What's REALLY been worth reading over the past week? Craig Hanna, digital marketing consultant and resident GMA managing editor, introduces the articles that have caught his eye...
It’s recently been reported in a Barclays report on social media and the hospitality industry, that 60 per cent of UK restaurant, hotel and bar businesses see only ‘some’ or ‘limited’ benefit from using social media to engage with would-be customers. This is at a time when smarter businesses in the sector are attributing up to 50 per cent of new sales from social channels such as Twitter and Facebook.
To get better results, here are my top ten social media tips:
- Research your Customer’s Use of Social Media – Will you find your customers on Twitter, Facebook or else? Speak to your customers directly or ask which channels they use on a feedback card or your website. Alternatively, seek the advice of a marketing consultant or members of your team who are particularly savvy on social media. Find out if your customers are more likely to use social media on a smart phone, tablet or computer as this could influence the type of content you decide to share. For example, not all images work well on mobile so it’s important to optimise for the small screen if that’s appropriate.
- What are your Best Competitors doing on Social Media? Seek out competitors who are doing the best job on social media. For example, www.fanalyzer.co.uk lists the top pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants on Facebook. Take the opportunity to watch and learn. In some instances you’ll want to model similar winning strategies for your business. On other occasions, you’ll want find a way to stand apart from the market. Keep a sharp eye on the competition to make sure you successfully hold your point of difference.
- Choose your Channels Wisely – If you’re a large hospitality organisation then you may be able to rise to the challenge of managing a social media presence on several channels. When resources are more limited, stick to communicating on the top two or three channels that are proving popular with your customers whilst also monitoring customer feedback on the major review sites such as TripAdvisor.
- Have a Customer Response Strategy – Whether your customers come to laugh, cry or scream on your social media newsfeeds, make sure you have considered how and when you will respond. Ideally, your business should look to respond within the shortest time possible to help minimise the effect of negative comments. Thank everyone for their kind or complimentary comments. And mention their name when you respond. It’s said that our name is one of the sweetest sounds we ever hear and I’m certain that’s just as much the case when we are mentioned online.
- Listen Proactively – Did you know that social media allows people to mention you without necessarily talking directly to you via your social media accounts? In effect, thousands of public comments could be cropping up online without you ever knowing. To remedy this situation setup tools that allow you to instantly track, read through and respond to these conversations from one place. Hootsuite.com or setting up Google Alerts are just two solutions which could help you to manage this process.
- Integrate Social Media with the Rest of your Marketing – Always be on the lookout for ways to use social media communications to support other marketing and business activities such as events, in-venue promotions, recruitment drives, requests for feedback and more.
- Invest in Training and Resources – Social media may be free to use but it is skills and time-intensive. Allow the person who manages your social media to either take time out to study the latest tactics and technologies, or invest in intensive training sessions with a social media expert to ensure they can stay up to speed without wasting too much time away from the business.
- Measure the Results – Keep a track of your follower numbers. Record your engagement levels to measure how well your content has been received. How many people went to your website from Facebook or Twitter? Did you get the results you were looking for? If not, make amendments to your plans then review and compare the results on a monthly basis.
- Keep Up with the Next Social Media Trends – Do you know what’s coming next? Have you got a plan to stay on top of new trends? Business opportunities arise out of finding and capitalising on new trends and innovations, so make sure someone is keeping you abreast of the next new thing.
- Write a Social Media Marketing Plan – Condense your social media approach into a One Page Plan that’s easy to pin up on the wall and circulate to your whole team. A simple overview like this can become a highly powerful tool which helps keep your whole business on track.
Susanne Currid’s book, Build Your Tribe – the new marketing manifesto for restaurants, bars and cafes – offers more advice on marketing for hospitality businesses and is available to buy in print and Kindle format on Amazon. The Loop Digital Communications.
Please register below to unlock this article.
An email will be sent to you with your membership details.