There are now a great number of social media sites available, and if the hype is to be believed, companies need to have accounts on every one of them, or perish. But how much truth is there to this? Almost none. Don’t get me wrong, social networks are a lot of fun, and many of them are helpful. And for many people, social is a big part of the excitement surrounding a trip, and hence important to travel companies. But the hype around them is often just that, hype. Here are my thoughts and experiences with the social networks Dohop is currently using.
Facebook is Dohop’s social media home base. The hype around Facebook is, to some extent, underrated (yes, you read that right). To date, Facebook has been the best exposure for Dohop, and one of our greatest sources of traffic. This is still the social network, and there is no reason not to have a Facebook account. In fact it would not be far off to say that today Facebook is the internet. Facebook is one of Dohop’s bigger referrers of traffic, even when we are not actively pushing anything there ourselves. The new Timeline feature only adds to the appeal, especially for branded pages.
Twitter is fun, but I quickly learned that it was neither a great place to “advertise” or get traffic from. However, I have found that it is a good place to make contacts and have mainly been using it at such. Direct messages are especially useful. The short lifetime of tweets is the site’s biggest drawback.
Chris Brogan claims, that “If you are serious about boosting your business through social media, [Google Plus] is where you need to be.” I simply do not agree. I created a Google Plus account for Dohop a few months back and started sharing wildly and following other branded accounts, since you can’t follow or contact people there unless they add you to circles first. And very little happened. Engagement on the site is almost purely with other brands and after a while this just started to seem pointless. I was following (circling?) brands that Dohop was already following on Twitter and Facebook. The only thing keeping me there, and sharing regularly, is the SEO promise Google Plus has. While Google is going to keep “Search + Your World” going, I am going to keep at it. I might even consider adding the +1 button to the Dohop front page again.
Pinterest is a bit of a “dark horse” as it is still relatively new. Recent reports of it being really easy to spam should not deter brands from using it (nor should it encourage brands to spam the site themselves). I really like the visual layout and very quickly found myself pinning and repinning. The surprising thing for me compared to Twitter, and especially Google Plus, is the short time that passed from me posting something to getting feedback in the form of likes and repins. Pins also have long lives there, with some of my earliest pins still getting repinned and liked. They are growing really quickly, and I totally understand why.
Overall, Facebook is very much king for travel brands, with Pinterest showing promise. Twitter is fun, and useful for contacts. Google Plus I just don’t get and it seems to be that their boast of user numbers is odd. Google Plus seems to me to be a conference for tech nerds in a really large and half-empty hall. Pinterest is the loud party next door, and it is getting bigger.