Affiliated Marketing – the new way to reach your consumers

It is no news that the age of the internet and social media have changed the landscape of business forever. Through social media, consumers are now more connected and equipped with more information on every purchase that they make and have more power on influencing brands and organizations. Organizations are finding new ways to communicate with their consumers, and learning how to effectively use social media as a marketing tool in a world where shares, likes, and recommendations are more effective in driving sales than a celebrity endorsement.

Enter: Affiliated Marketing

Affiliate marketing, by definition, is “Revenue sharing between online advertisers/merchants and online publishers/salespeople, whereby compensation is based on performance measures, typically in the form of sales, clicks, registrations, or a hybrid model” ( In short, it is a method which companies drive traffic and sales to their products through profit sharing with “affiliates”.

An affiliate can post about eligible products on their social media outlet, and a percentage of the sales made through this post is then issued as commission. Some sites even reward you for just driving traffic to the site. is an example of a company highly utilizing affiliated marketing; their program is so strong that they’ve inspired sites like, a site that curates Amazon products and profit from commissions. is another popular affiliated marketing site. The creator curates cool and fun products on the site and provide links to platforms where you can make the purchase. The website started off as a hobby project and is now a lucrative business with both full time and freelance employees! I recently put together a graduation present for my cousin, and made a significant amount of purchases through this blog post, most of the products are links to Amazon, which I am sure the blogger is set up as an affiliate and collected commission off of my shopping spree :).

Why companies should consider using affiliated marketing

Data Data Data
Affiliated marketing can be easily tracked, gathering valuable data from consumers and helping companies tailor other marketing strategies based on consumer activities.

Low Cost
At an average of 2%-6% of the product sale price, this commission based business model allows for dedicated marketing efforts, where marketers (affiliates) are only paid when a transaction is made, saving the company marketing dollars that are typically spent on potential sales versus an actual purchased item.

A Captivated Audience
Research shows that consumers can be bombarded with up to 5000 ads per day. In a time where the average person is more and more desensitized from traditional marketing advertisements, consumers turn to sources of trust when taking money out of their wallet. Tastemakers (curators like; Feedback from interest groups (mom blogs, fashion blogs, etc); Friends (shares on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) all are sources (lists, ratings, reviews, recommendations) where consumers can find relevant and trustworthy information on products. In a world where everybody is competing for eyeballs attention, individuals with an established audience become great partners to company and brands.

Why you should consider becoming an affiliate

Low Risk
Affiliated marketing allows individuals to participate in the market with very low risks. No capital is required and setting up only takes about 10 minutes. There is no risk if one fails, and much reward if one is successful!

Practice Your Marketing Skills
For anyone who is interested in building a social media presence or practicing their marketing skills, affiliated marketing provides a platform for purpose and content with measurable results. It is a great start to learning about monetizing your social media skills.

Side Income!
This one is straight forward – who wouldn’t like some extra income?!

With everyone already having a social media presence, affiliated marketing has a huge market potential. It is only a matter of time when most of our shopping will be done online and through targeted searches. With Pinterest and Snapchat both enabling buying methods straight from the app recently, affiliated marketing can take on a much bigger piece of the market and help both companies and affiliates bring in more income—a win win situation for all!

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Three Key Considerations When Trying to Engage Millennials With Social Media


Throughout my eighteen year career in the higher education student recruitment industry, it’s clear to me that the evolution of social media in the 21st century has been one of the most challenging aspects of the student search process for many admissions officers.  Three key strategic considerations I share with my clients revolve around:  Knowing your audience; Talking with students, not at them; and Engaging with social media.

Know Your Audience

It’s easy for my college clients to forget who their audience is ─ high school sophomores, juniors, and seniors.  Their tendency is to write using highly academic language that appeals to them or their superiors rather than their teenage audience.  For instance, how often have you heard teenagers use the word “accolades” in their daily conversations?  My guess is never.  So why not use the word “praise” instead.  Speaking in their language is critical when trying to get a message across and when trying to capture their interest.

