7 Ways Your Hotel Can Win With Social Media

7 Ways Your Hotel Can Win With Social Media

Hotel websites are very similar. They all have the same stock photos of beautiful people sitting in beautiful lobbies or the typical hotel bedroom and the navigation panel on the side to book the room.  To the average consumer, your hotel website does not do much to differentiate itself from the others.  However, there are several things your property can be doing with social media to blow every competitor out of the water.

Social media for hotels, social business

Here are 7 Ways Your Hotel Can Win With Social:

Listen to the social vine and have your hotel engage early

I don't mean to listen to someone saying they are thinking of making a trip to Denver and you send a 20% off promo code. I mean use Twitter's geo-location feature to listen for conversations going on in your city and then jump in and engage in the conversation with fun facts about the city, events that might be taking place that week or “DID YOU KNOW” trivia about your property or area. Ask what brings them to Denver and share a favorite restaurant or place of interest with them. Let them know you can help in any way possible AND oh, by the way, you want to offer them a special deal only available to your Twitter friends. Don't offer the same worn out deal that they can find on any travel site.

Have your “Social Concierge” welcome a guest BEFORE they arrive

Sure, after booking a hotel room many hotels send a confirmation email, but why not encourage them to connect with you on Twitter,  Facebook, Instagram, or any other sites your Social Concierge is connecting with guests.  Show them you are on duty and ready to make their experience extra special. You can now extend the guest experience from the booking to the arrival, and of course, all the way through to their next booking.

social media in hotels

Provide helpful information to guests

Have the Social Concierge provide guests with seasonal weather information suggested packing items like winter coats or fall sweaters. Put together a list of things ahead of time for each season and then place the link in a tweet or Facebook post to them. On Twitter and Facebook, you can continue the relationship building and find out if they are coming for business or perhaps a special occasion that you can now help make more productive or more special.

  1. Send a link with local events happening in your town and suggested sites to see. Send a list of restaurants in your area and shopping malls around. The concierge at the desk isn't the only one who can help them make plans.

  2. Let your guests know you're online and ready to answer any questions, before during or after their stay. This can personalize the experience and nip any problems in the bud. It can also relieve your front desk team from some of the traffic that gathers to ask simple questions.

hospitality and social media

Watch for SOCIAL check-ins

Be sure and have your social “check-in deals set up” and watch those check-ins daily to also welcome folks who may have come into your social range through these channels. A person is always stunned when they check in on a social channel and someone replies to them with a WELCOME note. It shows you are listening.

Don't send a typical survey after a guest leaves

These are impersonal and most guests feel as if it goes into a shoebox under the GM's desk anyway, never to be looked at or acted upon. You do the work. Reach out and ask them via Twitter or Facebook, if their stay was excellent. Get specific feedback and if the guest is delighted, then you can ask if they'd be willing to share the sentiments on TripAdvisor, Google My Biz or Facebook recommendations. Encourage them to share any favorite photos or memories from their trip. Keep the relationship growing!

What are some other ways you can reach out through the social channels that guests are flooding, to create a more unique customers experience?  Have you had any hotel or retail store do something creative that WOW'd you?  We'd love to hear.

 

Connect with Gina on Twitter.

How can we reach out and help YOU connect to your world?

Someone’s Talking About You on Social Media…What Will You Do?

Someone’s Talking About You on Social Media…What Will You Do?

talking about brand review sites

I know most people are skeptical about Yelp, Google Local, TripAdvisor and other review sites, and none more skeptical than a business owner with a bad review posted on one of these sites. “It’s probably one of my competitors, posting a false review.” Whether it is your evil competitor trying to take you down or your newest fan raving about you, these sites cannot be ignored.

With over 178 million monthly users on Yelp, 260 million users posting reviews on TripAdvisor , and 2.23 BILLION active users on Facebook, (as of June 2018) all itching to have their voices heard, companies have to monitor their brands and make time to engage and reply to these reviewers.  With a little attention to these reviews, you can turn around a bad experience and build loyalty, and on good reviews you can boost the love and create a viral spread.

