|Image courtesy of Facebook
The almighty Thumb
Social media: Part of a balanced travel decision
By Aaron Ogg
How do you decide what destination, attraction or activity is perfect for your group tour? Perhaps you consult colleagues, business acquaintances and assorted reviews. Maybe you do some comparison shopping. Or possibly the location works so well that it outweighs other pros, such as low price point and highly customizable options.
Here’s what I bet you don’t base your decision on: A company’s “like” count on Facebook.
Sure, it’s great to see a brand engaged with its audience, but not all the people who represent those “likes” are necessarily … let’s see, how do I phrase this diplomatically … real people.
There are scads of companies that sell Facebook “likes” — one thousand, five thousand, depends on how much you’re willing to spend. A product or service looks uber hip on the surface when its Facebook page boasts a gazillion approving thumbs. Unfortunately, there’s often a bunch of icky stuff underneath the thumbnails, such as spam and other grime.
So there’s that. There’s also the possibility that, even if the likes are legit, they represent a demographic that doesn’t exactly match your customers’ tastes. A busload of student spring breakers might be more inclined to “like” a destination’s page than a busload of seniors, for example.
|Photo: Singularity Hub
Brazilian fashion retailer C&A is showing the number of Facebook "likes" its products have in real time on their hangers. Personally, daaahling, I never wear anything with fewer than 2,000.
None of this is to say that social media savvy should not be a factor when making an informed purchasing decision. Much can be gleaned from observing how well a brand interacts with its followers, how responsive it is to real-time requests for information or complaints. It can often be a good gauge of how quickly the company might return a phone call, how warmly it will receive your group or how quickly it will correct an error or oversight.
Like my fictitious great grandpa always used to say after his crude time machine brought him to May 15, 2012: “A good jacket doesn’t need a bunch of confounded Facebook likes. It just fits.”
Aaron Ogg is Group Tour Media’s content marketing director. He resides in Grand Rapids, Mich., and enjoys social media, Apple products, games of chance, punctuality and the occasional meal of sushi. Follow him on Twitter, @aarongrouptour.