The Business Impact of Social Media
By Beth Benjamin Senior Director of CX Strategy Research Group, Medallia | February 14, 2016
As the use of social media becomes more pervasive, its impact on businesses becomes more significant. Digital conversations about your hotel are taking place all the time, and if you're not engaging in that dialogue, it's a huge missed opportunity to strengthen your relationship with consumers. By taking advantage of social media interactions, you learn more about your customers and their experiences with your company. Furthermore, you can leverage that information to enhance your operations, create new sources of value for your guests, and influence perceptions about your brand in the global marketplace-ultimately increasing your bottom line.
Go Where Your Guests Are
Your guests are everywhere-not just geographically, but virtually. While Facebook and Twitter are two of the more common social networks where consumers congregate to share information, they are no longer the only avenues. Newer applications such as Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest, and Instagram are wildly popular and interactive, thus influencing the way users share ideas. A recent survey from the Pew Research Center shows that 52% of online adults use multiple social media sites ; and that number is sure to rise further as additional platforms emerge and continue to disrupt the space.
These advanced applications empower users to communicate in new and vivid ways-using images, videos, audio, emojis, etc. And if a picture is worth a thousand words, what your guests are posting online can say a lot about your brand. In other words, while traditional methods such as surveys are still relevant for capturing feedback, social media has drastically expanded how people share information about your brand, how people research and perceive your brand, and how your brand can interact with consumers-from hashtag campaigns to personalized snaps.
Social platforms provide a critical forum for engaging in a rich and valuable dialogue with guests and potential guests. In order to take part in that dialogue, you first have to become an active participant, leveraging technology to enhance your communication with customers. It's also critical to have best practices in place. These platforms, by nature, make your interactions highly visible to other people, so there's a great deal of responsibility involved. Tone and professionalism are obviously important considerations, but how you follow through can have an even greater impact on your guests and your bottom line. Online engagement today is about much more than brand awareness and promotional content; it's about learning from your guests, adapting your services and products in line with changing expectations, and demonstrating responsiveness.
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