Who Has Time for Social Media Measurement?

By Holly Zoba Senior VP of Sales - Hospitality, Signature Worldwide | January 29, 2012

Do you know your popularity index on TripAdvisor or what guests are saying about you on Twitter? With the plethora of social media sites that can positively – and negatively – affect your hotel, it's important to have a clearly defined, manageable plan for social media measurement.

I often wonder if Albert Einstein might have been referring to social media analytics when he said, “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.”

The great debate continues on how to best measure the results of any social media effort. Just look at the volume of acronyms that have been added to the ROI family. What was historically return on investment is now return on intent, return on interest, return on engagement, return on effort, and on and on.

I have read dozens of articles about how social media shouldn’t be measured by traditional methods because it isn’t about any kind of return on investment. It is all about reputation management, customer engagement and my favorite tactic used by social media consultants – it doesn’t matter what the ROI is, if you don’t get involved, you will be left behind – I refer to that as ROFGO – return on fear of getting old! There are many senior managers who don’t get social media, but they know they should, so they hire kids who do get it to manage their company’s social media efforts because they don’t want to appear obsolete.

The quantitative results seems tricky to measure but everyone seems to agree on the value of qualitative returns on social media. Good buzz about your hotel, lots of positive tweets or posts, thousands of likes on your Facebook page, surely that cannot be a bad thing. Increased customer loyalty is another term I see linked with customer interaction on social media channels. So should that be enough? When you search for what people are saying about you, and the majority of the posts are positive, doesn’t that enhance your brand and make it more valuable? But what about negative or neutral posts – isn’t the old adage any press is good press still true, so even though the posts may not all be in your favor, at least your name is getting out there – PR impressions – doesn’t that count?

While there is some truth (and measurement potential) in the qualitative value of social media, ignoring the quantitative component to your social media efforts, because either you can’t figure out how to measure, or you just don’t have the time, will eventually lead to the demise of your owner’s interest in the investment of your social media efforts. Brian Solis recently did a brilliant job of consolidating the thoughts of hundreds of CEOs he has interviewed on the topic of investing in social media:

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Andy Ellicott
Johan Terve
Tim Sullivan
Joyce Gioia
Sherri Merbach
Lisa  Cain
Michael Blake
Holly Zoba
Robert M. O'Halloran
Tony  Heung
Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.