Some Travel & Tourism brands still struggle with understanding the ROI of social media, whether due to a very competitive landscape or because conversion is relatively low from social networks. Can you tell us if or why you think ROI can be high for these brands if they invest properly in social?
Gary: The reason they’re still confused is that 99.9% of businesses stink at social media marketing. Early on there were a lot of hucksters in the industry pedaling bad information, and that made it hard to break out. These days, any airline, or hotel chain, or board of tourism that is properly educated in Facebook’s targeted ad products would never even ponder any supposed “lack of ROI” in social.
One of the main challenges for T&T brands on social is conversion, because unlike FMCGs, travel products (like trips) require more thought and commitment from consumers. How can travel brands innovate in their marketing on social to grab their audiences’ attention and build a loyal following in all the noise?
Gary: By recognizing that they’re spending all their time and money on TV, radio, print, and events, and that all they need is a relative shift in dollars to see better results in Facebook and Pinterest for less money.
Another challenge for conversion are appropriate sales tools on social networks. For instance, Facebook has lacked in terms of providing proper Page widgets to allow brands to convert their customers directly on their Pages. Meanwhile, Twitter has recently released ad products to allow purchasing in users’ timelines to a few brands. Do you think if proper tools are available, travel brands can crack the conversion problem?
Gary: Of course. The truth is that Facebook and Pinterest already have dramatic conversion for real practitioners and experts, so those products will only increase it.
Disregarding for a moment that each brand is different and has different resources, if you had to choose just one network that was the best option for travel brands to put most of their effort behind, which would it be?
Gary: Facebook…I’m sorry if I sound like a broken record, but Facebook is the right place for people who are asking these kinds of questions, and who want direct conversion attribution quickly. If you want to see the fastest results, Facebook is the place to be.
Considered a quintessential maven of modern-day marketing, Gary is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-selling author as well as a self-trained wine and social media expert. With an entrepreneurial spirit and a clear recognition of the emergence of e-commerce in 1997, Gary launched Winelibrary.com and helped grow his family business from $3 million to $45 million by 2005. Although Gary does not consider himself to be a “techie,” in 2005, he began video blogging and established himself as a true social media trailblazer. Now he’s focused on VaynerMedia, a digital agency he launched in 2009 that advises the likes of GE and PepsiCo and has grown to nearly 500 employees. An early investor in Twitter and Uber, he also launched a VC fund to invest in startups like Birchbox and Medium. Gary may be loud, but his influence is real, and he isn’t going away.