The State of Social Media in Ecotourism

How to Manage Social Media Posts in 3 Easy Steps

Managing and organizing social media posts is a big problem for most of us since it is not easy to find interesting and compelling content every day for each social media network. However, you can make things much more easier and effective just by following below mentioned 3 steps.

Step 1: Set your goals to organize your posts

Random postings like where you are, what you eat or your comments on your favorite show will grab attention in your personal social networks, however for your business you need more than that. Without goals, you can easily loose the direction you are heading in social media. Therefore, before you hit the road, have your map and pin the roads you want to pass through. Decide in which network you want to be and what you want to achieve with your social media marketing efforts.

Step 2: Organize your posts

Once upon a time in history, we used to use desk and wall calendars to organize our weekly/ monthly schedule by taking small notes on them. Why not use that old method for social media? This time Excel, Google or any other spreadsheet. Start with simple steps. Write the date (determine the desired post frequency) on the first column and then the social media networks you want to be active in. It would be a good idea to fill in the boxes a month in advance, so you will have more time to engage with results rather than thinking about what to post.

Step 3: Organize your content

Now you need to fill your spreadsheet with content that will grab your audience’s attention. Unless you have supernatural powers, you can’t see the flash market news beforehand. But still you can still decide what kind of information, notifications, news to post a month in advance. It is good to be flexible and write your generic posts and then revise them at the beginning of each week. Sometimes you can add instant posts, if there is last minute news. Make sure that you don’t use exactly the same words for Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Each social media channel uses a different format. For Twitter and Google+ make sure you use hashtags. For Facebook you can create longer posts and visual material, so it attracts more people.

You can always extend the list by trying your own methods. Social media is not an exact science. It is human relations after all, and we all learn by trying, failing and trying again. You are welcome to share ideas and comments on how to make using social media for small and medium businesses easier.

“Will it blend?”: an early social media success case study

It is not easy to grab your audience’s attention during a presentation, unless you feed it with interesting visual material. When a good story is combined with a few short videos and interesting pictures, people are more likely to follow you and respond to your questions. That is why I have chosen Blendtec‘s “Will it blend?” viral social media marketing campaign, for a talk in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to an audience of startup founders, the OpenCoffeeClub Kuala Lumpur.

Blendtec, a local commercial and home blender manufacturer from Utah has created one of the most successful viral social media marketing campaigns 6 years ago. Once a small manufacturer, currently active in 90+ countries, Blendtec is today known to millions with its crazy yet funny “Will it blend?” videos. What did Blendtec do to get it right and what is in their story for startups?

Blendtec’s Social Media Statistics

As the CEO of Blendtec Tom Dickson states, they have long been testing the quality of their blenders with “Will it blend?” style “experiments.” However, in 2006, still a small company, they decided to make short videos of their testing process and share them on YouTube. Between 2006 and 2008 their increasing brand awareness was returned as an influence on sales with 700% increase and they have 50K+ USD monthly revenue on YouTube ads. In 6 years, the Blendtec YouTube channel reaches up to 119 videos, 440K+ subscribers, 191M+ views. Their followers spend 1000 hours daily watching “Will it blend?” videos.

On Facebook, they have two different pages for Blendtec and “Will it blend?”. The distinction between the two makes it easier for the company to communicate with their followers and customers who have different demands and expectations. The Blendtec page is for sharing smoothie recipes, listening to customer complaints and sharing stories about the products, whereas the latter one is for commenting on and sharing the videos.

What is in Blendtec’s social media success for startups?

Lets make it clear! Blending an iphone or Chuck Norris in a Blendtec blender will not make you popular on social media, but having a good product in hand and finding the right network to market it will! If Blendtec’s products failed at some point, their popularity would easily go to the dustbin of forgotten internet celebrities. If they haven’t engaged with their followers and customers consistently, people would have started complaining. For the brands, social media marketing has the disadvantage of being open to everyone’s voice. People do talk about your success as well as your failure. And lastly, if they haven’t listened to the community, then they wouldn’t create such brand awareness which directly affects their sales.

Do you have any questions, comments? Please share here.

You can see the whole presentation on slideshare.

The State of Social Media in Ecotourism

Yesterday evening I attended a very inspiring symposium in Kuala Lumpur called “Awakening the Dreamer” by Pachamama Alliance. Pachamama Alliance is cooperating with indigenous people of  Amazon Rainforest to draw attention to the importance of just and sustainable living in harmony with nature. The Symposium is an inspiring tool to spread their word and call ‘us ordinary people’ to action for an environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling and socially just human presence on this planet.

Social Media for Ecotourism Businesses

After the Symposium, I was thinking about the concept of ecotourism for ecologically and socially responsible tourism and if there is any market for social media management specifically in ecotourism. I spent some time today doing research and here is what I have found:

General content available on ecotourism in specific social networks

Twitter: #EcoTourism is not a very popular hashtag. During the last week, #EcoTourism was used 22 times in tweets. Mostly, tourism agencies use the hashtag to deliver the news about their recent events.