  1. Reply to comments and social reviews quickly 

    When someone takes the time to write any comment about your business, they are giving you a gift. Don't leave that gift unacknowledged.  Make sure you have notifications turned on for comments on your website and that you either check once or twice a day all of your social channels or turn those notifications on as well so you don't miss comments there. There is nothing worse than leaving a question or comment and never hearing back. Whether you receive a great compliment or a horrible review, be sure to thank the person for taking the time to provide you with feedback. One thing I learned from raising my 4 children is, what you recognize or reward will be repeated. Thank people for bringing you the feedback.

  2. Apologize…SINCERELY!

    Again, something I learned from my kids during those teenaged years; an apology that starts with SOR-RY and includes BUT… is not an apology. It is an excuse. I had the opportunity to sit with a woman in a cable company call center, Mary Delgado, who was the escalation desk for the vilest of customers. She took call after call from people who were cussing at her, screaming into their phones (over cable TV, no less).  Mary would listen without interrupting and then her first response would be, “Oh my goodness. I am so sorry you have had to go through this. This should NOT have happened.  I am going to get this taken care of.” It was so classic. You could almost see the person on the end of the line squirming as they tried to come up with another comeback. Their anger couldn’t compete with her willingness to own the problem and seek a resolution.  Sometimes all a wronged customer wants is to be heard and to hear a sincere apology.

  3. Don't delete the comment

    Show, in public, how you are going to make things right or at least ensure it doesn't happen again.  Most review sites don’t allow you to delete a review, but Facebook does if the comment is left on the page and not in the review area. I have seen companies delete negative reviews, thinking the person will just quietly go away. If you delete an angry comment on your site, the customer will take it to a public space where you have no control and it WILL get ugly. I am shocked to see review sites where a company either denies that the problem happened, basically calling the customer a lier (Most classic is the Blue Sky Hostel owner in Glasgow who calls the customer a blind, fat, a retard and the firestorm of comments back and forth between the owner, the angry customer and everyone else who chimed in for entertainment that wasn’t available on any television network. You can find the Buzzfeed post here with screenshots. Which is another reason why you should never delete a negative comment–the person has most likely taken screenshots in case they need to go to the public.

    So what can you do about it? If it is something you need to investigate to find out if it is true, you can HIDE a comment on Facebook, but on any site, you should contact the person who posted the review and ask them to contact you via private message to resolve the issue. When they don't respond, you can assume the person isn't looking for a resolution.

    Whether it’s a negative review, an old embarrassing photo of yourself, or anything that shows up on the web that you wish would just go away, the one thing you CAN do is put out lots of good content that is attached to your brand, to push those old reviews down. It will take time, but it works.

  4. Ask for reviews and recommendations on your social media sites.

    When a delighted customer tells you they had great service or loves your product, immediately ask if they would mind writing a review for you on one of your social sites.  Let them know how it helps your business and then thank them.  Talk to your team and remind them to think digital first and get those recommendations in video, on social sites or anywhere else that the world can see.

I'd love to hear from you. Have you left reviews on a social review site? Do you expect a response? How do you feel if you get one?

If you need help keeping up with all of the responses and connecting with your social audience, contact us today.…it's what we do!

Contact me on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn

social media marketing small business, hotels, social business
 

How to Know If Your Business Is Suited For Social Media

How to Know If Your Business Is Suited For Social Media

I have a friend who would never allow people to pop in or come over if her house was not perfectly clean and orderly.  She had two small children and she said she didn’t want people to see the mess.  I always laughed and told her, if that were true for me, I would never have a visitor, announced or not.

There are some businesses that can’t allow people to pop in on them for fear they may see something less than perfect as well. They want everything well scripted and professionally produced before they will allow the world to stop by on their social media channels.  They don't like live-streaming for fear of being imperfect and some don't even like allowing comments from fans on social media channels for fear of what they might post.

The problem with social media is it should be more… SOCIAL! It is “in-the-moment,” spontaneous, and yes…sometimes MESSY.  If your team is waiting for approvals and meetings to take place before a response or post can go up, and you can’t share or ReTweet something from someone else’s profile because it was not screened ahead of time, your brand will struggle to be “social.” Social media is the place to let your audience peek behind the curtain and see how your products are made,  your books are written, your team learns together, and how you play.

social business

Some still think social media marketing is best for B2C businesses, but the reality is whether you are a B2B or a B2C, we are all in P2P relationships. Person to Person.  We want to connect as one person sharing and providing value to another person. People like to see who they are dealing with at another business.  They also want to connect with real people.

