OMG! I OH @ the bar that my BFF is now on FB! LOL—I’m JK! BTW, I just sent you a DM that you can RT. L8R!
Translation: Oh my gosh! I overheard at the bar that my best friend forever is now on Facebook! Laughing out loud—I’m just kidding! By the way, I just sent you a direct message that you can re-Tweet. Later!
OK, so I’m a dweeb. I admit I have trouble reading the first paragraph of this blog with a straight face. I also admit that I have a little bit of a social media phobia. It’s not the concept of it or the advantages of using it that I don’t get. No, my problem revolves around not being able to get my arms around it. Social media is a huge universe these days—and it can be intimidating. It’s like learning an alien language.
I got a huge dose of reality while moderating a panel about social media during the Southern Lodging Summit @ Memphis a couple of weeks ago. The panelists—John Fareed of Fareed Zapala Koepke, Michelle Lapierre of Marriott International, Kerry Crawford Trisler of the Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau and Corey Trautvetter of Hotel SystemsPro—were so knowledgeable that the session quickly turned into a classroom for the 150 of us who were there.
The session could have lasted much longer than the hour and 15 minutes that it did. It wasn’t just the US$1,000 cash drawing sponsored by Elvis Presley Enterprises that kept fannies in the seats. It was a desire to learn.
The panelists shared a lot of info, and in those 75 minutes we were able to establish 33 tips to develop an effective social media platform for hotels. The best part about the panel is that each of the four panelists was quite knowledgeable—and very willing to share their experiences. Kerry, the mover and shaker behind the popular ilovememphisblog.com, added a touch of youth and exuberance that often is missing from panels. The other three offered youth and experience!
Here are my 10 favorite tips, in no particular order:
Treat it like a party! Your team should have fun while conversing with your target audience.
Somebody says “party,” and I gotta listen.
Address issues in a timely and honest fashion.
Apparently, integrity matters! That’s great news and probably the most important item on the list.
Involve multiple departments (i.e. PR, IT, Marketing, HR, Legal, Customer Relations). If you don’t deal with them while you’re setting up the program, you will have to deal with them later!
Gulp! Lawyers? Gulp!
It’s OK to fail. Don’t be afraid to try something new and innovative as a part of the master plan. If it doesn’t work, stop doing it! Don’t be afraid to push the limit.
There’s no shame in trying and failing. It’s not trying and not failing that will get you in trouble.
Dedicate someone to oversee the efforts. It’s good to have multiple people involved, but not having a point person will result in chaos.
Putting someone in charge is never a bad thing.
Create relevant and valuable content.
Music to my ears. That’s what we try to create here at HotelNewsNow.com—and I hope this blog qualifies.
Get to know the people who can help you. Reach out to bloggers. Understand what blog seeding is, and give bloggers something to work with.
Having friends in all the right places is never a bad thing! This means you need to be totally committed to the platform and engaged in the process. It’s no different than the chief maintenance guy at your hotel knowing the best plumbers in town.
Learn how search engines work.
I usually ask Paul, our site’s version of the Answer Man, to deal with this one. I guess I need to try to learn how they work—and hopefully not fail.
Have a message and a reason for it. Simply having a social media presence for the sake of having one isn’t worth the effort. Everyone on your team should know your message.
This sounds so simple, but it is probably the most abused tip of all. Too many social media platforms exist for the sole purpose of the owner being able to say they have one. C’mon people … if there’s no purpose for it, there’s no reason for it!
It’s not a popularity contest. The number of followers you have isn’t as important as the quality of the people interacting with you.
Quality, not quantity. How many times have you heard that? The truth is that it couldn’t be truer.
So there are 10 of the 33 tips. @TEOTD* social media all boils down to the fact there’s no such thing as TMI**.
*At the end of the day
**Too much information