Believe it or not, the first social media sites emerged in the early 90’s, so no-one can say that social media isn’t here to stay, almost twenty years later. It’s a marketing tool that when used correctly, builds relationships, brings opportunities, drives collaboration and increases business value. We’ve all heard the horror stories though, like the #qantasluxury faux-pas, so how do you ensure that your online commentary isn’t slowly poisoning your business? These do’s and don’ts will help you keep on the right path.
...ensure your social media manager has a strong understanding of your business and place in the market.
...your social media manager must have excellent communication skills.
...be genuine in your interactions, but careful not to share absolutely everything or mislead.
...engage with your customers; tell stories, entertain, provide information that is of value.
...consider consulting a specialist for advice, or perhaps to handle your social media accounts completely.
...use the same strategy across all platforms, it is not a case of one size fits all. Plus, for hospitality businesses, responses to TripAdvisor reviews needs to be an essential part of the plan.
...forget to make use of your followers once you have them; ask for shared content, research participation or feedback.
...forget to listen. Social media is about two-way communication and blasting one-way messages without consideration of the relationship will backfire.
...be unprepared. Expect questions, some negativity and customer service issues to arise through your social media and address them professionally and individually.
Typically, social media is not given the serious consideration it deserves, and often is overlooked entirely by business owners and operators as it falls outside their comfort zone. Whilst it can be ignored, social media is not going away and as it has many potential benefits it should be embraced. The fact is, social media isn’t just about having a Facebook page and a Twitter account, nor is it about announcing the new receptionist you just hired or dealing with complex customer service issues. It should be an integrated part of your marketing strategy and the value comes from the measured results, not the basic presence.
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