By Nicole Petrak, New Media & Assistant Editor to AdventureTravelNews
I’ve been combing through all the “Top Ten” online marketing trends lists that have flooded my inbox since December, and narrowed it down to two lists I think are pretty solid. We’ve already talked about mobile this month, in Who’s Purchasing Travel Based on Social Media? Depends on Where they Live, so check that out for info on that topic. Meanwhile here are my other top picks:
From Entrepreneur’s 10 Online Marketing Trends for 2013
Local marketing goes mainstream – Online and mobile tools continue to get better at giving small, local companies the resources to advertise, run and professionalize their businesses more competitively than ever before. Entrepreneur thinks 2013 will see increased successes locally as these resources get more sophisticated.
Travel industry takeaway: As geolocation and real-time local advertising increase, the trend towards booking activities and even accommodations during a trip will continue to grow as well, and smaller local businesses will get a larger slice of the pie.
As the web turns visual, design will become more important – As social media and marketing both trend towards eye-catching content, having beautiful, fresh design work on your sites will become key. Luckily this is an area where the adventure travel industry has a lot of great material to work with.
Bottom line: Design resources are getting less expensive. If your imagery is dated, especially in your niche or market, it’s time for a refresh.
The rise of gamification – This trend has been building for awhile but Entrepreneur expects it to begin to flow into businesses beside the Fortune 500 this year, calling it a “must consider” for everyone from start-ups upward.
Travel industry takeaway: Gamification can be incredibly effective for building loyalty or referral programs, and is also a great fit for a variety of social media campaigns. For further info and travel industry examples, read our previous article on gamification.
Top picks from the Social Media Examiner’s 7 Social Media Trends for Consumers: New Research
Pinterest is getting hotter – The social ‘pinning’ platform has had the highest increase of both audience and time spent on site of any social network across all Internet devices, according to this article. As its popularity soars, remember that this site takes the win for referral links and leading people to make purchases. Most of the stats on this are in retail products, but given the site’s heavy lean towards inspirational content, it’s a great platform for travel companies.
Bottom-line: If you don’t have Pinterest, you don’t need to run out and invest time there – yet. Stay tuned this year for data on conversion of bigger ticket items such as travel, but note the site’s popularity as a reminder that the more visual content you can start creating and collecting for your company, the better. Don’t forget video. If you do have a Pinterest account, engage with people who re-pin your content as potential leads. Check out our intro article, Trend Alert: Pinterest for Brands, as our follow-up piece Pinterest Update: New Business Account Options Open the Door to Creative Marketing and Branding. ATTA Members can also view a how-to webinar in our Webinar Library on The HUB.
Customer Care gives way to Social Care – According to Social Media Examiner’s study, one in three consumers prefers to contact a company via social channels versus calling on the phone. The article states, “[people] are most likely to comment or ask a question about a company’s products or services on the company’s Facebook page (29%), on their own personal Facebook profile (28%), on official company blogs (15%), on Twitter (personal handle – no mention of company, 14%) and on Twitter (company’s handle, 13%).” The challenge with social care is that people are increasingly expecting immediate feedback – and when they don’t get it, or find it insufficient, then you can end up with negative commentary about your brand floating around the social sphere.
Bottom-line: Fit your presence to the network. Provide relevant info in a more professional tone on LinkedIn, while making content more personally interesting on Facebook, for example. The more targeted the ad, the better it will be received. And remember – providing useful, inspiring or informational content that benefits the viewer is always a win.