It’s also no secret that most teens have a short attention span and are slaves to digital devices.  In fact, when driving home after my 16-year-old son’s football games, I can glance in the rearview mirror to find him fully engaged playing video games, listening to Pandora, watching YouTube, or texting.  I do my best to encourage my clients to keep these traits in mind when detailing a multi-channel communication plan using social media.

Talk WITH Them, Not AT Them

Through the incredible global adoption of powerful social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, the millennial generation has become proactive contributors to the web.  This consistent progression of technology has led this audience to not only want, but to expect personalized communications.

A couple of years ago, I attended a conference called the College Board Forum, and listened to a high school student panel where they spoke about their college search process – remember those days before choosing UMass Amherst?  One marketer in the audience asked the students this question, “What do you dislike the most about the marketing materials you receive from colleges?”  One common response was, “I get too much information that doesn’t interest me.”  In other words, speak to me and tell me something unique about you that I might relate to!  So why do so many colleges continue to waste their marketing budgets on irrelevant, cookie-cutter, bore-you-to-tears marketing campaigns?  The answer probably isn’t as simple as I’d like it to be, but my sense is that part of the problem is that 21st century marketing challenges can seem overwhelming and the status quo is more comfortable.

Engage With Social Media

It’s important to remember that today’s students are digital natives.  They communicate, learn, think, act, and research differently than earlier generations because they’ve grown up with the internet in their back pockets.  Admissions officers today know that social media is a huge part of recruitment and that it should never be an afterthought.  It’s no longer a question of whether or not schools should have a presence on popular sites, but rather what is done with that presence that matters.  I advise my clients to keep their websites up-to-date and stay active where these kids live on tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

The problem I see often occurs when admissions officers insist on being part of the social conversation and in essence, take on the role of a watchdog.  On one hand, I understand that they are apprehensive about giving students too much freedom for fear of negative or controversial chatter about the school, but I also feel that these conversations are going to take place with or without them.  I think it’s a better idea to use student ambassadors instead of faculty so that prospects aren’t intimidated or lose trust due to one way conversations about the institution.  In my opinion, this only increases the chances that the students won’t be engaged by what they are reading unless it’s from their trusted fellow students.

There’s no doubt that some colleges and universities are facing enormous enrollment challenges today due in part for reasons like a sluggish economy, declining demographics, parents questioning the value of a traditional college degree, among many others.  For these reasons, they need to make wiser marketing decisions and embrace all of the powerful social media tools available to them in order to communicate with prospective students the way they want to be spoken to ─ on their terms with personalization, relevancy and coolness!

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Social Media for “Grown Ups”

So here I am, only two classes away from being an official college graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in both Marketing and Hospitality Tourism Management from the Isenberg School of Management. They say after you graduate you’re officially a grown up in the real world, blah blah blah. Yes, this is somewhat true, but it certainly does not happen over night. There are several steps we have to take before it becomes official. I believe that one of those is to become more aware of what is going on around you, whether it is tech-related, politics, local news, sports, and everything in between, it is necessary when becoming a “real adult,” as they say.

So now I say to myself, “ugh..I have to watch the news every day?” “What about a newspaper?” “How much do those even cost?” “Where do I put all that paper when I’m done reading it?” “What if I don’t have time to sit and watch the news?” But then it hits me, it’s 2015 and all of that information is in my hands (literally) on my iPhone. I just need to utilize my resources, all these social media, the right way.

