Social Media in 30 Minutes a Day
By Benu Aggarwal Founder & President, Milestone Internet Marketing | July 24, 2011
As search engines consider social media channels on their Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs), it is important for hotels to have a strong presence on these channels and manage it well. The most common mistake that hoteliers make today is ignoring the importance of these channels with the concept that managing such channels takes too much time out of their busy lives. Although this may seem overwhelming, it's important to know that we are only at the beginning of the imminent social media explosion and the online activity in these channels is bound to increase. The question now asked is, should hoteliers care? And the answer to that question is absolutely YES.
Social media is the modern day comment card, and people are talking about their travels and the places they visit on these channels... including hotels they stayed in. By partaking in the conversations, hoteliers can reveal what their guests particularly like about the property; and on the other hand, identify what things the hotel can improve on. In addition, most people check online review sites or pay special attention to their friends' recommendations before they book their travels. If most of the comments or reviews they see about the hotel are positive, it is likely for the guest to book a room at the hotel. Alternatively, if most mentions of the hotel are negative, the traveler will look for a better option and turn to the competition.
Now that the importance of social media presence has been established, the next step is to determine how to effectively and efficiently use these channels to improve online presence, enhance website performance, and ultimately drive additional revenue for the hotel. The purpose of this whitepaper is to help hoteliers set up a game plan to be successful with social media. With a proper game plan in place, social media can be successfully managed with as little as 30 minutes a day.
The first step to creating successful social media campaigns is to define the hotel's goals. Without any goals in place it's difficult to create a roadmap to success and even more difficult to measure results. The most common goal for social media campaign is to make money. However, there are several other goals that should be taken into consideration such as:
- Monitoring the brand/hotel mentions and see real time conversations
- Tap into the conversation about the brand/hotel and increase engagement
- Improve services from 'real time focus group'
- Drive traffic to the website/booking engine
- Saturate the search engine results pages
Once goals are in place, defining a strategy is the next step. One question that always comes up is, "Which channels should hoteliers focus on?" Although Social Media is gaining relevance in the internet marketing world, this doesn't mean that hotels should have a presence on every single social channel. Given that a hotelier does have a busy work life, having 20 different profiles on 20 different channels can pose more of a problem than a solution. The goal is not to promote on social media channels, rather to connect with travelers and potential guests on channels they mostly use. Begin by tracking mentions of the hotel on channels such as online reviews channels, blog sites, social networking sites, etc. If budget allows, investing in a social media monitoring tool can help save time and energy in tracking social mentions. There are several social media tracking tool, such as eBuzz ConnectTM, that are currently available in the market. (Go to http://www.milestoneinternet.com/html/online-social-media-management-system-for-hotels.asp for information about social media tracking and online reputation management).
A lot of hotels start with Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube as these are currently the major players in the Social Media realm. Get comfortable with these channels and begin building the hotel's profiles. In creating social media profiles, consistency is important. The following are a few suggestions: