Ultra Summit: Because We are Living in a Digital World

social media summit at ultra

Luxury travel advisors and suppliers are putting the chic back into Chicago this week at Luxury Travel Advisor's Ultra Summit. The event kicked off Sunday night with a cocktail party at the Park Hyatt Chicago, and was followed by a day of networking opportunities and presentations from industry thought-leaders. 

Speaking of thought-leaders, the day began with Kate Lorenz, Director of Content Strategy, Leo Burnett Chicago, who spoke about the ever-present, some would say "controversial" topic of social media. Let's face it - you can't hide from social media anymore, whether you use it or not. It is here to stay. It's a digital world. Luxury buyers are digital savvy. According to Lorenz, 100 percent of luxury buyers are using smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops. Luxury buyers have two times more smartphone penetration that the general population. It started as a millennial thing, but now the older generations have greatly caught on and are embracing it, and often mastering it.

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Those who have embraced it and harnessed it have, in fact, used it greatly to their advantage in terms of personal branding and growing business. Lorenz offered the audience tips on how to maximize your social media experience.

Facebook is still king in the social media kingdom. Last year, Pinterest and Instagram saw significant growth in popularity, and Facebook and Instagram users visit more often than any other site users. Forty-seven percent of internet users share photos or video they found online. So how does this translate to selling luxury travel? Millennials are redefining luxury travel by turning it into a series of "instagram-able experiences." There are 180 million active users, which have shared 16 billion photos thus far. How many of those on Instagram are luxury purchasers? Quite a bit. Let them see the types of experiences you can curate, and tell them that you can do it for them, too.

How? It's time to talk about hashtags. Choose a hashtag that are unique, simple and relevant to your business. Ask clients to use your own personal hashtag when sharing their photos. This is a great way to get referrals. Don't flood your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram posts with slews of hashtags. Pick a few that are short, sweet and to the point. 

Add captions that lend humor, wit and context to your photos. Tag partners, colleagues and clients so that your photos become igniters of digital discussions that link back to your personal brand and business. 

Ask for reviews. "People trust real people," says Lorenz. "It's that earned media. Share the kudos you are earning and repurpose it on Facebook as a way to promote your business."

It's also important to not overwhelm yourself, because the world of social media can be dizzying. Lorenz's tip is to pick the one or two channels that make the most sense for you and go from there. "If you're going to go with two, go with Facebook and Instagram and then branch out to Pinterest and Twitter."

Stay tuned to Luxury Travel Advisor for more tips.

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