Archive for the ‘Guides’ Category
How much of what you say on behalf of your travel brand is being heard, compared to that of your competitors? How much are your customers saying about you, compared to your competitors? How much are they saying to you that goes unheard? Better known as your share of voice, the size of your brand’s chunk of the travel conversation is vital to how many customers- and potential customers- know what you’re up to. If you’re the airline 60% of people are talking about for holiday travel, for example, there’s a better chance you’ll come to mind over a competitor when someone is looking to book a trip home. Better yet, if you’re the brand with a story they connect to and you cost about the same as the competition? They’ll feel good about going with you. We’ll tell you how to get there.
After all, earning a reputation as knowledgeable, responsive, and trustworthy is important regardless of industry, but especially important in one that is both necessary (the Oregon Trail is no longer an option home for the holidays) and flush with competition, like the travel industry.
People can look forward to a carefully planned vacation for months, even years, and when they choose companies to control the fate of their experience, they do not do so lightly, making it critical for every travel company to know how much of the conversation they own in the space and what exactly it is that is being said about them vs. the competition.
1. You can’t fix a problem you don’t know about.
The conversation about your brand is already happening, and you need to be a part of it. Part of your share of voice is what people are saying about you and to you; you only control the messages you put out. Although it’s impossible to make everyone happy all of the time, you should strive to make as many people happy as possible most of the time. If you’re not listening, you can’t address the problems and complaints of your customers– and that will put off any potential customers. But if you fix a bad experience for someone, you could end up with a customer for life, and push someone who’s on the fence about your company into being a customer.
Takeaway 1: Your customers will tell you what they want. Be responsive and helpful as you monitor the conversation happening about you. Answer questions, answer complaints, acknowledge compliments (favoriting tweets is a good tactic here). People like to share good experiences (and especially the bad!) so work to make as many good experiences happen as possible. Even just responding that you’re aware of an issue and saying you’ll work on it can make a huge difference; you don’t appear deaf and indifferent. Many customers just want to know that they’re being heard.
But if you can, comp a bad experience, or even take things a step further and reach out to someone whose travel plans have fallen through, offering to help them. Enable your customer service representatives to take these actions without having to go through an endless bureaucratic chain. A happy customer will tell their friends and family if you save their holiday– and that’s a new group of customers who will think of you first, instead of the competition, for their next trip.
2. Tell your story, lend your expertise.
You do get to control your portion of the message going out into the conversation, so make it count. A good story is intriguing so be sure to tell yours. Do you have one about how the company came to be and how that influences your values? Or how the company worked through growing pains early or late in its inception? Tell that story and then share what you’ve learned from it; how it is has made you a better company with more to bring to the table for your customers. Then, most importantly, execute those values where your customers can see it happening: everywhere you have a social presence.
Takeaway 2: Part of the battle is coming to mind when people think about travel. If you’re already doing all you can to respond and be helpful in a public customer service capacity, on social media and elsewhere, the only share of the conversation left to you is the message you’re sending out. If there’s a personal story you can tell about your brand- faces of employees or customers and either of their stories- customers and potential customers will relate to that over just seeing your logo. Be the brand with the engaging story, so they’ll pass over the competition’s logo and static mascot for you.
The final takeaway
A golden rule of social media is to listen first, then talk. Evaluating your share of voice is no different. Now that you know why it’s important and have some takeaways to start with, you can work toward increasing it.
If you’ve got Twitter setup to be able to receive notifications and send tweets and more from your phone, you can also turn off notifications for certain periods of time- such as when you’re sleeping- if you don’t want to be woken up by an errant tweet in the middle of the night.
Under the “Mobile” tab in your left-hand menu, scroll down to find this:
Alternatively if you’re running a campaign, or taking your turn on customer service duty, you can uncheck the box and be able to respond in a timely manner.
If you want to run a TweetReach snapshot report for more than one term, be sure to remember the magic of the “OR” operator. You can search for any two or three queries by combining them together with OR. Example:
term1 OR term2 – search for tweets containing either term1 or term2 (e.g. analytics OR metrics)
A few things to keep in mind to get the best results possible:
- Keep queries around 50-60 characters, 100 max.