I created another Twitter account for the purpose of this class and I chose to follow a lot of accounts that would inform me about what is going on in the U.S. and around the world, and also news about my favorite brands/organizations. I followed accounts such as Forbes, Forbes Tech, H&M, Target, XFINITY, NY Times Travel, SportsCenter, and Business Insider. I’ve found myself really enjoying scrolling through this timeline of very few accounts, yet a lot of useful information and links to articles. I think soon I will choose to de-activate my other account and start using this Twitter account and act more as a consumer rather than a complainer… haha. I also have never used Twitter as a form of customer service. I have read articles stating that it works wonders. I plan to try this out often in the future too! The following is a link to an awesome article titled “Twitter Might Be the Most Important Customer Service Center You Have”

I’ve already started my “grown up” Facebook account. I deactivated my first Facebook account one year into college when I realized I had an extreme number of Facebook friends I didn’t really know too well or care much about. I made a new one over a year later right before I studied abroad in Spain so that I could post my hundreds of pictures for my closest friends and family members to look at. Now, I only have 560 friends and very rarely do I scroll through my timeline and read uninteresting posts. The whole “sharing” thing has also led me to some interesting reads, both funny and serious. I rarely post anything besides shared articles and photos, and I find that a lot of my Facebook friends do the same.

Instagram is definitely my favorite social media outlet and the one I spend the most time on. I blame that on my passion for taking pictures, which certainly grew during my travels. Even if the photos aren’t of beautiful landmarks in Europe, I take advantage of any place I am visiting, even if it is Boston or a beach close by, to post a cool picture. On Instagram, I follow a lot of travel accounts, as well as my favorite clothing stores. I think following these types of accounts on a visual platform such as Instagram is great because all you really need are pictures or videos of outfit combinations or a beautiful foreign destination to get the message across. I scroll through and simply think “I’d love to visit there” or “I love those shoes.” That’s all I really need for me to be drawn to that type of product. I plan on keeping my Instagram account as I begin this journey of growing up. I will continue to add more and more pictures of new and exciting places I have visited over time, and hope the friends I follow can show me what interesting things they are doing, such as the gourmet meals they are eating in New York, the views from the Grand Canyon, or the beaches of Southeast Asia!

Though I plan to slightly change my use of social media over the next few years, I am also happy that these outlets will be a way of staying in touch with people I have met throughout high school, college, studying abroad, and more. My dad claims he is against social media, but maybe having him read this post can change his outlook!

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The Struggles of the InstaLife

Instagram might seem like a cool concept, and it really is. You can use it as a window to your everyday life to show the world, or you can be all cool and creative and have everyone view your world through the Valencia filter. Most choose to express themselves by using the later which brings up a whole other topic because, my God, creating the perfect Instagram post can be so stressful.

So often I go on Instagram and scroll through my feed and see these perfectly executed photos and get inspired to create my own. I look at the pictures and analyze how people could possibly achieve these social media masterpieces and have come up with a seemingly simple list of steps to take in order fulfill these aspirations.

It all starts with the unedited picture. Your picture game needs to be on point. The whole purpose of Instagram is to have cool pictures and if your initial picture sucks, then the whole post is going to suck. And a post that sucks is unacceptable if you’re aspiring to create your own InstaDream world through the Valencia filter. Think pictures of sunsets, non-gross food, Starbucks, the Tropical Dream Island Vacation. Pictures that fit into these categories usually go over well with the general Instagram audience. Lighting is also key. You need good lighting to make the image bright and inviting. Usually good lighting comes from an indirect natural light source, like the sun through a closed window.

Once you have the best picture option chosen, you now have to figure out the cropping. Do you want to make it square, which is what Instagram defaults your pictures to? Or do you want to be different and edgy and use another app, like Whitagram, to keep your image horizontal or vertical? Personally, I can get a little lazy at points and I’ll stick to the square image. But sometimes the picture screams vertical and I’ll have to take the time out for the extra editing.

Now… it’s filter time. The filter can make or break your image. It can add a whole new dimension to your photo, or the image may not even need a filter and will look washed out and dead with one. It all comes down to the image you start with and the lighting you had. Generally, images with a blue undertone tend to get noticed more, although the Nashville and Valencia, two popular filters, give more of a yellow undertone. The most important note: images with low saturation are good, because it gives the illusion that the photo is old and artsy.

