What’s Up in Social: June 2015 Quick Overview

what's up in social (2)June sure kept us social media professionals busy! It’s almost a full-time job just to keep up with all the changes taking place on different platforms.  Here are the most important ones to note:

1. 47% of Americans admit Facebook is their #1 influencer on purchases. Facebook drives almost 25% of all social referral traffic.

2. According to Social Media Examiner’s latest Social Media Marketing Industry Report, majority of small businesses carry out social media marketing on Facebook. Specifically, 93% use Facebook, ahead of Twitter at 79%. In the coming year, 62% of respondents plan to increase their use of Facebook for marketing purposes. Sixty-six percent will increase Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn activity.

3. Most small businesses spend 6 hours or more weekly on social media. How about the users you ask? The average American spends 40 minutes per day on Facebook. Check out which networks are next.

4. Social-native, including Facebook News Feed ads and promoted tweets on Twitter, will draw a majority of native ad revenue between 2013 and 2018. Since 2013, post promotion has risen 120% for brands on Facebook.

5. Facebook is testing new “Lead Ads” which will allow marketers to ask users to sign-up for a newsletter or request a call with just two taps. Talking about increasing those ad revenues!

6. Facebook users now have more control over what they see in their newsfeed. The average user has access to about 1,500 posts per day but only looks at 300. The new feature, “See First”, gives users a simple way to automatically place up to 30 friends’ and Pages’ posts at the top of their feeds whenever they appear.

7. Video posts average 62% more engagement than photos. Facebook is trying hard to compete with YouTube and plans to start running ads between videos for a small group of publishers.

8.  Twitter is lifting the 140-character limit in July for DMs, but it’s still in place for tweets. We can expect quite a few changes in a near future since Twitter’s CEO recently stepped down.

9. Social commerce is becoming bigger than ever. Instagram recently introduced “Shop now” button and Pinterest launched its blue “buyable Pins

Over to you: which changes are you most excited about? 


Got a Q or need help?

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“Facebook Offers” Are Here: All You Need To Know!

Before I get started on all you need to know about “Facebook Offer”, I would like to inspire you with a success story of a small Northern Irish hotel. Roe Park Resort decided to use “Facebook Offer” feature to get more bookings, so the company created an offer that allowed the Facebook fans to get a 1 night stay at the hotel for £42.50.  The offer quickly went viral and it was claimed over 28,000 times in 24 hours!

It is no secret that the biggest reason why people become fans of a Facebook page is to gain access to the exclusive offers. In fact, the special offer motivates 68% of fans to click on that “Like” button. So far the businesses had to push the special offers on Facebook through variety of creative ways – third-party coupon tab, special offer tab, events, or links to the third party sites. Back in February 2012, Facebook announced the great news of having an “Offer” feature on Facebook pages, which would give companies an easy avenue to share their deals with their Facebook fans. Few premium brands and advertisers were able to test the feature early, but most businesses had to wait for Facebook to enable the feature on a larger scale. As of May 3, 2012, Facebook announced it’ll now start rolling out this FREE feature on more Facebook pages of the local businesses that are based in the U.S.  Sure enough, this feature started to appear on many more Facebook pages, so chances are your Facebook page has this feature already or will get it in next few days or weeks.

Simply go to your Facebook page and you should see “Offer, Event +” right next to “Status” and “Photo/video” sharing options [you must be an administrator of that Facebook page to see that feature, so make sure you are an admin of the page]. If you are not an admin, ask the person who handles your Facebook page to make you an admin (takes 2 minutes).

–         Rejoice! You will be able to share special deals with your fans, add value, increase brand awareness and your revenue!

–         Read Facebook guidelines that specify the rules for Facebook offers   (http://www.facebook.com/page_guidelines.php)

–         Decide what offer you want to run and make sure your offer complies with Facebook guidelines

–         Create the offer on your Facebook page (it’s free!):

  • Go to your Facebook page, click on “Offer, Event+”, click on “Offer” and fill out the easy form
  • There is no minimum on how value or discount required, though Facebook recommends at least 20% off for the best impact.
  • You can’t edit the Offer once it’s posted, so make sure it is exactly the way you want it
  • You can add a thumbnail, headline, expiration date, and terms & conditions
  • You can limit how many people can claim the offer
  • You can’t limit the offer to fans only, so it’ll be visible to all Facebook users who view your page
  • You can choose to target your offer’s audience by country and language only (before posting, click the drop down Public  menu next to the Post button and select Language / Location.)

