TTE 2013: Use social to assess if you’re connecting with the right people

Social media can be used to help travel companies get visibility into whether they are connecting with the right kind of users – or the wrong ones, a Travolution panel discussion at Travel Technology Europe this week.

Kelly Lees, general manager for Europe at social travel planning start-up Gogobot, told an audience at a session on the ‘social graph’ that sites like Facebook have made it possible for companies to connect with people on a real level.

Lees said that company staff should “remind yourself that these are real people”, adding that employees monitoring company Facebook pages can look at the profiles of users who ‘like’ their posts or other uploads.

“If you see who that person is who constantly likes every video you put on there, it helps show whether you are resonating with the right type of user or the wrong type of user,” she said. “So you can use Facebook to figure out who it is you are connecting with.”

She added: “It’s very easy to spend money on Facebook and get 100,000 likes but it’s easy for people to get sick of you and ‘unlike’ it. If it’s not a two-way conversation, people get sick of it.”

In the session Lees said people were becoming more used to websites providing personalised experiences online, and “people will always value a really fantastic experience”.

Bruce Hazan, Facebook’s head of partner engineering, said companies should think carefully about how much information they insist users should hand over in order to access one of their apps, and explain why it is they are asking for it.

“Everyone should remember that the information on Facebook  belongs to the user,” said Hazan.

He added that some apps ask for so many different permissions in order to gain access to users’ data, making some people suspicious, and say, “why does this app want my login details?”

To avoid putting off people by asking for so much personal information, Hazan recommended companies explain to users how the information they will provide will give them a better, more personalised experience, such as telling them that knowing their location will mean the user will receive information that is more relevant for them.

“A huge part of how successful your app is going to be is educating people,” said Hazan.

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