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Twitter can be a very powerful tool for travel agents who want to position themselves as authorities on specific topics.

Not sure how to follow, use hashtags or Tweet? No worries, we’ll give you some tips:

1. Let’s get the basics right

For those of you who have never tweeted, let’s first get some of the basics right:

A tweet is a post on Twitter that is not longer than 140 characters;
A timeline is a list of tweets from people you follow on Twitter;
Mentions are tweets that include the Twitter handle of another user;
A hashtag (#) allows you to aggregate Twitter conversations surrounding an event or theme. It’s a good idea to use hashtags to increase reach;
A retweet means you are reposting a tweet to share with your own network of Twitter followers.

2. Brand your page

You want your clients to immediately recognise you when they are looking around on Twitter. So, take some time to brand your Twitter page. Try and write an engaging keyword-rich bio that includes your website and use an appealing cover page picture that will make your Twitter profile stand out.

3. Who should you follow?

Twitter is the shortest link between you and what interests you the most. So, if you haven’t done yet, go and follow Amadeus_Africa .

Apart from following us, follow any influential travel brands or travel personalities, as well as African airlines, tour operators, travel agencies, interesting publications or travel agent associations like ASATA, GBTA or ACTE.

It doesn’t have to be all business. You can also follow interesting news sites, and influential sports or movie personalities.

4. What should you tweet about?

The obvious topic for travel agents is well, travel. Tweet about your travel niche, your favourite suppliers, and your preferred destinations.

You can also post links to relevant blogs or resources, or comment on current Twitter trends. Make sure to include the hashtag to have your tweets post on trending streams. Try to reflect keywords and key phrases that support your website in your tweets.

You can also Tweet about specials you want to advertise, but try and make it personal. Tweet things like: “Just booked Anna and Mark on a honeymoon cruise to Alaska. They’re so excited.”

Tweeting about training or seminars can also position you as a professional who keeps informed about their specialty. “Just attended the Amadeus AQM. Feel confident about the latest travel tech innovations.”

5. How can you save time?

Twitter can be quite time-consuming, and if there’s one thing travel agents don’t have, it’s spare time. Be smart about it and use tools such as HootSuite to organise and schedule your Tweets.

Your timeline can also become a bit overwhelming once you start following more people. Try to create custom Twitter lists to categorise information. You can create your own lists or subscribe to lists created by others. It allows you to see a stream of Tweets from only the accounts on that list. You can have a list for airlines, for cruising, or for a specific destination.

Now that you’ve learned the basics, go out and start the conversation with your customers on Twitter. Happy Tweeting! If you want to connect with me personally, you can also find me in @nahuido 

Would you like to know more about Twitter in Africa, read about it here.