The Next Wave in Social Media
By Didi Lutz President, Didi Lutz PR | January 01, 2012
It is time to sit down and evaluate what your marketing team has done for the past eighteen months. Has your property adopted social media trends, or are you just starting? If you have a presence on social media, is it strategically aligned with your overall message? How do you coordinate traditional PR efforts with digital media? Is the message coming across solid and intact? Are your fans and followers engaging with you? Are you using the feedback constructively? Have you seen an increase in revenue? Exposure?
These are some of many, many questions you should be asking to make sure you are on track with the social media craze that has taken over the digital space. We now measure things like "post quality" and "digital influence" replacing references such as "column inch reviews" and the inclusion of a photo. We have come a long way and there's no end in sight. There is so much opportunity for hotels to take full advantage of social media that it is important to understand where the next phase is going to take us. While predictions are just that, we are noticing that social media keep maturing. As we've said before, social networks are finding their place and space, and continue to evolve in ways that are helping us interact better with one another. In the end, connecting with others is a basic human need, and that is why social media have gained so much ground at a pace we feel we can't keep up with.
One of the main reasons some business have not put too much effort into growing social media is revenue oriented. What is really the financial gain from having X number of Facebook fans and Y number of Twitter followers? Yes, there is a definite PR value that is evident, but does it really translate into sales, reservations, new guests, more money spent by repeat guests and VIPs?
My answer to this is: yes, it can, if social media is guided strategically and is constantly evaluated for progress.
At the same time, there are still some boutique hotels that are hesitant to adopt social media for a fear of not receiving the corresponding ROI altogether. Consider that you're missing the boat, and you really have no other choice but to engage in the digital space. Communication has shifted to include a shared voice, a community of social media that aims to add value to topics, conversations and relay messages to others with similar interests.
With global economies still shaky, and the world reaching at 7 billion people this past fall, we are shrinking more than ever with social media. The internet enables us to become closer than ever, and there is a unique opportunity for hotels to not only be found, but to find ways to add value to a growing community of travelers.