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Hospitality Marketing With Social Media

 

 

 

 

With consumers spending more of their time on social media sites, companies everywhere are trying to reach them by social networking. There’s now a common expectation that a strong online marketing strategy is necessary for any company trying to see an increase in their marketing efforts. Lately, those companies in the hospitality market have been really utilizing social media to see an increase in sales.

 

Why hospitality? It’s an industry driven by recommendations and reviews. People make purchasing decisions with different criteria in mind, yet peer reviews and recommendations are among the most popular ways to persuade. With the popularity of social media and the growth of the Internet in recent years, consumers jump online to give their positive or negative reviews of brands.

 

Hospitality is an industry where customer service is crucial, so it makes sense that the industry would want to develop the greatest customer service experience possible. Social networking is being viewed as a new and improved customer service platform for a variety of companies. Social media provides online visibility and lets companies market their products and services online to people everywhere, increasing their reach and exposure to potential consumers.

 

If you’re in the hospitality industry, there are some things to keep in mind when developing a social media strategy.

 

Consider what your goals and objectives are with social media. This will assist you in choosing the perfect social media platform to start with. If your company is new to social media, start with setting up just a single platform. Once you get more comfortable using this platform, record how much time it takes you on a daily and weekly business to manage the site then consider making other presences on different social media sites.

 

Also, have a content strategy. Think about what you want to put out on your social media sites and how often you’ll put it out there. Keep your customers in mind at all times when choosing content. Think about if your consumers want to view constant promotional messages, or if they would prefer to view interesting articles you found and shared.

 

To make social media work for your business, you must use it regularly and be constantly engaging in conversations with your consumers!

 

Carefully choosing the right social media platform to start with is very important. In considering Twitter, know that it lets companies connect with consumers, and other companies on both a local and a global scale. If it is important for your company to have fast customer service, Twitter can be used to respond quickly to questions, comments or complaints consumers might have.

Immediate, real time customer service is marketing in itself. It should generate positive emotions from your fans and followers and lead to influential word of mouth recommendations for your company.

 

With Facebook, your brand’s page acts as the online “headquarters” of your company. It’s like a marketing hub for consumers to come and see what your brand has to offer. You should give your Facebook fans exclusive information about your latest specials and deals, as part of your online marketing strategy. Also, think about making Facebook check in deals to reward consumers for checking into your business by giving them coupons or discounts.

 

Blogging can also be used in your marketing strategy. You could set up a company blog on your website, and also find influential bloggers who can review your products and services then direct readers to your site. A business blog lets you position your company as an expert in the industry. Blogs are also good to use for sharing company milestones which consumers would be interested in knowing, like if your company has changed locations, or opened a new office.

 

YouTube is another great site to consider. It’s a great platform to show off important and fun events happening in your company. It gives consumers insights into your company and promotes curiosity, which can lead to an emotional connection with your brand. You can increase the effectiveness of your videos by posting them on any other social media platforms you might have.

 

There’s also Pinterest. It’s the latest trend in social media, allowing users to “pin” their interests onto boards that they create. For your marketing strategy, you could create a board to show off your products, or pictures from company events to catch the interest of users. A great benefit of Pinterest is providing consumers a visual appeal to your brand.

 

While there are many options available to develop your marketing strategy, remember to start small, then become comfortable with how your strategy is working, then build your social media presence gradually to provide quality customer service to all of your consumers!

Staying On Top Of The Changing Social Media World

 

 

 

 

After playing with social media for a few hours, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. You quickly realize that there are so many new tools constantly coming out that you feel obligated to learn in order to keep your social media marketing plan strong.

You can be sure that with Internet marketing, once you conquer one social media platform, a new one will come out soon enough, so always be prepared for continual learning! However, understand that sometimes it is worth learning all the new social media tools, and sometimes you might not need to invest so much time in learning a new platform; it all depends on your specific marketing plan and target audience.