Like inviting a new friend over for coffee, social media in a B2B or B2C environment allows you to get closer and begin building the trust needed to establish a relationship.  While people may not want to become “besties” with their cell phone provider, they do like to know they have someone there that cares and can help answer questions when they have one.

When I started researching for this post, I found a few B2B companies that were doing an amazing job with their ability to be social and show a human side to a rather technical industry, and of course I found a few that should close their social windows, draw the shades & sit quietly until people pass by.

anti-social business, hide from social

 

Let’s take a look at a few good and bad examples of businesses on social media:

AGCO Corporation

AGCO offers a full line of tractors, combines, and other agriculture equipment.  They sell to distributors who sell to the end-user (farmer or rancher).  You may think an equipment company would have no place on social media sites, but you’d be wrong.  This company and their 5 brands are connecting and having real conversations with their distributors, fans and those seeking answers about the equipment.

What they share:

Lots of informational and helpful tips mixed with fun and more playful or personal photo posts.  One that I found showed the spontaneity and fun. (Rainbows don’t wait for a committee to approve them.).

B2B social media example AGCO on Facebook

 What social sites they are active on:

They have a WordPress Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and my favorite was their YouTube channel.  They have an incredible collection of educational and informative videos (thousands of videos!) from their own team as well as from their community members.

What we can learn from them:

Provide as much information and helpful content as possible and be where your customers are to answer their questions. Be casual and conversational. Allow your community to be involved in teaching others about your products or services.

 

The Funeral Industry

This industry is one that you might shudder to think of on social media, but when you consider the fact that at least most of us, will need to secure the services of a funeral home sooner or later (hopefully much later), some make it a very “lively” social experience on their pages and profiles.  Most funeral homes are very active in their communities and one, that shares great information as well as these fun community event photos, is Bartolomeo & Perotto in New York.

What they share:

Tips for caregivers and families dealing with aging parents or loved ones.  Resources such as Meals on Wheels, hospice care contact information, local blood drives and fun charity walks and runs.  You can find information on creative memorial services and explanations on cremation versus burial services.  You will also find information on events they are involved in, such as their annual butterfly release (photo below), the 9/11 memorial parade, and their very popular “Stockings for Soldiers” campaign.  The community shares the posts, shows up at their events and supports the causes that are close to their hearts.

funeral homes on social media

What social sites funeral homes are active on: 

While we found Pinterest boards filled with cemetery statues, memorial ideas, songs for memorial services, floral arrangements, urns and more there were only a few funeral homes who had created boards. Most of the content was user-generated.  We found many funeral homes on Facebook and Twitter, and a few savvy enough to answer the many questions consumers have about funerals on YouTube.

 

Funeral homes on social media management company

And of course there are businesses that try to fit into a typical social mold but their target audiences don’t want to talk there. While I believe any business can learn to be social, the platforms each chooses may need to be very different.  A Blog can be a safer place to learn about bipolar disorder than on Facebook, where I wouldn’t want anyone to see that I liked a page let alone that I asked a question or commented there.  YouTube videos, and perhaps even Instagram are a better place for someone to learn how to treat acne than for me to follow and engage with @ZitBeGone on Twitter.

Medical and dental offices can be very social if they share helpful, fun and interesting information for their audiences.  However, if you take out the fun and interesting posts, it leaves only content about veneers and crowns.  There are only so many posts one can take showing the inside of people’s mouths combined with information on root canals.  We did find several who know how to be social and are sharing fun community events along with helpful information.  Love to Dr. Jim and his Tooth Fairies at Southwest Pediatric Dentistry. (We spent 6 years visiting these fun folks with 3 out 4 of our kids in braces!)
We can see the personality of a business on social media sites.

