News for the Hospitality Executive
Think Breaking Up Is Hard To Do? Guests Don’t!
|By Amanda Dennis
February 24, 2011
After resisting for months, you finally gave in to the pressure and set up a Facebook page for your hotel. Threw up a few photos, listed all of your promotions and, oh yeah, updated the status when you had a spare moment. You get a few “likes” right away and then they begin to multiply. Your status shows more “likes” every day. This wasn’t so tough after all.
Suddenly, it comes out of nowhere. You’re blindsided! OMG, your customers are breaking up with you! Some aggressively…they’re literally going to your site and unliking you. Some passively…they’re hiding your news feeds so they don’t have to face you. And the rest….they’re just not into you enough to bother one way or the other.What happened? What did you do wrong? How do you get them back? If you lost them, will you lose others?
MarketingProf.com quotes a recent survey by ExactTarget and CoTweet where 55% of Facebook users say they have “liked” a brand on Facebook and later “unliked” the brand. Why? Content frequency and quality are the top reasons. 63% say it’s because of excessive postings; 38% say it’s because the content became boring or repetitive. Let’s put that in dating terms: you’re suffocating, clingy, uninteresting and the thrill is gone.First, we need to understand why you got “liked” in the first place. Think of it as the initial dating phase. They met you, liked what they saw and agreed to go out again. Next, scroll through your “likers” and omit your mother, father, siblings, cousins employees…you get the idea. Your edited list contains those who represent future revenue promise; the first step in a potentially long-term relationship. Now, how do you grow this list and, more importantly, what do they want from you? Need a little nudge? Here are 10 suggestions to consider:
1. Create a custom welcome page. Let people know what they can expect by clicking on the “like” button. Making a good first impression is crucial to starting a new relationship or taking a relationship to the next level. It’s no different here. A welcome page defines you.
2. Facebook is not an extension of your website. They will be linked, of course. But this is entertainment, a place where you can have some fun with your customers. We want them to ooh and ah, laugh and share. Literally. One thing to remember, though. This is not your profile page; it’s a business page. Balance the fun with professionalism. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want broadcast on a lighted billboard with your name and face right next to it.
3. Offer one-of-a-kind promotions. One reason followers keep business posts in their news feeds is because they’re afraid they will miss something if they hide them. Posting your latest packages (especially if the packages are predictable and boring), offering a measly percentage off…they can get that anywhere. Be daring and take some cues from the retail sector. Right now, McDonald’s is offering a free small coffee. What can you offer that is creative, interesting, desirable and maybe a little edgy?
4. Post regularly, but not too often. We want to cultivate and grow our customer relationships, not drive them away from us. They like us but they may not love with us…yet. Facebook provides a channel to interact with customers in a less formal way, giving us a chance to build stronger brand loyalty. It is important to show personality while maintaining a certain level of professionalism. Respect your customers and don’t get spam happy.
5. Engagement must be interesting, not boring or repetitive. It is important to understand that effective social networking is customer-generated. Our job is to recognize the conversation points and to determine the best place for us to add our voice, almost like a guide. We may start the conversation by asking a question or making an observation, but the customer should be the most active participant. The more you know and understand the people in your social community, the more effectively you can communicate with them. Don’t get discouraged if people don’t respond right away. Based on several surveys, active participation comes from less than 10% of your followers.
6. Discover your influencers and reward them. It’s not the quantity of your followers; it’s the quality. Stop thinking about it as the Amazing Race toward some arbitrary number. What is your goal in creating this community? Bottom line, we want ambassadors who like our product so much that they tell others, thereby creating demand. If you don’t have influencers, create some using polls, contests, videos, and photographs.
7. Emphasize niche markets. Use separate pages or tabs to get their attention. Family resort? What about a personalized “Mom” tab with mom’s offering advice about the area, what to pack, etc. Your goal is to bring together people with similar interests and get them talking. Weddings? A personalized page dedicated to interaction with other brides may be just what you need to close the business. Golf resort? A tab featuring the resident pro offering advice, complete with instructional video, may be just the thing to spark interest and keep customers coming back for more.
8. Group business. If the highest conversions come from third-party referrals, then group business is perfect for a Facebook business page. Better yet, what about a separate Facebook business page focused exclusively on groups and linked to your website? There is no better advertising than meeting planners and attendees raving about how much they liked meeting at your hotel.
9. Ask them to like you. A call to action is essential. The Facebook icon should be everywhere: your website, your signature line, anywhere your hotel is presented electronically.
10. Help is not a dirty word. If Facebook is the social “face” of your hotel, you must invest time and, yes, a little money into making it work for you. Don’t get me wrong…I’m an avid believer in handling social networking on site and not out-sourcing this important marketing channel. On the other hand, outsourcing the initial set-up is a wise investment unless you already have an expert on staff. Call on someone who has experience handling this type of project and work alongside them to learn how to use your Facebook pages efficiently and effectively. Sort of like a driver’s education course. You take a class to understand the rules, test drive to get the feel of it and then it’s all up to you. Your investment can generally be recouped within a few months.
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if you are setting up a Facebook business page only in order to book a room, then you are going to be disappointed. The transaction itself is a by-product of effective community engagement. Be very clear about your goals, expectations and responsibilities. How do you know what’s working and what isn’t? Facebook Insights and Google Analytics both provide reports that help guide you. Keep asking questions, monitoring engagement, testing and filtering judiciously. Listen to Seth Godin, “Conversations among the members of your marketplace happen whether you like it or not. Good marketing encourages the right sort of conversations.” And the right sort of conversation forms a path leading to revenue enrichment.
A hospitality specialist for over 30 years, Amanda Dennis helps under-performing hotels achieve impressive gains and average hotels soar to extraordinary levels. How does she do it? By working in tandem with your team, incorporating novel positioning, leveraging traditional and modern channels for marketing and adopting inventive pricing strategies. Whether your need is basic or complex, short-term or long-term, Amanda J. Dennis & Associates will design a solution based on your needs, your goals, your market and your location. Think you can’t afford a consultant? Think again. Your potential investment return is as limitless as your curiosity. Find out more by calling (720) 379-3058 or e-mail Amanda directly. Facebook fans click “like” for daily tips, tricks and take-aways.
Is What You Pay; Value Is What You Get...” / Amanda Dennis /
“Likes” Me. Your Facebook Account May Not Be Working Because……. /
Amanda Dennis / October 2010