While it can be demanding to have to constantly keep up with the latest social media tools, there are tricks to help keep your cool and stay strong in the ever-changing Internet marketing scene. Here are three elements to stick with in order to keep your social media marketing plan sturdy when approaching new social media channels.

1. Stick with what you know

If you’ve been playing with social media for a while now, you should know what works for you and what doesn’t. If there’s one social media platform you know is bringing you success, stick with it and maintain that success. When you find a new social media channel, experiment with it, but don’t neglect your best platform.

2. Stick with your marketing plan

If you know certain social media platforms won’t work well with your company’s marketing goals, don’t waste your time with them. Know what your company message is, what content you want to deliver, and who you want to deliver it to. Keep this plan flexible so it can adapt to the latest platforms, but never forget what your marketing plan is. Only spend time looking into new platforms if they seem to align with your marketing goals.

3. Stick with your customers

To be successful with social media marketing, you must know who your target audience is and know what social media platforms they use the most. Take this information into consideration when new platforms pop up. Think about if the new platform seems like something your target market would get into, or not. If it is, take the time to learn it to reach those customers.

Even though there is a lot to learn with social media marketing, if you spend your time wisely on learning what will work with your social media campaign, you will stay successful.

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Gain Brand Loyalty with Email Marketing!

 

 

When you combine the benefits of email along with social platforms, you can promote any product, increase sales and build brand loyalty in more ways than ever.

Big brands like Starbucks, and daily deal brands like Groupon have found success from combining rewards and discounts with their social media strategies. But what about businesses that aren’t so well known, or don’t promise amazing daily discounts?

You don’t need to be a top name retail brand or have thousands of Twitter followers to get the most benefit out of your social media strategy this year thanks to combining email and social marketing.

By combining social media efforts with a well-targeted email marketing strategy, companies can easily gain customer loyalty. To do so, you must use the perfect incentive and target the perfect audience, at the perfect time. Use these three ideas to increase your word-or-mouth marketing and boost customer engagement by using both social and email strategies:

1. Offer an appropriate incentive

Discounts are great, but there are other ways to push your email subscribers to get social with your brand. Some techniques marketers use to increase engagement include altruism (the idea of people passing on information they find valuable) or use unique social games like engaging videos or fun quizzes. Whatever technique you choose, make sure that the content and tone of your incentive align with the interests of your target audience.

2. Look for the social butterflies

Doing some research to customize your social engagement strategies will end up being more successful than simply asking your email subscribers to “like” or follow your brand. Find the consumer “influencers”-those who are active social media participants. Market to these people so they can help influence potential clients and bring more customers to your brand. You must find how engaged certain email subscribers are to your brand and pick out the most active social members, most loyal to your brand. To do this, use social data, social monitoring and listening platforms to examine existing email files with information about subscribers’ social interactions. With this information, you can come up with email-marketing segments based off subscribers’ social profiles. If you discover you have an active group of subscribers, think about creating a referral marketing campaign to push those subscribers to recruit new potential customers.

3. Learn your consumers’ passions

The key element of social media is about people being brought together who share a common interest. If you try to force your brand on an audience not interested in what you have to offer, no marketing strategy is going to work. You must find out what your target audience likes and interact with them based on those likes.

You might find your audience has a common interest in your product or service, but you must dig deeper to find the best way to get them excited about your product or service. You can’t expect your customers to buzz about your brand just because they’re interested in what you have to offer. Come up with ways to market to your audience that involves their passions. If your company sells car parts, think about igniting your consumers’ passion for cars and racing. Don’t just make your marketing about car parts; be creative and think of ways that can get people who share the common interest in cars to be active with your brand.

A thorough marketing strategy that utilizes the benefits of email and social tools can provide new and exciting ways for companies to build brand loyalty and boost sales. No matter what your company has to offer, it all comes down to how you connect with your consumers!

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Seven SEO & Social Media Trends For 2012

 

 

In the year ahead, there seem to be some major social media tactics you can expect to see affecting businesses. Some of these trends have already been carried out by companies, but in 2012, expect to see a mass adoption of these plans carried out by all types of businesses.

