Keeping in Touch with Customers Over the Holidays – Automating Blog & Social Media Posts

A guest post by Gina Smith

You have big plans to take some time off during the holiday season. One problem – you don’t want to lose the momentum of your blog and Social Media posts you’ve worked so hard throughout the year to build. No worries – you can still wake up Christmas morning without having to worry about posting to your blog or social accounts. Below are some helpful tips to consider:

Automate Blog Posts
First, if you aren’t already doing so, set your blog to replicate across your social networks. Each blog provider is a little different, so consult the help section or ask your webmaster how to integrate with your Social Media sites. While you are looking into this, check the steps of how to automate your blog posts. Most blogs, including WordPress and Blogger, include this capability. Once you integrate and automate, you can set up content to post automatically throughout the holidays.

Establish a Calendar
Pre-plan what and when you want to post. If you will be on vacation, consider posts which are less likely to generate comments you will need to immediately address. Also, perhaps think about including posts which are less “business” related. Do you have a favorite recipe to share? Or, how about a list of last minute gift ideas. And, of course, don’t forget a fun greeting Christmas morning and a Happy New Year at midnight on January 1st.

Become Familiar with Facebook Scheduling
Did you know Facebook offers a scheduling feature right in the application itself? Here’s how to use it. First, write your post and attach any tags, photos, videos, etc. Next, look to lower left corner of your post. You will see a clock symbol. Click this to set the year, month, day and time. You can schedule posts up to 6 months in advance, and even backdate posts in your timeline.

Explore Third-Party Providers
There are a number of third party providers which you can use to automate your Social Media posts. One of the most popular is HootSuite, which is used by a number of larger corporations. There are both free and paid versions. Both allow you to manage and automate posts for a number of Social Media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, Google+ Pages, and even WordPress, among others. The paid version includes analytics, additional social profiles, and other neat features. Buffer and TweetDeck are also popular third part providers to consider. Always be sure to thoroughly research the options, features, terms and conditions, etc., of any third party provider and choose one which best fits the needs of your business.

So, no need to fret about your blog and Social Media posts over the holidays. With a little pre-planning, you can easily sustain momentum with your customers all the way into the new year!

Gina Smith writes freelance articles for magazines, online outlets and publications on behalf of a number of companies, including Global Response. Smith covers the latest topics in the business, golf, tourism, technology and entertainment industries.

The Travel Blogger Army and Your Marketing Efforts

This is a guest post by @adriasaracino

A symbol depicting a palm tree.

A symbol depicting a palm tree. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With thousands of travel blogs published every day, it’s easy for a compelling blogger to get lost in the fray.

That’s where travel blogger networks come in, forming a tight knit community of high quality, dedicated bloggers that link to one another’s work, comment and guest post on each other’s blogs, participate in Follow Fridays on Twitter and engage in community wide travel contests, sponsored by travel companies.

The combined efforts of this passionate, energetic and creative group of people creates content-rich media that greatly increases their individual search engine rankings while forming a tight-knit, caring community. Together, they find individual success.

And they’re perfect for your marketing efforts.

Why? Because they’re early adopters with a platform. They’re always on the cutting edge, looking for the best experiences and deals so that they can live life to the fullest. And they’re just as hopped up about helping others do it, too.

So, how can marketers engage with this moving and shaking community?

1. Use or Give Badges

The most popular travel blogs have vibrant sidebars in which they promote other travel bloggers or services with badges. While these are essentially ads, they don’t feel like it. They’re content-rich, written in a way that relates directly to the user so they feel appropriately targeted, therefore increasing the click-through rate.

A brand can issue their own to important bloggers for use on their site. What does it offer bloggers? A boost to their reputation and credibility via a stamp of approval from a recognized brand – your brand.

2. Curate a Travel Blog

One of the best ways to engage with the travel blogging community is by curating a company travel blog. Most of the best travel business websites, from currency exchange websites like Travelex to airline carriers like EasyJet, already run their own blogs. Go a step further by reaching out to the travel blogging networks directly to find guest bloggers. When treated well, these bloggers will most likely continue to use and promote these services in their own time.

3. Be Helpful

Providing access to the highest quality travel information is crucial for building the best reputation and search rankings not just amongst travel bloggers but amongst general customers as well. Travel bloggers can see right through crap content, so don’t waste your time creating it if you want to gain their trust.

4. Sponsor Contests

Travelers love new adventures, and you’ll garner a lot of attention if you partner with a blogging network to promote a cool new contest. For instance, The Global Bloggers Network runs blog hops, where people must travel to each blog within the network to gather information, which they submit to win prizes from sponsoring companies. In past contests, Contiki and EastytoBook have given away a $2,000 cash prize as well as three night’s accommodation at a resort. This is a great way to engage potential customers.

If you approach travel blogging networks in the right way, you can help a company become a trusted member of this tight knit community, staying fresh in customer’s minds as they recall the quality content or fun experiences you’ve provided online. What’s more, the brand will be considered cool, cutting edge and perhaps even world-changing – just the kind of thing travelers love.

Adria Saracino is a marketer and blogger. When not consulting on business’ content strategy, you can find her writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.

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Our Christmas 2009 'opening' hours!

Although we are a virtual company, we’re real people with families and commitments, so we have to have time off occasionally!

Between Monday 21st December and Thursday 24th December we will be available by email only. Emails will be checked regularly, and you should expect a reply within a maximum of 12 hours.

We are closed on Friday 25th December until Monday 4th January, although email will still be being checked and dealt with during those times.

Nikki, Shaun, Leigh, Bob, Mark Rob and Helen wish you all a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a fantastic 2010!

Card company christmas card

Picture courtesy of The Card Company Ltd

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