SITSum, or Social Influencers Travel Summit, is an exclusive, invitation-only event bringing together individuals with a strong social media or blog presence for a weekend of workshops and adventure. One of the things that is quite unique about that conference is that organizers work in tandum with the Atlanta CVB to highlight the best of Atlanta with many offerings of optional tours.
Besides networking opportunities, SITSum has seminars that discuss trends in technology, inspiration and opportunities to learn from seasoned veteran travel influencers. Here’s a recap of what we learned from SITSum.
Virtual Reality – Martin Stroll, CEO Sparkloft Media
Last year, Martin Stroll shared with us his tips for working with brands and getting sponsored travel. Hint: besides obviously have lots of engaged followers, his tip was don’t be difficult to work with. This year he shared with us his tips on what will be the next big thing in social media.
Different types of Virtual Reality are already in existence. But they are pricey. He points to Facebook using VR (think 360 cameras for enhanced user experience). As this method comes down in price for influencers to use, recommends we take advantage of it as soon as possible.
- Leverage technology to tell a story
- Create a fully immersive experience
Pitching to Brands – Christa Thompson, TheFairtaleTraveler.com
Christa Thompson began her blog not that long ago, in 2012. She’s been able to partner with over 200 destinations as a brand ambassador. Here are her amazing tips for those of us starting to add travel to our blogs.
- Write for free to get an assignment letter. Okay this is kind of a no-brainer. But if you are looking to expand your writing horizons, you may have to write for free to get a couple travel assignments under your belt.
- When pitching an destination, you need to do your research instead of just emailing saying you’d love to visit their destination. Think about what’s in it for them. But did you know we all have access to the best cheat sheet? Yes! Go to their CVB (Convention and Visitors Bureau website) and look for their story ideas section which almost all have. This is a gold mine of information on the features they’d like to highlight. Pitching those topics for coverage is a great way to get noticed.
- Share destination / brand’s content aheado f pitching them. Many of us have probably employed this strategy when we have been interested in working with brands directly. By sharing their content, you’re telling them I really like you.
Types of Pitches
- Cold – Should be short with NO links. Having links could mean it winds up in the spam folder.
- Warm – They know you (probably via email). In these kinds of pitches, links are okay
- Hot – You’ve met face to face, perhaps at a travel conference or similar event. Provided you’ve had a positive interaction, they may already be considering you to be on a press trip or similar.
Is there a progression for what to get covered? Yes. And be aware that not everything may be covered.
Airfare -> Hotel -> Dining / Tours
Pro Tip: Don’t ask to visit a hotel during peak season. It probably isn’t going to happen and you will come off looking unpolished.
Live Streaming – Dennis Littley , AskChefDennis.com
A wildly popular home chef, Dennis has a huge following on his blog and has been live streaming for quite some time. His tips are:
- Plan your content and stand apart from the competition. Don’t just wing it. Though live video doesn’t have to be perfect, you want to put some thought into it.
- Before you go live turn your phone off and then on again. Check your bandwidth before going live at speedtest.net. It will help determine if viewers will be able to see and hear you well.
- As you become more viewed, then start investing in equipment to make your broadcasts even better.
Luxury Market, Christopher Parr Founder and Editor-in-Chief for Pursuitist, the leading luxury travel and leisure website.
Though it wasn’t exactly clear what this session would be about from the description, it was invaluable as to the advice.
One of the most important aspects highlighted was not to put all your emphasis on network you don’t own, ie Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. While these networks are important, you should have a blog or site with outstanding content and and email list to always be able to communicate with your audience.
As the session was ending a conversation began about so-called influencers who buy followers. The consensus was not only will this go away soon, but as social networks began changing algorithms and implementing pay for viewership, those with fake followers will matter even less. “Compelling content always wins.” Do this through interviews, photos, and contests.
Harness Your Why and Grow Your Tribe – Sophie Radcliffe, challengesophie.com
The Londoner and Ted Talk speaker is an adventure blogger who quit the safety of a 9 to 5 job to fuel her passion of Travel.
While this session didn’t offer concrete formulas to follow, it was very inspirational. Sophie shared the story of a competition she wanted to enter, but that only allowed men. She then wrote a blog post about how unfair she felt it was. The committee then changed their mind. She felt empowered that she was able to change the mind of such a powerful entity with a simple blog post and encourages others to be agents of change too.
Social Ads / Think Like a Marketer – Chris Curley, Sensei Project
Chris is one of the founders of SITSum and shares why we as influencers should consider a social ads budget.
When working with brands, negotiate them paying for some sponsored posts to get more exposure. This in turn, will expose you to new audiences as well. Be familiar with KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and metrics. For example, what if the brand is looking to reach a UK audience and your audience a high percentage of UK. Armed with this knowledge, you can more effectively pitch brands.