The Secrets of Successful Social Media Marketing

By Robert King General Manager, Travel & Hospitality, ClickSquared | December 26, 2010

If you've been reading my articles regarding optimizing guest (and travel agent) communications, then you've probably noticed that there is no one "silver bullet" that does the trick. Rather, communications must be integrated and orchestrated for maximum impact: this is the essence of cross-channel marketing.

It's no different with social media marketing -- the "new frontier" for marketers today.

Just to be sure we're on the same page, social media marketing is the use of social networks, online communities, blogs, wikis or any other online collaborative media for marketing, sales, public relations and customer service. Usually when consumers think of social media, sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube spring to mind. These communities give people a way to connect on a more personal level, enabling them to create content to share with family, friends, co-workers and other like-minded individuals.

It's all about conversation, and the first and most important part of any good conversation is the ability to listen. For marketers, social media, at its essence, is primarily a listening post into customer sentiment.

The Evolution of Social Media Marketing

How is social media marketing different than other kinds of marketing? Traditionally, marketers have created marketing campaigns based on specific events, promotions, product launches, etc. They've been in the driver's seat – they decide the message, the medium, and the recipient. With social media marketing the marketer becomes a "facilitator". You engage in a "conversation" rather than deliver a monologue. While initially passive in this space, marketers are now active participants in the conversation and using community dynamics to their advantage.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.