Dentists and Doctors on social media social marketing company

Download our FREE assessment to see HOW SOCIAL IS YOUR BUSINESS and get tips and tools to improve starting today!

business social media assessment

So before hanging your social shingle out letting people know you are on social media, you might want to ask a few questions first:

  1. Is our potential audience active on social media sites?
  2. Which sites and platforms?
  3. Do any of our competitors have active communities on these sites?
  4. Can we write content, regularly, that is more casual in nature and “social” than what is found on our website?  (You cannot simply regurgitate your web content over and over and call it social marketing.)
    (Here are 30 ideas of things to post on your social media accounts when you don't know what to say.)
  5. Are we okay with sharing photos, videos, and stories of our team and the daily activities behind the curtain?
  6. Are we okay with allowing our community to share their stories, videos, and photos on our pages and profiles or their own?
  7. Are we okay with people posting feedback about our company, our products and services and even our team members on our pages?
  8. Do we have a plan for how to respond to social feedback? Is it written down? (Read: How to Prepare for a Social Media Disaster)
  9. What is the personality of our brand?  Not what do we WISH it was, but what IS IT currently?  Write the words that describe your brand and your team.  Don’t portray one personality online and shock people when they come in to do business with you and your team members.
  10. Are we prepared to let our social marketing team (or person) have some freedom to engage with people and respond in the moment without needing to micromanage?

Being successfully social means being a little vulnerable, and a little more honest about who we really are when the staged photos of fake team members are taken down and the perfect web copy fades away. Being successfully social means having a sense of humor and a more playful spirit. It means letting people pop in without worrying about them seeing a few toys and crumbs on the floor.

anti social media

 

How do you feel about letting people see behind the curtain of your business? I'd love to hear from you. Leave a comment below or connect with me on your favorite social media channel… I'm everywhere YOU want to be! @GinaSchreck

Do you need help setting up your social marketing strategy?  Contact one of our fun team members and watch out for the blocks on the floor.

Stop Using These Crappy Images On Your Social Media Posts

Stop Using These Crappy Images On Your Social Media Posts

images and photos for social media and marketingSometimes I think I should have been a nun instead of getting into marketing and social media. Not the kind of nun that sings, like on Sound of Music or Italy’s “The Voice,” but the kind in the 1950’s who walked around with a ruler, ready to smack children on the knuckles when they used crappy images on their social media posts!

There are only a few things that send me over the edge when it comes to how poorly some companies are using social media: One is when they don’t respond to a comment or question left for them on one of their social sites, proving they don’t really want people to talk to them, they simply want everyone to read their stuff.

Another is when people use those idiotic services like TrueTwit validation to make others on Twitter prove they are not robots by going to a robot site and jumping through a bunch of hoops.  (See a past post for more on that rant here).

And the one that my team, here at SocialKNX, has heard me preach over and over again (with my ruler in hand) is when people and especially brands, use crappy images on their social media sites.  I think my issue started back in the days when Microsoft's Screen Bean characters were all the rage in corporate presentations and marketing material.

crappy images

 

 

I wanted to rip things apart when I would see them.  (Anger management courses have helped a bit.)

 

 

 

But today it's even worse when great visuals are available everywhere and the cameras we carry in our back pockets take fantastic photos, there is just no excuse for poor images (except laziness, or a love for screen beans) being used on our websites, blog posts or social media sites.

Every social platform allows for very large images and we want to take advantage of every pixel we can. I love using Canva to ensure we are sizing the images correctly. Their templates for social media sites are very helpful, and they do a pretty good job of keeping up with the ever-changing sizes.

Here are some of the types of images that will get knuckles cracked, and why:

Clip Art (of any kind)

bad images

These just have the same smell as my great grandmother's TV room.  They are old and stale. A great photo of an actual boy on a tricycle or a cool close up of a tricycle would be more intriguing and interesting than this one.  Take a trip this weekend and snap some great photos to use instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why not go with something more interesting?