When you create an offer, it will show up in your fans’ news feed and on your Facebook page. Fans who click on your offer will be able to redeem it by receiving an email that they present at your business’s site. If you are running an offer that does not involve physical business location, you may have to use more creativity on how to have the users redeem the offer. In either case, right after you know what offer you’ll be running, inform the staff who would be involved in the offer redemption (cashiers for retail stores, staff at the front desk if you’re a hotel, waiters if you’re a restaurant etc.).

If you need to change the offer or want to stop running it altogether, you can delete it (you can’t edit it) but make sure you honor the offer claimed by the fans who already redeemed it prior to your deletion.

Last but not least, make sure you track your success (hopefully not failure). “Offer” feature includes a counter of how many people redeemed the offer; however, it doesn’t mean that all the fans who actually signed up to receive it via email will actually redeem it at your location. That is why it is advisable to collect the print outs from the fans and store them in one place so you can easily track the actual success of the offer. Pick and instruct your employees to collect these print outs and tell them where to keep them, so they are easy to find and count. Don’t forget to analyze which offer produced the best results!

–         You can ask Facebook to enable it on your Facebook page by filling out this form: http://www.facebook.com/help/contact/?id=367554259954235

–         Make sure your Facebook page is categorized under “Local Business” and that you filled out the address for your business (Click on “About” – then “Edit” on Basic info tab). If your business address is outside of the U.S., you will have to wait for the feature a bit longer (though Facebook allowed few foreign businesses to test the feature).

–         You can meanwhile share your special deals with customized tab like Hilton Miami Downtown did (requires involving the graphic designer and programmer)

–         You can install a free coupon tab from third-party applications like www.woobox.com

Whether your Facebook page has the “Offer” feature or not, you should create special social media offers regularly to add value, increase the number of your Facebook fans, and differentiate yourself from the competitors. It is also a great way to generate more revenue directly and decrease reliance on OTAs and sites like Groupon that take generous commissions!

Hotel Digital Marketing Trends & Interesting Stats

Which marketing channels does your hotel spend the most money on? What are the most effective ways of bringing business to your hotel? The answers to these key questions and many others can be found in a recently released HeBS 5th Annual Benchmark Survey on Digital Marketing. This is definitely a must-read if you are in the hospitality industry.

Key lessons you should take away from the survey:

  •  Forget offline, online marketing is a way to go! (49.1% shifted money from offline marketing budgets to online marketing; also over 45% of all hotel bookings in 2011 will be via the Internet)
  • Go Social! Social Media is now a major player. (Social 43% of hoteliers saying they believe social media is one of the Internet marketing formats that produces the best results and the highest ROIs.)
  • Go mobile!  Many hotels are planning for a mobile site and mobile booking engine this year (14.6% increase comparing to 2010)
  • Invest in website optimization and social media!  Majority of hoteliers attribute the highest ROI to these two components.
From the social media side of things, I’d really advise you to look into Facebook ads, social plug-ins, and relevant blogs.

I highly encourage you to go through the entire survey carefully and to modify your marketing strategy accordingly.

Feel free to ask questions and/or share the best marketing practices of your property as well as your marketing budget projections!

Learn more about me: https://onlinefantastic.wordpress.com/about/

Connect with me:

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Facebook Ads: Target Users by Zip Code

Facebook is taking the paid ads to another level and adding the option of targeting the users by their zip code (hooray for marketers and businesses)! So far the companies have only been able to target the users by the city, which can be way too broad. After all, how often do you really travel from one side of the city to another just to eat at the restaurant? Targeting users by the zip code adds much more relevancy to the ads, making this option very appealing to the advertisers. NOW many companies can really enjoy the big BANG for the buck.

