This article is a viewpoint from Austin Gambino, of the Cruise Web
Sure you know Facebook. And its photo sharing acquisition Instagram, then of course there is popular platform of Twitter, but do you Squidoo?
Squidoo is a social media platform you may not have started using, or even heard of. It is a social network that was created in 2005 by a small team including marketing guru Seth Godin.
Squidoo works as a platform where users create a free account and build an array of pages (which are called ‘lenses’ on the site) about any topic in the world, as a showcase of that topic. These ‘lenses’ include text, pictures, polls and games as a way to engage users.
So, how can travel companies benefit from Squidoo?
Why Travel Companies Should Use ItShowcase your product.
In an industry where many companies offer the same destinations, itineraries, or mode of transport, Squidoo gives users the opportunity to make it fun. Big pictures are a must. Exciting verbal duels, polls, and caption contests are suggested. We even created a Pandora feature in our Tahiti Cruise lens that allows users to play island music while browsing the page.
Interact with the consumer on a personal level.
Instead of reaching out and barraging the consumer with e-mails, calls, and more, this social platform allows those truly interested in your lens to engage with your brand without even knowing they are interacting with a company.
You can disseminate information, ‘suggest’ certain products, and showcase a special, all without coming across like you are selling anything, and then when the moment is right, offer them your personal assistance or company support.
The Cruise Web’s Experience
We first approached Squidoo by creating “Why You Should Use a Travel Agent to Book Your Cruise” in late December.
Since then we’ve seen:
- Since late December, this page has been visited 374 times, from sources all over the web, including Google, Facebook, and linkedin.com.
- This lens has been ‘liked’ on Facebook 58 times, tweeted 3 times, ‘Squid-liked’ 116 times (in-site ‘liking’ mechanism).
- Our poll received 47 responses, our duel module received 13 opinions, and our guestbook received 17 comments.
Then in February we decided to create our second lens called “Exotic Cruise Destinations: Tahiti.”
Best Practices for Success
- Since early February, this lens has had 173 visits again from diverse sources like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and mail sources.
- This lens has been ‘liked’ on Facebook 15 times, tweeted 3 times, ‘Squid-liked’ 84 times, and shared via Google+ 3 times.
- Our duel module received 11 opinions, and our guestbook received 19 comments.
In December, when our marketing team first discovered this social platform, we were still learning the platform and getting used to all the “modules” and applications to add to that page. That’s why we haven’t seen a significant amount of direct traffic to our website from the two Squidoo lenses we created (although our on-site interaction has been superb).
We have had only 12 direct visits (usually around the time of our lens updates) since our first lens was created in late December. That being said, we have been in contact with the extremely responsive and helpful Squidoo officials, and are learning the Squidoo’s and don’ts as we go.
Here are a few key takeaways we have learned over time.
A mistake we’ve made early on was creating an entire lens, posting it, and then struggling to update smaller things to maintain fresh content and pictures.
- Do start off with a few modules (intro, pictures, poll, guestbook, etc.), and update with chunks of information to stay extra relevant.
- Do place your links high on the page, suggested by the Squidoo official we’ve been in contact with.
- Do use lots of crisp and clear pictures.
- Do tell the reader what to do—‘in the next section, take our poll about…’—to increase engagement.
And one of the most important tips, one that is hashed and re-hashed over and over in the Squidoo community:
- Don’t cover a large or general topic. Focus your lens to a specific point, destination, or service, and showcase it as thoroughly as possible.
- Do let the consumer come to you for more information—don’t post a bunch of prices and specials, let them ask you for more information, so your page is comfortable and non-salesy. Don’t force your product or service on them, create an interesting enough lens that they will come to you.
- Don’t weigh down the lens with content—include pictures, polls, caption contests and such to break up the content.
- Do ask for help, use the forum, and reach out to officials—most people on this platform are responsive and very helpful.
This section can be interpreted differently by each company, depending on the industry, product/service, or demographic. Success for some may be gaining a link on a prominent domain authority. Going forward, we’d like to see double the direct visits in the next two months, maintained on-site interaction, and hopefully some conversion.
For Squidoo beginners, we suggest tracking the comments you receive, social sharing, lens visits, and lens interaction using the Squidoo statistics center (which is available for each lens you create). Squidoo shows you visits by day/month (graph), lens traffic (stats and graph), traffic sources (pie graph, statistics), and clickouts. On your end, check your analytics to make sure the link has been recognized as a follow link, and track how many visits you receive from Squidoo.
If you’d like to see what a lens looks, check out our lens
regarding Tahiti cruises.
Do you think this is a marketing tactic your company could use? Tell us what you think in the comments below!