Staying ahead of the social media curve

It is often said that hoteliers and restaurateurs are “two years behind the curve” as it relates to social media but in today’s marketplace they can’t afford to overlook the importance of social media and the influence that it has on prospective customers.

So what goals should you develop as it relates to a social media strategy and which social media channels should you use?

First, you must keep in mind that social media is an engagement platform where you listen to your community first and then engage and interact as a member of the community and not a salesperson.

Second you must develop a plan based around community advocates of your hotel or restaurant that will result in your advocates delivering a message or call-to-action that can benefit and educate other members of the community.

Now take a look at your Twitter or Facebook page. Be honest. Does it reflect your hotel or restaurant or does it look more like something you threw together at the last minute? Click on these links to see if it gives you a better idea about creating a social media site that reflects your unique voice and image. Roger Smith Hotel, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, Opus Hotel, and Joie de Vivre Hotels.

Now let’s focus on content and that includes your message, video, and photos that you created and hopefully you invited your guests or customers to post. Don’t overlook the importance and the level of trust that you create when you encourage your guests and customers to actively participate in your community. In my opinion, IHG has created some of the best social media-suited videos that I call their “Chief Concierge” series. Here is an example of the InterContinental New York Barclay. Watch and listen closely. They do a brilliant job of soft selling the hotel as the Chief Concierge reveals what you can expect to enjoy outside of the confines of the hotel.

Last but not least track, track, track your data and don’t ignore it. Monitor your clicks and conversions that are associated with the campaigns that you should be creating. If your campaign is a dud, don’t blame your community for not connecting with it. Tweak it, change it, or scrap it then create another one that shows a verifiable ROI and serves as a template for future campaigns.

Have any questions or comments? Send them to me. I’d love to hear your thoughts and share some other ideas that may help you to become more successful with your social media campaigns.

Tom Costello is the founder and principal at iGroupAdvisors, Spring, Texas.