1. Google+ Explosion

Google+ will continually come out with new features, and Google+ pages will continue to become more business-friendly. The integration with other Google properties, like in paid search ads, its search engine results page, Google Reader and YouTube will be the greatest advantage for Google.

Google had a strong focus on social media last year by basing its employee bonus and salary structure off of its success through social media. This has resulted in everyone involved the Google world constantly considering social media. This internal focus will lead to an external force where consumers will make Google+ a main social media platform in 2012.

2. Creating Engaged Communities

Businesses will be sure to pay attention to their current community members in 2012, as marketers become more advanced in planning and measuring their campaigns. There will be a stronger emphasis on creating an engaged community as opposed to mere numbers of followers. So, community managers need to energize community members and engage with them in multiple areas, like market research, product development and product discounts, for example.

Managing and building communities is about the consumers, the information and staying consistent. This strategy will be seen heavily in 2012 and will become a key part of community management.

3. Stronger Marketing Intelligence

Last year there was a lot of new technology platforms that changed social media monitoring and provided advanced data to help drive marketing campaigns.

This year, businesses will move beyond just looking at company mentions and influencer scores, and move more toward combining different social data in order to create a marketing intelligence that will drive future marketing campaigns. Many tools do this already, but there is sure to be more this year.

4. Social Media Driving SEO

The usual on-page SEO factors will still remain constant, as it makes your content search friendly, but in 2012, strong sharing activities through social media will drive SEO results.

SEO conversions will be higher and simpler to measure on organic search. And as a result, more companies will carry out a closer collaboration between their social teams and searches.

5. Real, Quality Content

Everyone appreciates content that is relevant, engaging and unique to the consumer. In the past few years, companies have worked hard to come up with content with the sole purpose of creating content for SEO.

In 2012, there will be a more structured way for businesses to form content with a focus on giving unique value to consumers that will lead to higher engagement levels with community members.

5. The Power of Facebook

In the past, companies worked to get a somewhat superficial quantity of Facebook fans without considering the quality of those fans. This year, expect to see companies focus on finding greater profitability with a sharp ROI emphasis in the form of Facebook ads, contests and promotions.

Companies will find that there’s more to Facebook than measuring a linear conversion path from a fan to a consumer. Marketers will measure the non-linear path of ROI more by making Facebook-exclusive promotions to drive foot traffic to the retail stores.

Facebook Ads campaigns will be measured based on the profitability that leads to revenues or supports.

7. SoLoMo (Social, Local, Mobile)

More integrated campaigns that combine social media with local offers involving mobile devices will be seen in 2012. Socially promoted mobile content can build brand loyalty, and ultimately increase sales.

Sites like LivingSocial and Groupon are good examples of using deals to drive local sales. Foursquare is another example of the SoLoMo strategy.

It’s clear that the quickly changing social media environment can be overwhelming. However, by staying on-top of the latest social media tactics, your company can stay strong in the social media world.

Selling Your Products and Services With Social Media

 

 

In 2012, more companies will come to realize that doing business through social networks is a huge payoff. People are becoming more aware of how social media works and are getting comfortable with it.

With this level of comfort with social media finally reached, it is now the goal of marketers to experiment with ways on how to go above and beyond with social media! While using social media correctly takes lots of patience, finding the latest tricks to make your social media efforts unique is the key to becoming (and maintaining) a thriving business.

The main cause companies do not find success with social media marketing is when there are merely sending out sales messages through social networks. Communicating sales messages might work to an extent on an advertising and email marketing level, but they fall short when considering that most people do not join social networks to shop. With this in mind, sales pitches can come across as annoying or harsh to social network users.

If you want to find your optimal path to selling your products and services with social media, here are some tips.

