Technology

Facebook’s new changes could impact travel agents

Hannah Edensor

Facebook has made a raft of changes recently, and experts suggest they could impact how much reach travel agents have on their business social media pages.

Founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, released a statement saying, “Recently we’ve gotten feedback from our community that public content — posts from businesses, brands and media — is crowding out the personal moments that lead us to connect more with each other”.

Zuckerberg explained that following recent research, it seemed users were more focused on their immediate social circle, rather than businesses and brands, as well as how people use Facebook for wellbeing.

He said,“We started making changes in this direction last year, but it will take months for this new focus to make its way through all our products. The first changes you’ll see will be in News Feed, where you can expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.

“As we roll these out, you’ll see less public content like posts from businesses, brands, and media. And the public content you see more will be held to the same standard — it should encourage meaningful interactions between people”.

According to US travel trade publication, Travel Market Report, a Travelport survey released in the US in 2017 showed that 82 per cent of travellers aged 25 to 34 are influenced by content posted by travel brands on platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

On top of that, 76 per cent of travellers aged 35 to 44 are inspired or influenced by branded content on social media.

A lot of experts, per TMR, also believe that a small business like a travel agency is reaching less than 10 per cent of their followers today, and that with these new updates from Facebook, that figure could drop even further.

Speaking to TMR, in a piece you can read here in full, social media marketing consultant Nick Borelli, president of Borelli Strategies, Cleveland, Ohio, said these changes will likely force many travel agents to pay to have their business social media pages seen by clients – both current and prospective.

“Black and white—if you are not investing in Facebook ads, Facebook will not help you grow your business,” he told Travel Market Report.

There is one saviour, however, in the ‘small community’ side of things on Facebook. In his statement, Zuckerberg said an area that wouldn’t be specifically targeted by these changes were the “many tight-knit communities” that centre around TV shows and sports teams, for example.

“We’ve seen people interact way more around live videos than regular ones. Some news helps start conversations on important issues,” he said, with the idea to support these types of pages over the ones that simply encourage “passive” engagement.

“There is an alternative: being friends with your clients from your personal page and looking into influencer marketing strategies,” Borelli added.

For more info, check out this piece on the benefits of travel companies using social media from Hootsuite.

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