And finally, you need a killer caption. I’m a fan of the short and sweet captions, especially ones that use a pun or a play on words. It makes me feel witty and original. Sarcasm, irony and a little bit of snark can go over well also, but you have to have an audience that will appreciate it, or else they will just be offended. Others go for the motivational message to go alone with the majestic setting sun, but you just have to make sure that your not using the same motivational message as the person who posted the picture of the majestic setting sun 5 minutes before you. You want to be original after all. Some like to pay more attention to the image than the caption, which is fine, but there is nothing like a good caption to wrap up your post. Emojis are good also. Can’t think of anything original? Just add a poop emoji, I’ll guarantee you that no one else paired that with their setting sun.

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WeChat: The World’s Biggest App You’ve Never Heard Of

Around 4 years ago, I downloaded a new app introduced to me by a Chinese friend. At the time, this app was called 微信, or Weixin. It was only for a chinese market and had less than 100 million users. It was a new player in a market already full of social media and messenger apps in China. Everyone was using QQ for messaging and posting pictures, and 1399357387wecht-logoweibo for a twitter-type experience. There were certainly other apps that were available (renren etc.), but those two were far and away the most consistently used by the largest number of people.

Weixin was rebranded to WeChat in 2012 to introduce it in to international markets outside of China. The app has grown immensely in popularity throughout China, and all of southeast Asia. In march of 2015, WeChat said it had more than 500 million active users. Granted, this is nothing compared to facebook’s 1.44 billion active users per month in 2015, but you have to realize that this is an app that a vast majority of the western developed world has never even heard of! I’d like to try to give you some personal experience into just how prevalent the app is here in the world’s most populous country. In order to do so, I think it’s important to understand the features of the app first.



Screenshot_2015-06-05-10-25-42_optWeChat’s main function is for use as a messaging platform. It employ’s the same process as Facebook or Whatsapp. First you must find a person you would like to become contacts with. You invite them to be your friend, and after the invitation is accepted, you can start speaking. Chatting on the app is easy and flawless. Apart from standard typed messaging and recorded audio clips up to 60 seconds, WeChat’s chat function has many different options. Images and video clips are sent without any issue. There is a new function called a “sight”. This is a short 10 second video clip that can be taken straight through the WeChat app. WeChat messaging also allows for voice and video call functions. These can be quite expensive if the user is not on a Wi-fi connection. The transfer function is something that will be further explained in the WeChat Wallet section of this post. There is also a function of Screenshot_2015-06-05-11-14-18_optlocation services that allow a user to share their current real-time location with a friend, or send a map with a specific location selected. As a side note, on top of more the more functional aspects of the messaging, there is also a never-ending collection of emoticons and “stickers”. Stickers, of which you can see a few in the picture on the left, are small gifs that a user can save up to 150 to their personal account.


Group Chats

Group Chats are allowed to have up to 500 users. These group chats have become a hugely popular aspect of WeChat that allows like-minded people to get together and share thoughts. It reminds me of the chat-rooms of days past.


Moments are where a user can share content with the entirety of their contact list. This is how users share pictures, articles, and videos. Friends can like a post, and also post comments.

Screenshot_2015-06-05-11-13-08_optSubscription accounts

These are pages that are opened by companies and groups alike. They provide a page that will periodically send messages containing content that the company would like to send. Have a look at the picture to understand.


Discover is a way to find new friends and add new subscription accounts. Included is a Screenshot_2015-06-05-11-12-14_optfunction to search people within 5km that are also looking for new friends. Also, there is a shake your phone function that allows you to find new friends that are also shaking their phone. The most notable of discover functions is the option to Scan a QR code. These QR codes are now used everywhere in China. From the sides of busses, to peoples Screenshot_2015-06-05-11-51-01_optindividual business cards. Individuals and businesses alike are adopting this technique that allows users of WeChat to have near instant access to their platform. The QR codes are what has allowed WeChat to really take off in its functionality, and improved many company’s ability to market within the app. The QR codes are also used in the WeChat Wallet, which will be explained later.