This option is to become available the following week – I know I will certainly give it a try. Choose age, key words, zip code, better yet target the fans of the page of your direct competitor … The possibilities are endless 😉

Remember some good practices for Facebook Ads:

  • Always design more versions of the ad to test what would work the best (slight changes in text and try different images)
  • Don’t rush with choosing the image – choosing the right picture is extremely important
  • The pictures should be relevant to your ad yet eye-catching
  • Make the initial bid higher – you can lower the bid during the campaign
  • Get rid of the ads that don’t convert well and keep those that get the best conversion

Guide to Facebook Ads is a great place to start if you’ve never tried Facebook Ads.

If you did, share your experience!

Hotels, Promote Your Social Media Accounts!

Are your hotel’s social media accounts promoted at the front desk, on room keys or feedback cards? Does your hotel’s website and blog have easily noticeable and clickable Facebook & Twitter logos?  

Surprisingly, most hotels fail to display their social media accounts correctly online and offline. Hard-to-find or nonexistent Facebook and Twitter logos on the website OR at the property are a norm.  I call this paradox “hide and seek”, because hotels basically hide the fact that they have social media accounts and make their customers dig this information up. 

Why is it such a big problem?? If you make it hard on your customers to find you on social media, most of them simply won’t. Therefore, you lose an access to your most valuable fans and followers. I say most valuable, because the guests who have stayed at your hotel before already established an emotional connection with you, so they are more likely to interact with your brand on-line than a person who has never visited your property. Now the best social media accounts have one thing in common – they show high level of fan engagement. This being said, you NEED your guests to find you on Facebook, Twitter etc.

In short, when you play ‘hide and seek’, your fan & follower base is slow to grow and level of engagement on your social media accounts is poor. You can also express what happens in a simple equation: lost connection = lost feedback = lost chance to build trust & loyalty = lost future business. Lesson to take from this? Make it easy – as easy as possible. Display it clearly everywhere you can think of (with reason, of course) – at the minimum, all the places on my checklist below.

Finally, let’s find out if your hotel is playing ‘hide and seek’ by going through my checklist!

If ANY answer to the questions below would be “NO”, your hotel is ‘guilty’:

–         Does your hotel have Facebook & Twitter logos on at least the main page of the website?

–         Does your website have the Facebook & Twitter plug-ins integrated?

–         Is FB & Twitter part of the e-mail signatures of your employees?

–         Do your e-newsletters contain links to your social media accounts?

–         If you have a blog, is your blog linked to your Facebook, Twitter etc.?

–         Do you promote your social media accounts at the property? I.e. Do your room keys, in-room  TV, front desk, feedback cards, receipts show the address to your Facebook, Twitter etc.?

Whether your hotel plays ‘hide and seek’ consciously or unconsciously, I urge you to change it –  stop hindering your social media strategy. When you decided to enter social media space, you took a unique opportunity to connect with your past, current and potential customers. Make it easy for them to find you and you will see an amazing progress in quality as well as quantity of your audience on social media.

Connect with me!

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www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic 

Top 5 Ways Hotels Can Find and Reach Luxury Consumers Through Social Media

 Luxury hotels are all over Facebook and Twitter these days. The mere existence on social media channels is, of course, not enough. Successful social media campaign is underlined by a sound strategy, part of which is finding and reaching the target market (in this case the luxury segment).

Here are the top 5 ways on how to find & reach the luxury consumers on social media:

 

#1: Twitter Lists Rule!

Twitter directory

 If you are one of those people who think Twitter doesn’t make sense, think twice. Twitter is the easiest social media platform for finding & reaching the travelers who love luxury. Thanks to Twitter directories like twellow (www.twellow.com), twibes (www.twibes.com) or listorious (www.listorious.com), you can search through many relevant tags, users & Twitter lists in seconds. Just type in luxury travel, luxury etc. to find a relevant list and then follow every user from that list (I now see some people disapprovingly shaking their heads, but following others is the fastest way to let Twitter users know that you exist on Twitter!). Those who follow you back give you a chance to establish a relationship – please notice I do not say sell to them. Talk to them, engage, have fun & they will love you and come to you next time they travel your way.

 

#2: World Meets on Facebook Fan Pages

  

There are plenty of luxury loving fans worldwide who breathe Facebook & travel. The best way to find them is to use Facebook search on your profile’s homepage. When you search for the relevant keywords (luxury, travel, luxury travel, luxury hotels etc.)., the results will contain people, groups, apps etc., but what you really want to focus on are Facebook fan pages. Become a fan of the relevant page that has a lot of people from your target market.  By doing so, you will be able to tag the other fan pages in your Facebook posts (by using @ + start typing the name of the fan page you want to tag), which will make your Facebook page appear on the fan page that you tagged. Yes, you can write straight on the wall of these fan pages (without tagging), but such method is often viewed as a spam, so most people will ignore it plus you are risking being reported for spamming.