Photo by Rodolfo Mari on Unsplash

Phony team or corporate porn

corny images

Oh, these are bad on so many levels, it's hard to know where to start! First, any of the overly staged, fake corporate team photos tell the world you don't even try. You may have purchased these photos from Shutterstock or iStockPhoto, but you didn't look past the first 3 or 4 choices.  A personal favorite is the overly enthusiastic team meeting photo that shows everyone giving high fives around a flipchart! Come on! Show us, REAL people, doing real office activities. I know they are harder to find. You have to look at new collections or unique sites like Unpsplash. Better yet, get your own team members to pose for a few shots, or look for great photos that depict the message you are trying to convey.  The fake looking, overly-staged pics are called corporate porn. They should be banned and someone should lose their job for even looking at them on company computers!

where to find great images for social

Photo by Steven Lelham on Unsplash

Corny Images

corny images bad images for social media corny images dont use these in social media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No explanation needed! You're just embarrassing yourself if you are using these anywhere. Don't make me get my ruler out.

Where to Get Great Images

So where do you go to find these GREAT images?  Here are 12 stock photo libraries to get you started.  You will still have to look through their collections to find the great ones.

The photographs from the first 8 sites are free from copyright restrictions or licensed under creative commons public domain dedication. This means you can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.

However, some photos may require attribution. We’ve done our best to identify which license they fall under but we still advise you to do your own research and determine how these images can be used.

The last 3 resources are paid stock photo sites that are great for those who blow through hundreds or thousands of images a month. You need more than one place to find just the right image to tell your stories!

Here you go:

  1. Unsplash – This website offers amazing and beautiful photos absolutely free. It's one of my favorites.
  2. Pexels – Pexels is another great resource offering high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero (CC0) license.
  3. StockSnap – This website offers many similar images to the paid subscription sites (probably the images that didn't get purchased from them). They are free and free from copyright restrictions.
  4. Life of Pix – a great collection of high-resolution images with no copyright restrictions.
  5. BURST (by Shopify)– All photos are licensed under Creative Commons CC0 and can be used as you see fit.
  6. Picography – Beautiful free images to use however you'd like.
  7. PicJumbo – This site offers free images you can use without copyright restrictions and you will also find a “premium” level for more hidden gems.
  8. StyledStock -This site offers free “feminine” stock photography for every woman entrepreneur. The collection is totally free for your commercial & personal works.
  9. Pikwizard– This site offers over 100,000 completely free images on the site and over 20,000 are exclusive to Pikwizard. They have a lot of pictures of people in business settings which is helpful for corporate accounts.
    ______________________________________________
  10. Deposit Photos– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
  11. Shutterstock– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.
  12. iStock Photos– a typical subscription stock photo site. You must pay for individual photos or buy a monthly subscription to download the images.

Don't forget that photographer inside of YOU. You can take some great pics with your mobile devices and then add a bit of pizazz with apps like A Beautiful Mess, or even Instagram.  Don't settle for boring images.

Infographics are another great way to add visual appeal to your social media marketing.  Check out tools like Canva,  Easel.ly, Piktochart, Venngage, and if you want a little help, check out Visual.ly 

how to make infographics for social media posts

Do you have a type of image that makes you cringe?  Do you have another great resource that you use for great images? I'd love to continue the conversation here in the comments or on our DIY.social Facebook Group.

Connect with me on Twitter or via email Gina@SocialKNX.com

The 3-Step Formula to Ensure Your Social Media Activity Will Help You Reach Your Business Goals

social media to reach business goals

Hitting business goals with social media is like planning a family vacation: You don’t start with planning potty-stops (well unless you travel with someone who has an extremely small bladder, then you just might).

Yesterday a new client asked how many posts per day we will be sharing on Facebook and how many on Twitter. I asked her if she has ever taken a road trip. She replied, “Yes. Why?” I told her when you plan a road trip you don’t start by deciding how many gas stations and potty-stops you’ll take. You decide where you are going and make the necessary stops to get there.

Many people are concerned about whether they should be posting 4 times a day or 20 times a day on their social media channels. There are people who worry about whether posts go out at 5am or 5pm. The key is, the algorithms have gotten so good it doesn’t matter what time of day you post. If your followers are typically interested in your content, it will be waiting for them when they log in.

We are looking at social media marketing all wrong if we are asking how many posts do we need to load each day. We need to take each goal and ask, “How do we get there?” Will we need to take a plane? A train? A car? All the above? And if you have ever followed a paper map instead of your GPS, which basically tells you what to do and which route to take, you know there are often several routes you could take to reach the same destination.