Screenshot_2015-06-05-11-10-53_optFinally, the newest functions of WeChat all come in the WeChat Wallet. WeChat Wallet is a function that allows users of WeChat to connect a bankcard to his or her account, and use WeChat to pay for almost all things in day-to-day living. You can take a look at the picture to see a list of the specific functions that are associated with the wallet. These are just the surface though. Because everyone uses the app, and everyone is connected to the wallet, it is making cash more and more irrelevant. A user can go into a store, buy X$ of goods. The shopkeeper just needs to open up the quick pay and a user can transfer the money. You can make direct transfers of money to any of your contacts. For taxi-drivers, it seems that cash is becoming more and more of an inconvenience to them. The WeChat Wallet is just starting to evolve into what I believe will become the most significant tool in Chinese consumerism.

As you can see, this app has become a huge part of everyday life here in China. If you meet someone new, the first thing you do, is add them on WeChat. Telephone numbers are becoming irrelevant, and so is cash. WeChat is taking over. I realize I have written what seems to be an advertisement for this app, and honestly, it is. This is an outstanding app with great functionality and benefit to everyday life. I think if it had come out of any country other than China, it would have already caught on in the western world. There are many things that can still be said about the safety of a user’s information on this app. But, I believe that to be true with every social media application available. That is a topic for another Blog post.

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I always enjoy reading about the latest marketing and social media failures, perhaps in an attempt to learn from these companies, and in hopes that I will never made these mistakes myself.  As of late, it seems the use of hashtag has been landing companies in some hot water.  While their use of the hashtag was probably intended to create open dialogue, many have created too open of a dialogue and have resulted in embarrassment.  This blog will discuss social media marketing failures involving the hashtag, and how those companies could have avoided them.

Many companies have started to use the hashtag to invoke honest conversation about the public opinion of their company and products, inviting questions and comments from consumers, and asking them to share their stories.  Inviting this sort of open-ended interaction with the public can often result in backlash, as companies like SeaWorld and McDonalds, and non-profits such as Florida State, have found.

In early 2015, SeaWorld, in an effort to gain some positive PR after the release of the 2013 documentary, Blackfish, created the #AskSeaWorld Twitter campaign.  This campaign was designed to encourage people to ask SeaWorld about the treatment and care of their Killer Whales, however what it actually did was allow people to openly criticize SeaWorld’s ethics, and encourage involvement from PETA and other animal rights activists.  The campaign did not encourage questions the way it thought it would, instead SeaWorld was faced with a slew of negative comments and sarcastic questions from users.  Some of the questions asked by followers included “Are your tanks filled with Orca tears?”, “If you were a killer whale, would you rather live in an ocean with your family, or in a tank alone?” and “How does it feel to have your business collapse the dorsal fin of an Orca in a tiny tank?”  Needless to say, the campaign did not work the way SeaWorld had planned, and many were critical of the campaign itself, openly asking what in the world SeaWorld was thinking.

SeaWorld responded to the campaign by criticizing the people asking the questions, and accused trolls, PETA and animal rights activists of hijacking their hashtag.  SeaWorld’s response further upset people who felt like their questions were legitimate, and that they were brushed off, or blocked, due to the nature of the question.  SeaWorld’s stock has continued to drop, and the number of visitors are dropping quarterly.  SeaWorld never should have started this campaign in the first place, why anyone in their marketing department thought this way a good idea is beyond me, they should have expected negative comments and questions pertaining to the treatment of their animals.  However, they should have addressed the public’s concerns, and should have made a concerted effort to answer the tough questions.  This was an opportunity for SeaWorld to improve relationships with their consumers and work together on a way to improve the conditions and treatment of their animals, but instead they choose to attack and distance themselves even more.