1. Communicate to the right target market.

While there may be millions of people on Facebook, you do not need to target all of them. To find your perfect market, you need to communicate that, “We sell this” or “We help with that, and for anyone who wants this or that, we are talking to you!” It’s also important to use data to create your social media messages that will precisely spark interest to those looking for your product or service.

2. Use only the best messages.

With social media sites like Twitter, companies try to use 140 characters or less to advertise in attempt to get their audience to “retweet” and interact with their brand. But, this isn’t a technique that is easily mastered. Try using Google AdWords to experiment with compact messages. When you come across a message that gains clicks, you know that message is likely to have similar success as a tweet or other social network message!

3. Engage with your audience.

This is one of the most powerful Internet marketing tools. You want to gain information from your audience, on top of giving out your business information. You want your audience to share their thoughts and rate things in order for your business to get feedback and cater to your audiences needs/wants, likes and dislikes. Make feedback forms part of your way of doing business in return for providing great products and services. Make your content easy to like, tweet and email, so it becomes social.

4. Prove you’re a worthwhile company.

Even if you can compose the most convincing tweet, it’s still hard to get someone to buy into your company based off that one tweet. Make your relationship with your consumers about value and interaction right from the start. Think about giving something away that your target market needs and wants. Then become the company whose free products and services are better than other companies’ paid stuff! People will certainly want to engage with your company this way, and hopefully become loyal customers to your brand.

5. Listen to your audience.

After your company has authentically and carefully done all this work to get on the right track to social media success, let your target market know where your company is headed and keep them on board with you. Imagine how your current customers view your company and try to get them to see where your company could take them in the future. Don’t automatically think that your customers will see the full potential of your company! Help them by showing them how to get the most out of your business. If you do this, and still don’t see sales, you will at least have gained the right to ask your consumers what it is you’re not doing well, and they will guide you on how to serve them better.

Many Internet marketers use these tips in their social media efforts, but when all of them are used together, in a cohesive effort, your company will find the pay off in social media marketing. Always remember that it takes hard work and patience!

Optimize Social Media ROI-Return on Influence!

 

 

Return on investment with social media can polarize several public relations, marketing and advertising efforts since there are a growing number of agencies and businesses utilizing social media marketing and analysis efforts to see return on investment. While some companies get ROI through social media use on Facebook or YouTube, marketers need to realize that in order to optimize their social media efforts, true ROI is about influence from consumers!

ROI needs to involve connections companies make with their customers. Companies’ social media marketing should act as recommendations and inspirations to buy certain products and services. The goal is not to get an instant purchase from consumers, but to get the customer interested as they search a companies’ social/mobile web, and potentially gain a customer for life.

Relationships with customers are directly linked to the value companies get in return from investment in social media. With Twitter, it should not be a brand’s objective to sell the most products by tweeting. Instead, Twitter should be used to inform customers and show them all about their brands’ experience so they understand what the brand is all about, not just what they’re selling.

The stronger the connection brands have with their customers, the more likely those customers will be inclined to buy into the brand for life. Some ROI models for social media are focused on a direct marketing approach, also known as an offer and response approach. The problem with that is that companies end up chasing a platform where their target market might be, instead of understanding how to influence that target market with a social experience. Companies need to stop focuses on seeing ROI from social media coming strictly through direct sales!

Strong, productive social media marketing will influence business outcomes, just as a good public relations campaign will. Positive media coverage leads to awareness and inspires interest and discovery of the brand. Social experiences can provide brand-advertising benefits and push consumers to purchase sooner, and/or more often.

When it comes to social media marketing, most markers are just chasing popular platforms with their own ideas of what they think will motivate their customers to buy. But, what they should be doing instead is interpreting customer preferences and optimize their efforts to address the kinds of social experiences that will bring about a purchase and gain loyal customers. Social media is a platform to help businesses serve customer needs throughout a lifecycle, not just during a time of peak sales. With this in mind, new opportunities in social media marketing are available for those businesses willing to be influenced by their consumers!

 

 

Business and Marketing Trends in Social Media in 2012!

