your abscence will hurt your revenues.
If people see your brand as ME, they will distrust your ability to listen to their needs, deliver services that they would like to have or provide a vacation that is catered to them. The ME can drive people from your brand, the WE draws people to your brand.
Travel and tourism is about THEM, the guest, the visitor, the passerby, the client, the traveler. what we do as travel and tourism businesses is deliver services for visitors, it is all about THEM, it has nothing to do with US. Travel and tourism businesses are selling a destination first and an experience second, an experience for THEM, not ME.
Travel and Tourism is all about WE
Think about your last vacation. Who was it about, was it about the people providing the service or was it about your experience as a guest. It was about the WE; how people made you feel when you stayed with them, played with them or toured with them. It was about how you felt about your experience and the best experience was when you felt connected as WE not when a business decided to make things convenient for their schedule, a mistake that makes it all about ME. DMO’s are all about WE, destinations can only be about WE. There are no ME destinations, anywhere.
The guest is the ME, the business is the WE
Review your social media networks and see if you can see the WE in your voice or if you have leaned to the side of ME. Be honest with yourself as this is the difference between a good social media campaign for a tourism business verses an okay or failing social media campaign in travel marketing.