July 2011 – Integration is the Right Hand Meeting the Left

Right hand connects with left (courtesy Hamed Saber at Flickr CC)What is the best way to integrate social media into the rest of your communications work?

If we were taking bets on one of the questions that we get more than almost any other these days, it would be that one.

The good news is that simply talking about integration means that tourism and hospitality professionals are moving away from seeing social media as some mildly freakish, brand-new thing, and are realizing that it is an outgrowth of what they’ve always done: connect with visitors and guests.

Make no mistake, though; the social web is notoriously disinterested in organizational charts, wire diagrams and hair-splitting between marketing and PR.  Visitors want answers to their questions, they want them RIGHT NOW and your job title is the least of their concerns.

This means that your entire organization needs to redouble its efforts to provide customer service training across the board, for all members, because these days you never know where someone is going to plug into your CVB, DMO or Tourist Board through a tweet, a Facebook comment, a Flickr photo or a YouTube video.

The right hand MUST talk to the left.

This is a leadership and management challenge, as it has always been since, yes, before even the telegraph or the telephone, much less email and social media.

Integration means that not only must social communication be woven into the fabric of your daily work, it also means that you must bring at least a basic understanding of the tools into your entire office so that you can serve customers more effectively.

Yes, even your Visitor Center volunteers and greeters. Yes, even your 60-something receptionist …. in fact, especially your receptionist, often the first in-person point of contact for queries.

—->  Everyone should know the URL of your website. We wouldn’t state this obvious thing if we didn’t have to. Sigh.

—->  Everyone should know your Facebook Page URL, and know at least what the Page looks like and how it works.

—->  Everyone should know your Twitter handle, and should visit the stream occasionally to see what you’re talking about with visitors.

—->  Everyone should know about your latest blog posts, and be able to direct queries there.

And so on. Get out of the knowledge silos – the social web has no patience for them and neither should you.

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Flummoxed by SEO?

(Update: This was a terrific webinar and many have purchased the on-demand version, but we need to do it again with updated information, so we’ve removed the links. Stay tuned!)

If you are creating content online, you want people to be able to find it. That means optimizing it for search engines, aka Search Engine Optimization, aka SEO.

We can help with that!

Our next Tourism Currents webinar is with Andy Hayes of Travel Online Partners, and it’s all about SEO “for the rest of us.”

Please join us on Tuesday, July 26 at 2 pm CST for a 90 minute webinar plus live Q&A – Tourism SEO Basics: Gaining Traction and Getting Sales.

Of course, the slides and a recording of the webinar will be available for you afterwards, for review or if you can’t make it in person.

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Two days and four ways to make an impact online

We’re continuing preparations for the Tourism track at BlogWorld and New Media Expo in Los Angeles, CA November 3-5, and we’d love to have you join us!

No other event gives you these four incredible opportunities: social media education for you, networking with thousands of bloggers and content creators, contact with the latest social marketing vendors and a connection with the new online audience.

Our confirmed Tourism track speakers for 2011 are:

We will be closely integrated with the Travel track this year, and are also planning “speed dating” sessions so that you can more easily connect with bloggers who might be interested in your destination, attraction or lodging.

Recently announced BlogWorld conference keynote speakers include Peter Shankman and Amber Naslund.

Use our code TC20 for 20% off of the price of any pass, and go here for more info and to register.

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