Respond to social media - Hello, can you hear me tagging you (courtesy Internet Archive Book Images Bell Telephone Magazine on Flickr Commons)

It is an ongoing problem.

Of all the things about social media in travel and tourism that drive us bananas, this one is at the top….

No answer or response from destinations, attractions, or hotels when they are tagged (mentioned) on social.

Why does this still happen, we wonder? After all, social media for customer service in travel, plus real-time visitor interaction, is mainstream communications practice.

** Maybe they don’t have notifications turned on, so they “missed the call” simply because they never knew the conversation was happening.

** Maybe they know about it, but are always “too busy” to respond to direct, public online interactions with former, current, or future visitors or hotel guests.

Note – hey, we ALL have meetings, projects, crises, and other reasons to drop the occasional ball, but that should be the exception, not the norm.

** Maybe they know about it, but don’t understand that a response is expected, and that they look bad when they ignore such outreach.

None of the above are very comforting to consider.

We wouldn’t keep squawking about this if we didn’t still see it ALL THE TIME. It is 2017; handling social media is not new anymore.

Expectations for the telephone are clear – answer when it rings at your Visitor Center, hotel, or business. Expectations for social media are also clear – answer when someone “waves” at you by tagging you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc.

Example: we spoke with a travel blogger recently who wrote a blog post (high authority blog, lots of dofollow links out, quality write-up, plenty of good photos) about places to eat brunch in a lot of different towns in a particular state.

On Facebook, he tagged every single restaurant featured in the post, and he also tagged every single DMO where the restaurants were located.

Result?

Of the six eateries tagged, only two responded by Liking his Facebook post and leaving a comment. Only one of the two shared it over to their own Page followers.

Of the six DMOs tagged, plus the state tourism board, only three Liked it, and of those, one left a comment and one shared it with their Page followers.

Why wouldn’t a restaurant or DMO always share positive media coverage? It’s free advertising, and they don’t have to do any work other than share!

Finally, NONE of them left a comment on the actual brunch blog post itself, to maybe say “glad you enjoyed our brunch” or “thanks for visiting our town.”

Folks, we simply must do better than this.

If you’re a CVB or DMO, and you almost always respond quickly and properly to online shout-outs, then that is terrific and kudos to you. We know it is hard work. Please assist your tourism partners so they learn to do so, as well. They are the ones who ultimately deliver the full visitor experience.

Need help with this topic? Such training and education about social media is exactly what we do. Lesson One of our online course is all about social listening and responding, and we do in-person workshops, too.

Have thoughts, feedback, or a suggestion? Leave a comment down below!

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