 

 

 

What’s going to happen in the New Year with social media? Social Media is expanding quickly and marketers everywhere are catching up! Look out for these trends to come.

Disappearing Social Media Marketing:

Social media is becoming an integral part of all aspects in marketing our businesses. Therefore, social media marketing will be included in overall marketing plans; it won’t be a separate tool. Just like email marketing or SEO, social media will be a vital activity.

Integrating Social Media:

Big brands will start using social media more to connect to customers through user-generated content. This helps businesses get the most out of their true customers and loyal fans.

Supporting Social Media:

The integration of social media into marketing will result in people reporting their problems through their channel of choice. Companies should try and find ways to avoid having their social media channels turn into a mere helpdesk, but social media integration will indeed let consumer problems be handled by peers.

Increasing Social Sales:

Customers will get a stronger real user experience before making purchase decisions with social media integration. People can make purchase decisions based on a brand’s marketing materials and receive feedback from existing customers through ratings, comments and reviews.

Leveling off of Group Buying Sites:

Group buying sites will level off. They will not go away, but businesses will better understand how it works and use it accordingly. With group buying sites, businesses buy an opportunity to allow potential consumers to sample their offering at a discounted rate with the hope of getting continuous business.

Growing ROI:

Social media ROI is an important topic and still less than half of marketers claim to see it. As budgets grow, social media will become more important in a brand’s marketing mix. ROI will be seen through direct sales from Facebook, or perhaps more conversion rates of people from social channels.

Growing Social Media Advertising:

Social media channels are trying to find ways to get at your advertising budget so they can turn a profit. Social media sites are looking at new ways to display more marketing messages to users. This will result in larger budgets dedicated to social media advertising.

Mobilizing Websites:

More businesses will start making their sites mobile. 10 years ago companies began making websites because other companies were, now companies will start making their sites mobile as more and more companies are starting to!

The Future of Branding, Marketing and Social Media: 3 Important Facts

A new report from Havas Media titled, “Meaningful Brands For A Sustainable Future,” is one of the most insightful reports in revealing the punitive aspect of the social business marketplace, which is often overlooked! It specifically examines the expanding awareness and capacity of consumers to punish brands that lack social responsibility.

Three key facts stand out in the report as warnings that all marketers need to be aware of!

1. Just 28% of consumers worldwide feel that businesses today are effectively working to solve the social and environmental challenges people care about.

There are two things to consider regarding this fact. First of all, this statistic proves that a very small percentage of consumers think companies are working efficiently to address social crises. Secondly, the phrase, “challenges people care about,” should be taken into consideration. A hallmark of social marketing is that it’s a real-time conversation between brands and consumers. If businesses want to get loyalty from consumers, they must perform and communicate in a meaningful way to be apart of their consumers’ lives. Ignoring social and environmental challenges that consumers care about means companies could become irrelevant and/or experience consumer backlash for their lack of social responsibility.

2. 64% of consumers feel most businesses merely “act” responsible to improve their image.

Consumers consistently demand that brands use social media platforms to promote their products and services in an authentic manner. It’s a major issue if over half of all consumers think brands are not genuinely addressing issues that are important to consumers. Our current marketplace gives consumers the ability to gather information and share it through social media. So, with more companies seeking to connect to customers, there’s competition in this marketplace to win the loyalty of consumers. But since consumers have so many options, if they feel a company is insincere in their social efforts, that brand will immediately lose that customer’s loyalty.

3. If 70% of brands disappeared in the future, most people would not care.

This fact highlights a deep consumer distrust of brands in the marketplace.  Just because a brand has strong leadership as a company does not guarantee its security in the market. Technology is quickly changing how business is conducted across all industries and now consumers are pushed more than ever before to find and embrace the tech-savvy AND socially responsible brands.

The Havas Media report concluded that brands that improve our personal and collective world systematically will be rewarded with greater consumer attachment and brand equity. The bottom line is brands MUST be meaningful to their customers’ lives!

