New Highlights for Social Media
By Cindy Woudenberg Founder, LuCorp Marketing | June 16, 2013
In the last few years, Social Media has undergone a myriad of changes. New players have come on the to the scene, a number of informational websites have gone 'social' and, in addition, existing social media platforms have changed considerably. Where do hotels direct their effort in utilizing Social Media for the best return today? How does a hotel keep up with the many changes and rapid development in the Social Media world? Although change can feel like it happens overnight, a hotel's Social Media Marketing (SMM) efforts should always be driven first by the idea of engaging and promoting the brand to the customer and secondly by incorporating changes into the portfolio of a SMM Plan.
Before we go into the details of change on the horizon or discuss the current available platforms on the market, we want to make the point that Social Media should be utilized with focus towards a set goal.
The Purpose and Goal of Social Media Marketing
Setting a Social Media Marketing (SMM) Plan is a key component of an overall Business Plan for a hotel. Let's talk about setting action plans and goals when developing an initial SMM Plan for a hotel.
When setting action plans and goals, SSM should focus on the following:
- Outlining goals with audience in mind and align with corporate objectives
- Develop a road map and plan for execution
- Establish structure for revisions and measurements for campaigns
The first step, outlining goals, is often the easiest to do but should contain intentionality beyond driving business. The SMM Plan serves as a roadmap for the monthly workflow that details specific tactics designed to advance a hotel's key marketing mission and objectives. Within the SMM Plan are several specific actionable plans that should be put in place. The goals set for the SMM should contain commitment to boost sales and increase revenues. It may also specify other items such as improve customer service, promote events, develop contest campaigns, etc. Several examples of focus could be "being the flagship hotel in an area," or "establishing the hotel as the friendliest hotel around," or "providing the finest personal service." Many of these ideas can come from the hotel's mission and vision statement and should easily transition to the SMM Plan. It is important to note that the Social Media Marketing Plan is only part of the integrated marketing plan and overall hotel mission. Additional goals and objectives for the SMM Plan should reflect in the entire operation of the hotel.
In an article by Angie Schottmutter on Search Engine Watch, "Social Media ROI: How To Define a Strategic Plan," Schottmutter works out details of a SMM Plan. She recommends, "a guide to mapping a social media strategy with meaningful key performance indicators (KPIs) that align to business objectives for tangible measurement." She goes on to say that any plan should "start by following the social media strategy funnel. Before diving into tactics, you need to define social media goals that align with business objectives." Most of her information about defining a plan stresses the importance of setting and defining goals, determining planning steps, employable tactics, and a process for measurement, revision, and refinement.