- If searching for two word phrases, use quote marks or you might not get the results you’re looking for. Example: “pumpkin ale” OR #manafromthegourd
A Twitter Quick Tip.
Twitter now allows you to enable emergency alerts from certain participating organizations. These alerts are meant to complement, not replace, traditional emergency alerts and you can opt in or out at any point.
You can find the alerts page for each organization by adding /alerts to the end of their Twitter URL; for example https://twitter.com/redcross/alerts which you can see the page for above. It will prompt you to add a mobile phone to your account if you haven’t done so already.
Want more tips? Click here.
Whether you travel for business or pleasure, you want the best information possible to plan your trip. So where do you get it?
Twitter has a host of accounts that offer up travel advice, suggestions and more, from those on a budget to those who want the best possible luxury accommodations. Below we’ve rounded up resources so you don’t have to take the time to do the research yourself.
Suggested travel accounts to follow (hat tip to Mashable for a lot of these):
Jeannie Mark, aka @nomadicchick, is a freelance travel writer and blogger who shares advice on different destinations she’s found herself visiting through her wanderlust
Wonder what things are like from a flight attendant’s point of view? Look no further than @Heather_Poole.
Independent travelers (@TravelEditor) share travel tips and travel news from the editors of IndependentTraveler.com
Keith Jenkins (@velvetescape) will keep you up to date on the luxury side of travel
Melanie Nay of @chic_travel also shares luxury lifestyles and travel experiences through her account.
Stacy Small, better known as @elitetravelgal, rounds out your high-end travel as a luxury travel planner
On the other end of the spectrum is @BudgetTravel, working to make traveling accessible to all
@FlightView brings you real-time flight information, which can be a lifesaver
Kristin Luna (@lunaticatlarge) is a guidebook author for Frommer’s; look to her account for travel experiences mixed in with her other interests and pursuits
Brendan van Son (@Brendanvanson) is a travel writer and photographer, and will take you with him on his non-stop adventures
For pictures in motion, look to travel writer and videographer Robert Reid (@reidontravel), who has written for a number of large travel publications
If you want more intensity in your travel, check out @Intrepid_Travel
Sustainability and travel don’t have to be mutually exclusive, as @STI_travel tweets
Chris Christensen, the @AmateurTraveler, brings you an online travel show that highlights not only destinations, but the best ways to travel as well
If you want more than just reading the advice and resources provided by travel experts with occasional interaction, check out some tweet chats! Tweet chats give you the ability to weigh in with your own opinions and experiences, as well as ask questions of hosts, guests, and your fellow chatters. You can read through a past chat by looking at the hashtag for it, or feel free to introduce yourself and jump right in on your first one. Tweet chats are meant to be open, friendly and interactive. (Read more about how to get the most out of a tweet chat as a participant here.)
Try these out (hat tip to Travel Bites for these recommendations):
- #MexMonday: happens all day on Monday
- #TravelTuesday: all day Tuesdays
- #CruiseChat: 2pm EST Tuesdays
- #NUTS: Tuesdays at 3:30pm EST
- #TTOT: 5:30 am/pm EST Tuesdays
- #LuxChat: 2:30pm PST every 3rd Wednesday
- #TourismChat: 2:00pm CST bi-weekly on Thursdays
- #FriFotos: all day Fridays
- Contact: @EpsteinTravels
If you’re running a contest and using TweetReach to track it, you’ll want to take a look at this post so you don’t miss any of the tweets you want to capture. For best results, we have a few suggestions. Keep your original tweet short (120 characters or less) and unique, and use hashtags and a unique URL to distinguish yourself from other contests (a generic term like “RT for a chance to win an iPad” gets tweeted 40 times a minute).
Now let’s look at specifics, depending on whether you’re measuring results after the fact with a snapshot report or setting up a Tracker to monitor tweets in real-time through your TweetReach Pro subscription.