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Successful Advertising with LinkedIn in 5 Steps

LinkedIn is a growing social media platform with over 100 million business professionals worldwide.

Business messages are well received within the professional environment of LinkedIn, which makes the site ideal for advertising for lead generation for B2B companies.

LinkedIn ads appear along the sidebar with a photo and text. They include the photo, a 25-character headline, and a 75-character description. You can also try different versions of your ad to test which ones drive the most click-throughs.

As you create your ads in LinkedIn, keep these five tips in mind for success!

1. Use powerful copy with relevant images

Come up with a great ad before fine-tuning your campaigns. Write an effective ad copy; on LinkedIn, it will only allow the copy to be 75 characters of description, so every character counts! In your copy, convey a sense of urgency and highlight a unique benefit. With PPC ads, the picture is very important! Make sure the image matches what you’re offering.

2. Target ads to specific audiences

Only target your ads to the most relevant prospects. You can choose this based on industry (marketing, Internet, banking, etc.), job function (academics, engineering, marketing) and groups. The more specific your offer and targeting are, the better chance your ads will be successful!

3. Split-test different versions of your campaign

Each campaign on LinkedIn has its own targeting options, daily budget and ads. It’s recommended that you create at least three ads per campaign, each with a different headline, different call-to-action phrases and images. You’re allowed to come up with 15 different ads per campaign, so take advantage!

4. Spend your money strategically

LinkedIn will display ads at different rates throughout the day depending on when users are active on site. So, consider spending 50% of your budget in the morning, and maybe 25% in the afternoon, and the other 25% towards the nighttime. After you hit your daily budget limit, your ads will stop showing for that day.  Keep calculations of your average spending per day for the past week, then compare that amount to your daily budget and figure out if you can increase your daily budget to get more clicks. Also, an “auction” will occur between your ad and other advertisers each time a prospect visits a page on LinkedIn. The site will give you a suggested bid range or an estimate of current bids from other advisers. The higher your bid, the more likely it is to win the auction.

5. Measure your ads performance

Pay attention to metrics to understand your ads’ effectiveness. Also consider your overall business and marketing goals before you consider your goals for LinkedIn ads. Be sure to measure CTR; according to LinkedIn, good ads have a CTR higher than .025%. Also measure leads and take your landing pages into consideration.

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The Best Facebook Page Apps to Improve Communication with Fans

With over 100,000 Facebook applications available, it can seem overwhelming to try and determine which apps will be the most important for your business. To help you out, here are four essential Facebook apps that will help you to communicate and interact with your fans!

1. Tweets to Pages

This app has about 1.2 million monthly active users! It creates a tab on your Facebook Page that shows your company’s most recent tweets displayed in a timeline. This feature is great for giving real-time information to Facebook users without a Twitter account and helps to avoid annoying fans by constantly streaming your tweets to Facebook as wall updates.

2. Static HTML: iframe tabs

With 61.8 million monthly users, this app simplifies the process of creating a custom landing page. You can simply copy and paste textboxes for your custom HTML, CSS and JavaScript instead of creating a developer account and your own application. You can also remove scrollbars and enable Facebook’s FBML if you’d like. And you can enable “like-gate” if you want to incentivize Likes on your Page.

3. ContactMe

This app has 180,000 monthly active users. It adds a contact form tab on your company’s Facebook Page that allows anyone visiting your page to easily contact you the minute they’re interested! It also has customization options, like choosing whether you want to show your company’s contact information or social media icons for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Skype. It also lets you add, remove, reorder and require specific fields in a simple user interface through contactme.com.

4. RSS Graffiti

With 1.5 million users, this app lets you post wall updates automatically, whenever there’s a new item in one of your specific feeds. This saves you time and effort in having to create a new wall update every day to distribute your company’s content. It also has customization options to make it stand out. The configuration interface is intuitive and easy to use!

If you don’t have time to sift through the hundreds of Facebook apps available, start with these four apps to better communicate with your fans!