We read a great article this week about how some travel industry companies are using social media the right way to support their brands. Carnival Cruise Lines is a great example. They have been working for some time to grow their Facebook presence. In fact, Carnival's television ads stopped mentioning the company's website long ago - instead, they push consumers to Facebook.
But it is not merely Carnival's focus on growing it's Facebook page that earns it a gold star for social media smarts. It is what Carnival does with it's fans on Facebook.
By engaging with consumers directly, and framing the conversation, Carnival is helping consumers generate positive comments and reviews.
This is vitally important in a world where companies have no control over customer reviews placed all over the Internet. No company is perfect, and all make mistakes. Unfortunately, consumers are not nearly as likely to post reviews when they are happy as they are when they are mad. What better way for a company to combat this quirk of human nature than to engage with happy and excited customers and invite their feedback?
In the example shown above, Carnival asks customers following the company on Facebook to share what port they'd recommend to their friends, and why. It generated 479 "Likes," 752 comments, and 20 shares - ensuring that literally thousands (perhaps tens-of-thousands) of new people connected to Carnival's fans were exposed to Carnival's brand in a positive way.