With all the press coverage surrounding social media it’s hard to imagine any hospitality marketing professional who isn’t thinking of adding some sort of social media initiative to their marketing efforts.
But jumping in and adding a blog, Facebook page or start Tweeting without doing your due diligence can be a huge mistake. You need to know how each social media can be integrated into and compliment your brand message.
Denise Zimmerman has written an excellent article – “4 signs you’re a social failure“- every hospitality marketing professional should read. In it she cites Gartner research showing 75% of Fortune 1000 companies with web sites will attempt some sort of online social media initiative for marketing or customer relationship purposes. Gartner also projects 50% of those initiatives will fail!
If Fortune 1000 companies are failing, what’s a small luxury hotel to do? The article contains several case studies and lessons learned along the way. What I take away from the article is hotels need to approach social media the same way they do any other media – with a disciplined approach and solid foundation in marketing fundamentals. Here are my top five:
- Have clear objectives in mind for social media programs, and focus on achieving them.
- Know your audience and create content that fosters a dialogue and has mutual value.
- Anticipate any and all backlash. Experienced PR folks know this all too well.
- Transparency is crucial to social media success and establishing trust and credibility.
- Identify clearly defined criteria for success and monitor your social media. Failure occurs when you don’t know your options, consider your constituents, or plan upfront accordingly.
Sounds like solid marketing advice – it is – and that’s the point. Don’t let your social media decision making be driven by hype. And don’t think it is “free.” It will demand a considerable amount of manpower ($) to create and manage successfully. Approach it with a plan and sound strategic thinking designed to enhance your brand and there’s a good chance you will avoid becoming a social failure.
What do you think? Safe travels – Madigan Pratt