In 2012, McDonalds ran a Twitter campaign called #McDStories.  McDonalds believed this was a way to engage their consumers by allowing them to tell memorable and heartfelt stories about their experiences at McDonalds, but it backfired.  Instead Twitter users talked about their miserable experiences at McDonalds, and criticized the company’s treatment of animals, their poor quality food and their low, unfair wages.  Tweets ranged from “McDonalds scalds baby chicks alive for nuggets” to “One time I walked into a McDonalds and could smell the Type 2 Diabetes in the air and I threw up”.

In the end McDonalds realized the error of their ways and removed the Twitter campaign, as these unappetizing stories have a tendency to hurt business rather than help it.  The unfortunate thing about the internet is that your mistakes live even when you try to delete them, and this mistake left a bad taste in the mouths of consumers.  Just like SeaWorld, McDonalds should have known better than to attempt a campaign like this.  It is unwise for controversial companies to encourage this open dialogue, because odds are it will not work in their favor.  McDonalds should be working on how to improve their business, and perhaps should have asked their followers what they were looking for from their brand in order to do so.

Corporations are not the only ones that run poor social media campaigns, non-profits and government agencies have also missed the mark.  In 2013, Florida State started an #AskJameis Twitter campaign in order to solicit questions about their football team.  What they ended up with was a lot of questions about Jameis Winston’s off-field antics which included rape accusations and theft.  Followers also questioned the ethics of Florida State, and the competency of the Tallahassee Police Department.  Questions like “After getting away with a high profile rape and theft, what crime will you commit to complete your triple crown”, “You went 13-0 on the football field and 2-0 in the court system.  What is your overall record”, and “How many stiff-arms did you throw to get out of the store without paying for crab legs”, were asked.

This is another case of a campaign that allowed too much freedom in the way of dialogue.  Social media marketers should know better than to run a social media campaign around a controversial person or product because it will draw focus on the negative.  Florida State should have gotten rid of Winston all together, but that’s an entirely different topic of discussion.  If Florida State wants to market their school via social media to encourage attendance, they might try focusing on their more non-controversial programs like the campus, or the classes they offer.

We live in a time where mistakes spread quickly and damage is done fast.  Social media marketers should be conscious of their brand’s image in the public eye, and should not poke the proverbial bear (the public).  Though I think dialogue between a company and its consumers is wonderful, and has the potential for great outcomes, that door should be opened carefully.  If a company has any controversy surrounding it, it is not wise to encourage the public to voice their thoughts because odds are they will, and I doubt it will be with the positive feedback that the company was looking for.

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Social Media Habits During Travel Experiences – A Brief Study of the Summer 2015 Isenberg South Africa Trip

southafrica_optAfter returning home from having spent 20 days traveling abroad in South Africa with 30+ Isenberg students in the Ubuntu and Business in South Africa course, I began thinking how different the experience would have been without access to social media. Perhaps there would have been less of an impulse to capture 2,000 pictures/videos and an absence of the constant struggle to find working Wi-Fi to connect with friends and family back home.

According to a report by Deloitte and Facebook (2015) on the use of digital marketing channels for travel companies, leisure travel came up as the third most popular topic among 10,500 social media users surveyed from 12 countries. The travel industry is behind the curve and needs to catch up with the digital revolution. While this study is aimed at evaluating social media business potential for companies in the travel and tourism industry, it also covers the influence of social media on consumers throughout the travel process. One conclusion drawn from the study is “They [consumers] use specific [social media] channels before they travel, others while they’re away, and yet others after they return home.”

Digital channels were found to be a source of inspiration, ideas, and planning for travel experiences, which ranked third in the study behind “friends and family” and “word of mouth” in this area. Deloitte and Facebook (2015) also found that consumer social media habits reportedly “return to normal” while on holiday, but usually do not involve further interaction with travel brands (perhaps an area of opportunity for a marketing intervention). It was also concluded that after consumers return home, photos, videos, and reviews are often shared through digital channels, although in my experience this also occurs during travel.