TweetReach Snapshot Report
There are a few ways to search for contest tweets in a snapshot report. Remember that a snapshot report will look back at up to 1500 recently posted tweets from the past few days, so you can run a snapshot after a contest ends if only ran for a few days and had fewer then 1500 tweets.
1. Don’t search for the entire text of a tweet; search for the first 50-60 characters of your tweet, wrapped in quotation marks. Remember that retweets add characters to the front of your tweet. “jimmyjohn: you so silly Sandwich Place! RT @sandwichartiste: RT if you love meatball subs! #subs4life” is longer than “@sandwichartiste: RT if you love meatball subs! #subs4life”. Make sure that a user adding a note before the text of their retweet won’t push any terms you are searching for beyond the 140 character limit.
2. Use an original hashtag or URL in your contest tweet, and search for all retweets that contain “RT” and your hashtag or URL. (Put exactly RT #subs4life or RT http://bit.ly/12aoGYA in the TweetReach search bar for your snapshot report.)
TweetReach Pro Tracker
If you expect significant participation or want to run your contest for more than one week, set up a Tracker in advance. Trackers can monitor unlimited tweets for unlimited time; you just need to set them up before your tweets start going out. The same rules apply to a Tracker, but you can (and should) set up a Tracker to search for your contest tweet in both ways.
Search for both the first 50 characters of the tweet, but also any identifying URLs or hashtags you’re using. A Tracker can include up to 15 different queries, so you can enter in several different combinations to make sure you’re getting exactly the tweets you’re looking for.
When you choose a social analytics provider, you have the right to ask questions about the service you’re getting, even when you’re using free services. With that in mind, we wrote up a list of questions to ask when you’re checking out a new social analytics product. Got any we missed? Share ‘em in the comments below, or drop us a line.
1. Where does your data come from?
Not all social data sources are made equally; what you can get from building a tool on a platform’s open API is vastly different from what you can get if you have access to that company’s full firehose of data. So what do you need? If you’re looking for a quick overview of recent data, then something built on an open API will work for you. If you want something more in-depth, you should consider a provider who works with a licensed data partner like Gnip or DataSift. These data resellers provide commercial, licensed access to the full data streams from platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and others, giving you the highest quality data possible.
Keep in mind that services built on a licensed data stream are also more reliable than something built on a free API: you don’t have to worry about hitting rate limits or missing important data. Again, if you’re just looking for enough recent information to keep track of general trends or overviews, then you don’t need to pay for extensive, real-time access to full-fidelity data– but remember the difference if your needs change.
To illustrate: if you want an idea of how many people are talking about a documentary the day after it aired and what they’re talking about, then something built on a a free API would be fine. If you made the documentary and want an extensive review of the conversation before, during and after your documentary aired and a deeper dive into the different facets of the conversation around it, you want something built on a stable, more comprehensive data source.
2. What is the firehose and do you have access to it?
A firehose is full access to all the data from a platform – that’s everything. In the case of Twitter, very few analytics providers have direct access to the full Twitter firehose, mostly because it’s unnecessary, but also because it’s quite costly. Gnip and DataSift have full firehose access, as do a very rare few others. If your analytics provider says they use the Twitter firehose, they actually probably do not. Clarify what they mean by that; the word “firehose” is misused a lot.
Instead, most serious analytics providers will have access to a full-coverage stream of data built on the firehose. This is a full-fidelity stream of tweets that matches their needs, based on a set of search queries or other filters. The result is a smaller stream of only the data they need – including all tweets that match their filters – without all the unrelated or irrelevant data.
This is a case of “you get what you pay for”; Twitter doesn’t have the infrastructure or impetus to give you access to all of their data for free, so through agreements with companies like Gnip and DataSift, a third party can gain full access to the social data they need. But this kind of data isn’t free, so be sure to choose the option that meets your needs. And if you’re using a free tool, chances are good that tool is not built on the firehose in any way.
3. What kind of data coverage do you have? Is it a sample, or the full census?
We can use Twitter as example again here, since they have several different forms of data access. Twitter’s Search API, for example, is an index of recent tweets from a window of the past few days and does not include all tweets (say, for example, you wanted an overview of what people have been searching about “overnight oatmeal in a jar” on Twitter for the past month; this wouldn’t cover your needs). You can read a more technical explanation from Twitter about the Search API here.