Facebook: Compared to Twitter usage of the term Eco-Tourism, there is a more active presence in Facebook. There are several pages themed around geographical locations and defined as Non-Profit Organization, travel and leisure, company, local business and community page.

Youtube: Tourism business is mostly about sharing visual material to attract audiences which would then be turned into customers. There are about 12,000+ results for “ecotourism” on Youtube and most of the content consists of short amateur videos from travelers themselves.

LinkedIn: There is an active Ecotourism Network group for tourism and related professionals. It seems to be a good way for social media marketers that are interested in the field to create contacts with companies.

Social Media Management Tips for Ecotourism Businesses

  • Listen the community: As in any other business, finding the influential channels where people interact with each other and listening to them is the key to creating better content. Tourism forums and networks such as Tripadvisor are very up-to-date and reflect mostly real customer experiences.
  • Spark interest: Ecotourism businesses organize ecologically responsible and nature based tours and events for their customers. You need to emphasize the core values of your business and deliver interesting and catchy content with “a unique experience…” “have you ever…?” phrases. Blog and Facebook page can be very effective tools to call your prospects to action.
  • Tell stories visually: In a world of Google, before visiting a place everybody searches for the places to see, food to taste, things to do around. Be the source of the information and share creative short videos from your previous events and trips. You have to convince people to travel in a responsible way and you only have a few minutes before they leave your page. Visual material makes it easy for you audience to remember the service you offer. There is also a very high chance that people will share the pictures or videos with friends that grab their attention.

What do you think? What is your experience with social media for your ecotourism business? How does social media influence your customer relations and sales?

 

5 Tips to Starting a Social Media Management Startup on a Shoestring

1. Don’t spend too much time on a Business Plan, but just enough

As any other startup, a business plan is the first step to start a social media management business. Spending a few days on your business plan would make it easier for you to determine an overall strategy, tactics to follow and to foresee a rough financial plan for each quarter of the year. The point is not to spend days, but to put all your ideas and predictions together on a document. Remember, that is just to see your motivations, next sales and marketing steps and current financial situation. It will change and evolve in time and needs to be so, since the startups are dynamic and subject to rapid growth (we hope so). For a good and easy to apply business plan template you can check this one here from US Small Business Association (SBA). If that is not convenient for you, you can always go and ask Google.

Cost: A business plan doesn’t have to cost you any money, just some time. A few days is usually enough to write up a good draft of what you plan to be doing.

2. Get a website up as soon as possible

As a social media manager/ marketer you can not start a business without a webpage. In our age, it is the core necessity for almost any business, but having a social media business without a proper webpage is like having a restaurant without a kitchen. You provide social media management services, thus your social media presence is vital to your customers and prospects. Check Copyblogger Media website for some useful tips.

Cost: Domain name costs $ 3-10. Initial content writing for a business webpage can take 2-3 days.

3. Don’t hire a web/graphic designer, do it yourself!

I can hear you say you don’t have enough time and financial resources to create a catchy webpage. Good news is you don’t need to be a web-developer to have a decent, low-cost webpage. You can use WordPress themes from the web.  Don’t use a free one, because they might be linked to a website that is just aiming to generate traffic . Check out the compatibility of the theme with your business and how many times it was purchased. To find one suitable for social media management/ marketing business you can search themes like ‘agency’ or ‘corporate.’

Cost: You can purchase a WordPress theme for $10 to $60.

4. Get a low amount of decent looking cheap business cards

Hooray! Look at you! You moved only three steps forward so far, but you already have a business plan and a well designed webpage for your social media management startup. Now comes the fourth tip: business cards. You don’t need to spend a fortune on professionally designed and printed ones. Instead, go to your local printing house and get laser printed ones. 100 or so cards is enough to begin with since the digital age largely removes the need for printed marketing material. If you want to generate traffic to your website, make sure that your website adress is the second thing (your brand name-logo is the first) to be spotted on your business card.

Cost: This depends on the country you print your business cards. Check the local printing houses. Use social media to find businesses and friends’ comments on Facebook.

5. Move to a low cost country

Ok, the moving part might be a little bit tricky, but the up-side of running your own startup is you can work from pretty much anywhere! You are running a social media management/marketing business, so you can be location independent as long as there is a decent internet connection around. Freeing yourself from the limits of an office both reduces the startup costs and makes you connected with the social world outside.

Cost: Working from home is for free! The cost of working from a coffeeshop depends on how many cups of coffee or tea you have. Check for the best rated places in town on for instance Foursquare.

Here is the first blog post from DelightWave Social Media Management. You are more than welcome to share your own experiences, comments and ask questions. We need to listen first to progress and succeed.

Hello world!

Welcome to the brand new webpage of DelightWave. Watch out, we’ll soon start spreading our waves of delight across the social media world!