TPNM

The project is co-funded by European Union
and by National Funds of Greece & Albania
under the IPA Cross-Border PROGRAMME
"Greece - Albania 2007-2013"


 

Articles

Social Media Marketing Plan

The creation and accessibility of the Internet have fundamentally changed how travelers access information, the way they plan for and book trips, and the way they share their travel experiences. One significant development in the evolution of the Internet is the increasing prevalence of social media platforms that enable Internet users to collaborate, communicate and publish original content such as blogs, videos, wikis, reviews, or photos. Social media websites, facilitate consumer-generated content, and are widely used by online travelers.


Social media are changing the way society consumes and contributes to the creation of information.


Technology now allows individuals to easily contribute their thoughts, opinions and creations to the Internet. This has radically altered the way in which information is created and disseminated. Prior to Web 2.0, the Internet functioned solely in one direction – a ‘read-only’ format. Published information was static and interaction with other Internet users and/or publishers was basically non-existent. Web 2.0 propelled by user-generated content through social media and social network sites. The evolution of Web 1.0–2.0 marks a shift from ‘users rather than organizations taking charge [of the Internet]’. As social media rises in popularity, users gain more power as the authority of marketers and institutions declines. In relation to tourism, marketers and institutions no longer have ultimate control over the image of their destination or product. Web 2.0 facilitates the integration of the following five functional properties: information representation, collaboration, communication, interactivity, and transactions

Social media are a current and constantly evolving phenomena involving CGC shared online.


“Social media refers to activities, practices, and behaviors among communities of people who gather online to share information, knowledge, and opinions using conversational media. Conversational media are Web-based applications that make it possible to create and easily transmit content in the form of words, pictures, videos, and audios.” (Brake and Safko, 2009).


Social media refers to ‘participatory’, ‘conversational’, and ‘fluid’ online communities focused on user-generated content. Social media is particularly relevant since tourism is an ‘information-intensive industry’. Consumers obtain information to assist in the trip-planning process and to make informed decisions about destinations, accommodation, restaurants, tours, and attractions. Tourism experiences cannot be evaluated prior to consumption as they are intangible; personal recommendations are very influential. Travelers, rely on other travelers’ advice, versus guidebooks and standard print advertisements. As a result, travel companies such as Lonely Planet developed their own online travel communities to engage consumers in conversations. These travel communities, will ‘gain importance in the future’. The popularity of online travel communities is attributed to the ability to gain trustworthy reviews. The line of communication is no longer limited to producer-to-consumer, but can be consumer-to-consumer, and consumer-to-producer, as well as many-to-one, one-to-many, one-to-one, or many-to-many. Accordingly, marketers are able to use social media to try to stimulate conversation, encourage interaction, and engage in ways that traditional marketing. This involvement can be vital to developing loyalty, generating interesting content and increasing awareness. The advent of social media and the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 also marks the shift from word-of-mouth to world-of-mouth. The importance of adopting social media practices in tourism marketing is critical.

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