Other data streams are intentional portions of the full firehose, which are useful for sampling and other use cases. Twitter has a decahose option, for example, that includes a random sample of 10% of all tweets. It’s great for research, but not ideal if your needs require full-fidelity coverage.
The only full-coverage options are through a data provider like Gnip, or from a partnership with the platform itself. This could be through the full firehose (which only a couple companies actually have), or through a full-coverage, keyword-based data stream. Ask your analytics provider if you’ll have full-coverage access to your tweets, or if they use just a sample.
4. Does the data comply with the platform’s terms of service (ToS)?
The great unread novel of our time is the complete terms of service to just about anything. You’ll want to do your homework with your data provider, however, and be sure that their product does indeed comply with the ToS of your platform of choice. An easy way to do this is to check and see if they are a partner with them, or an approved or preferred provider. You can also check with the data resellers like Gnip for this. You’ll also want to be sure it says this on the platform’s website, and isn’t just a wild, false claim on the data provider’s. If both sites say they work together, it’s a safe bet they’re following the ToS, or the platform wouldn’t have partnered with them or given them a title of approval. If it seems unclear, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. If they’re not willing to talk about it, go elsewhere so you won’t run the risk of your provider being shut down and disappearing with all of your analytics.
5. Are the metrics actual counts or just estimates?
Finally, even if your provider has access to high quality data, you want to be sure they’ve built a tool that gives you the best possible measure of the specific data you’re looking for. (You want the best results around “overnight oatmeal in a jar”, not “overnight oatmeal in a crockpot”, after all.) If you test several different providers and get wildly different results, compare those results with how these companies are telling you they generate their results. If they don’t have documentation that tells you how their tool works, or that documentation is vague and confusing, that’s a bad sign.
If in comparing results from two companies that are both built on the Twitter Search API, you notice one is returning wild estimates and the other is giving you the most accurate count they can, definitely go for the latter. Don’t go for the tool that returns estimates just because the numbers are bigger. You don’t want your marketing plan or quarterly report to be based on imaginary numbers.
Bonus: 6. What data access does Union Metrics have?
We are a certified Plugged In To Gnip partner, which means we have commercially licensed, full-coverage access to Twitter and Tumblr data. That’s reliable, reputable data you can count on, both now and in the future. Here’s the breakdown.
- Our TweetReach Pro Trackers have Gnip PowerTrack access – that’s full coverage of all public tweets in real time for any search terms you enter. That means no missed tweets and no sampling.
- Our TweetReach snapshot reports use the Twitter Search API, so they’re great for quick estimates of recent activity, but are limited to about 1500 tweets from the past week.
- Our TweetReach premium historical analytics use Gnip’s Historical PowerTrack. That gives us full access to any public tweet in Twitter’s history, dating back to the very first tweet posted in March 2006.
- Finally, with Union Metrics for Tumblr, we consume the full Tumblr firehose. That means we process 100% of all public posts, notes and other Tumblr activities.
Have any questions about our data access? Please just ask!
To isolate specific dates in your TweetReach Tracker, simply click on the calendar icon in the upper right hand corner of your screen, and specify the date range that you want.
If you want tweets from a specific date range in your TweetReach snapshot report, you need to use the since and until operators:
since:YYYY-MM-DD - search only for tweets after a specific date in UTC (e.g. since:2010-03-30)
until:YYYY-MM-DD - search only for tweets before a specific date in UTC (e.g. until:2010-03-30)
If you set up a TweetReach snapshot report or Tracker to search for @username, that will only return mentions and retweets of that Twitter account. So, that might be what you’re looking for. But if you’d like to see tweets to and from that account, add in the from:username query, like this:
@username OR from:username
This will make sure we pull all mentions, retweets, and replies to your Twitter handle, as well as tweets from your account. That’s the best way to see the full set of interactions with a particular account. Want to see it in action? Here’s an example.