You may have to identify multiple goals along the way before you arrive at your final destination. Perhaps your final destination is halfway around the world. Your first goal is getting your family from your home to the airport. Then the next goal is to get from that destination to a train station and then a rental car location in the next destination. Achieving a business goal is a lot like this family vacation. There’s a lot of planning that has to go into getting to that final and ideal destination.

road trip hipsters

Let’s be sure the main goal you have in mind is the real business goal. If your goal is to have 1,000 fans on your Facebook Page, I would ask you WHY. Why do you want 1,000 fans on your Facebook Page? Do you want 1,000 fans so you can get 500 of them in a coaching program you run? Then getting 500 coaching clients is your goal. Having 1,000 fans on Facebook might be one of the vehicles you take. Adding fans, and followers to your social channel that then come into your email list to attend a free webinar to then sign up as a coaching client might be a better route to take.

So let’s take our road trip analogy and help you create a plan.

summer road trip

The Strategic Goal: Where are you wanting to go?

Identify the goals you have, big and small. These are the destinations you want to get to. Many times, it is not a single goal, but each one will have its own roadmap and plan.

The Plan: What mode of transportation will you need to take to get there?

Let’s identify some of the different vehicles you could take to get you to your goal:

  • Social Media Posts
  • Webinars
  • Video – Live streaming or pre-recorded
  • Blog Posts
  • Podcast shows (yours or someone else’s)
  • Whitepaper or research paper
  • Tip sheets
  • Templates
  • Email
  • Facebook Ads

Now let’s work backward. We’ll use the coaching program as our example and work backward to identify the specific activities that need to take place to help us get there. You will simply tweak this to layout your own trip and plan.

GOAL – Final Destination → Getting 500 people in a coaching program

PLAN→ Host a webinar to teach the top 2 things people do to sabotage their own success and 3 steps to put a stop to that. If you can convert 20% of webinar attendees to sign up for your coaching program, you will need to have 2,500 on your webinar, or you need to host a few webinars with an average of 500 on each.

GOAL –Destination #3 → Getting 500 people on a webinar 5+ times

PLAN→ Email campaign. Send a series of 5 emails – 4 with short video tips to make changes in your life and the last email inviting people to a free webinar. Assuming you will get a 50% conversion of people who watch your videos to those who sign up for the webinar, you are going to need 5,000 people getting these email sequences.

GOAL – Destination #2→ Getting 5,000 in your email sequence

PLAN→ Lead Magnets (Freebie) with a downloadable resource guide or tip sheet for people struggling with self-sabotage. They get added to your email list when they download.
PLAN → Blog post about the destructive powers of self-sabotage with a tip sheet at the end for people to download and get added to your email list.
PLAN→ Weekly Facebook Live events to discuss one problem and one tip each week and end with a freebie off to download your research paper or tip sheet to gather email addresses.
PLAN→ Social media posts driving traffic to blog content mentioned above.
PLAN→ Social media posts offering freebie download
PLAN→ Social media posts inviting people to webinar
PLAN→ Facebook Ads using FB Live event that has an offer at the end.
PLAN → Facebook remarketing ads to those who watched the Facebook Live videos above but didn’t end on your freebie offered at the end. This ad could offer the free download

GOAL- Destination #1→ Grow your social media audience continually to keep new people seeing your content above.

PLAN→ Add specific hashtags to draw in your strategic audience
PLAN → Follow or connect with people who are interested in other coaching books, seminars, speakers, etc.
PLAN→ Create posts on Facebook that get people to identify self-sabotaging behavior they have experienced or seen in their life. Share a downloadable tip sheet after and ask people to share with others who might find it helpful

As you can see, this list can not only continue to grow but can be as exhausting as a family road trip. The key I want you to take away is this:

Stop focusing on the number of gas and potty-stops that you will make each day. Spend a little more time on the strategy and daily plan and you will get to your final destination much faster and have a much better time once you are there.

Be sure to download our cheat sheet that will help you create your own Strategic Plan!

strategic planning guide

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!