In my opinion, mapping the “travel process” (e.g. travel idea, plan trip, travel, return home) is essential to understanding the customer experience and allowing travel brands to more effectively target consumers with the right content at the right time. As described in Organizing Around Your Customer’s Journey, a blog post by John Abraham (2013) of the Medallia Institute, “It [customer journeys] helps you organize a customer feedback program, so you can understand how you are doing and take action to improve the customer experience.”

The socio-digital world may or may not distract from the present moment of travel, I decided to investigate the matter by surveying my friends from the trip on their social media sharing habits and attitudes while abroad in South Africa. A short survey was constructed in Qualtrics and distributed through direct messages via Facebook to 30 people from the South Africa trip, 18 of whom completed it, yielding a 60% response rate.

Survey Results

Below are brief summaries of each survey question and responses:

Question 1: In South Africa, how often did you use social media?

The survey showed that the majority of respondents (89%) would access social media whenever possible while abroad in South Africa. Internet connection and quality was inconsistent, but the habit of being “connected” to a social network seemed to remain strong. The following question attempted to dig deeper into potential reasons for social media use abroad.

Question 2: How important to you were each of the following uses of social media while abroad?

Based on a mean importance score (max possible mean=3, min=1) taken from the options “Very Important,” “Somewhat Important,” and “Not Important,” the following five categories represent the order of which social media uses respondents found most important:

Rank Category Mean
1 Checking in with family 2.78
2 Communicating with friends 2.39
3 Messaging students on trip 2.28
4 Sharing my experiences 2.06
5 Uploading pictures/videos 1.78

“Checking in with family” topped the list as most important, and “Uploading pictures/videos” was shown to be least important for the survey respondents.

Question 3: Please choose the social media sites/apps you used over the course of the trip (click image to enlarge).


Among eight of the most popular social media sites, Facebook (94%), Instagram (89%), and Snapchat (89%) topped the charts as most used during the South Africa trip. Twitter (39%) came in fourth and the remaining choices were shown to be relatively insignificant during travel.

Question 4: Please rank each social media site/app in terms of overall usefulness during our trip (click image to enlarge).


Similarly to the previous question, the usefulness of these eight social media sites were evaluated by respondents using a sliding scale of 0-100 (averages shown above). Results yielded slightly different perceptions of usefulness with Facebook receiving the highest usefulness score (80.3), followed by Instagram (63.3), Twitter (55.9), and Snapchat (48.2), etc.

Question 5: Please provide an estimate of pictures taken on [your] phone/camera.

With a minimum of 100 pictures and a maximum of 1,200 pictures (excluding my own 2,000), the average amount of pictures taken was roughly 450 per person with an estimated total of 8,100 pictures. The proportion of pictures actually shared on social media is most likely a small fraction of this.

Question 6: Social media was important to my experience in South Africa.

Using a five-point Likert scale (Strongly Agree=1; Strongly Disagree=5), respondents produced an average value of 2.33, which most closely represents the answer “Agree.”

Question 7: I believe social media enhances travel experiences.

With the same method as the previous question, the importance of social media was presented to travel experiences in general. Respondents produced an average value of 2.28, again most closely representing the answer “Agree.”

Key Takeaways

  • Social media is perceived as important for communication while traveling
  • Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram are most used, however, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are perceived as most useful while traveling
  • Respondents agreed that social media is important to the experience in South Africa and believe that it enhances travel experiences in general


Abraham, J. (2013, April 25). “Organizing Around Your Customer’s Journey” [Web log post]. Medallia – The CEM Blog. Retrieved from

McCabe, L., Jennings, S., Weissenberg, A., & Murali, R. (2015). Social? That’s for consumers. For travel companies, social media means business. Deloitte and Facebook. Retrieved from

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