How to PROPERLY Ask Your Peers Travel Questions on Social Media

October 25, 2021

Something I’ve found very important in our industry is learning how to properly crowdsource for information. We see our clients crowdsource all the time, and we do it in our personal lives too (hey that is how I found my awesome lawn service company!)

crowdsourcing (according to Merriam Webster): the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers

Wonder why you are never getting responses to the questions you post online in Facebook groups and online forums? Have you thought about your approach?

When I was first starting in the industry 12 years ago I had to learn the hard way how to properly crowdsource when I had a question. I was accused of not doing my research, of not being serious, and of wanting others to do the work for me. I won’t lie, those words hurt. I knew I had done the work. I knew I had asked my clients oodles of questions but people online were being so mean . . . why?

I was not including enough information to show that I had done my share of the work and research . . . that I was a professional. I had to change how I was asking questions to show that I’d done the work, that I couldn’t find what I was looking for.

I’m so happy to share my process of how I crowdsource.

Four Questions to Ask Before You Crowdsource on Social Media

1. Have I done my due diligence to find the answer?

Have I done my research? A big one here is Google. One of the biggest slaps in the face I’ve received is someone linking to (Let Me Google that for You) with my question put into the google search box.

If you have time to ask your questions on a shared social site, you have time to Google it first.

The first step to due diligence is to qualify your clients and suppliers to ensure you ask informed and well-researched questions!

2. Am I posting my question in the right place?

Double-check you are in the right forum before posting your question. You wouldn’t order ribs at a vegetarian restaurant, so make sure you’re not asking a Hawaii question in a Mexico-designated group.

In some destination-specific groups, I'm a part of, I used to ask about a destination outside the group’s focus, and that could ruffle some feathers.

I learned that it was better to ask “Where should I ask this Mexico question” in a Hawaii group rather than flat out asking the question. So you might need to ask a question before you ask your real question.

3. Have I searched the forum for an answer yet?

Have you done the legwork to find your answer before asking your question? Have you used the search feature in a group to see if someone has already asked your question? Have you checked the files from that group?

It's a good idea to state in your crowdsourcing post that you've looked for your answer and couldn’t find one in that particular group.

[HINT:] Sometimes searching on your mobile device may yield different results (gotta love inconsistent technology . . . I’m looking at you Facebook), so don’t hesitate to look on both your laptop/PC and mobile before asking your question

How to Compose Your Question for the Hivemind

I’ll be honest. It takes some time and practice to work on composing a great succinct question. You want to include as many details as possible so you can prove you’ve done the legwork. But you don’t want to write a long never-ending post that everyone skips past because it is too long.

I’ve found that it’s best to summarize what you are looking for in the first 1-2 sentences and then start a new paragraph with the details. That way someone can tell right away if the question is something they can assist with and will continue reading further into your details to provide you with options/answers that fit.

You will also want to provide what you have already offered and why it does/doesn’t work for the traveler.

Here’s an example:

Nikki Miller Crowdsourcing Example

Following Up After You Crowdsource

You’ve taken your time to draft the perfect question. You’ve made sure you have the question in the right area. You’re getting great responses. You’re done . . . right? Not so fast!

You want to make sure that you follow up and thank the colleagues who took the time to help you. I’m not talking just a “like” on their comment. I’m talking a full-sentence thank you. (Bonus points if you follow up and say “Hey! I sent my clients these options and they loved them because of XYZ.” )

If everything didn’t go quite as planned and maybe you are getting “trolled” by some colleagues who never heard of the golden rule (the one where if you don’t have anything nice to say. . .”).

Do not fall into the trap. Do not engage. Just move on to the comments that are most helpful and thank them for their time and assistance.

Just remember to treat these virtual environments as professional environments and not personal ones.

There is nothing wrong with asking for help and asking for others to share their experiences. With so many in our profession working solo and isolated, we need to create our own virtual water coolers and office environments to learn from each other and to share our knowledge.

Just remember to treat these virtual environments as professional environments and not personal ones. The more qualifying information you include, the more virtual eye-rolls you will avoid.

Just like in a physical office environment, not everyone gets along 100% of the time. We all have off days. My advice for this is to not take things too personally (especially if you’ve followed the steps before posting).

Don’t get sucked into negative comments and don’t engage them. Just keep scrolling. This ALSO applies to you when you are posting on someone else's question. If you are having a bad day, just try to remember, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” and keep scrolling.

I hope you find the handout helpful and consider referencing it before you post your next crowdsourcing question and that you find the perfect answer to your next question!

Nikki Miller, Travel with Nikki

About Nikki Miller: Nikki is the founder of Your Voyage Vocation an organization that empowers part-time and hobby travel consultants to transition to full-time travel business owners by providing the knowledge, tools, and support they need to build a successful travel business. She has 12 years in the travel industry, all as an IC, and owns Travel With Nikki. You can connect with Nikki on Facebook or Instagram.

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