 

#3: Think Competitors! 

 

Social media (especially Twitter) give you an easy access to your competitors’ clients – existing and potential. You can find out who they are, reach out to them, and ultimately turn them into your clients. Though Facebook will allow you to see the list of all people who are fans of your competitors, reaching out to them is very difficult. Therefore, focus on your competitors’ Twitter accounts instead. It is generally 2 steps process: find your competitors’ Twitter accounts (if they have one) & follow all their followers. The chances are many will follow you back since you offer similar services, which means a chance for you to interact with them, show them your value, and hopefully ‘steal’ the business from your competitors.

 

#4: Luxury Twitter Users! 

 

Find the Twitter users who tweet about luxury, travel or both (especially the influential ones) in Twitter directories (more in my point #1), follow them, interact with them, follow their followers, follow who they follow.  My faves include for example @LuxeTiffany (hotel inspector who is all about luxury travel: http://twitter.com/luxetiffany),  @LuxurHolidays (tourism guide to the luxury traveler that provides a comprehensive list of the best luxury hotels of the world: http://twitter.com/luxurholidays) or @LuxurySociety (informing the world’s leading luxury professionals: http://twitter.com/luxurysociety). For more see http://listorious.com/tags/luxury. 

 

#5: Blogs!

 

There are many blogs focusing on luxury consumers. You can find the popular ones easily by putting luxury travel blogs, luxury hotels blogs, luxury travel blogs etc. into Google or you can use blog directories (i.e. www.technorati.com).  Important part is to participate, which includes commenting on blog posts, getting featured in a blog post, or use paid ads if you want to splurge a little ;). Most often it will be the choice #1 – commenting on blog posts, in which case you need to make sure that your comments are relevant and that they include the link to your site. Some of the popular blogs you should know about are Vagablond (http://www.vagablond.com), journeyPod (http://journeyPod.com/) or Luxique (http://www.luxique.com/blog/).

 No matter what you do, remember that the value is not in your selling, but your sharing [quote by @Iconic88]. 

Feel free to add to my list in the comments and best of luck!

Let’s Connect!

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How Twitter Can Benefit Your Hotel & Why Facebook Doesn’t Cut It!

There are many social media channels the hotels can use, but by far the most commonly used platforms are Twitter and Facebook. In most cases, hotels (mistakenly) put greater emphasis on Facebook and neglect Twitter. Very often hotels that have Facebook account don’t have a presence on Twitter, and if they do, the effort they put in Twitter is not anywhere close to the effort that’s made on Facebook.  

 After working on hotel social media campaigns day by day for a while, I can honestly tell you that it is a big mistake. Twitter and Facebook each have their own personalities and each platform brings completely different benefits to the table.

 

First Date on Twitter – Get Serious on Facebook!

To better understand each platform, let’s use the situation that we all are familiar with – personal relationships. Typically, before you let someone in your life, you want to know that they are worth it. You watch them, talk to them, test them out so to speak. Twitter lets consumers do just that. Once you get to know the person better and you want to have them in your life, you will want to deepen the ties between you, which is where Facebook comes in.

Consequently, if you want to make more people familiar with your brand, gain new customers or connect with people who are more private in nature, rely on your hotel’s Twitter account.

However, to engage and build a loyal relationship with your clients, use your Facebook account.

 As you can see, both platforms have completely different functions, so if you were to ask me which one your hotel should use, I would have to insist on both!

In this post, I will explain in greater detail why Twitter is not a waste of your resources and go over the biggest benefits Twitter can give you that Facebook cannot. 

Mysterious Twitter 

I say mysterious, because to most Twitter newcomers, Twitter is a confusing mess that doesn’t make sense. When I first encountered Twitter, I thought exactly the same thing. However, as I have seen people booking the hotels after interacting on Twitter and all the traffic Twitter brought to the hotels’ websites, I got to realize that Twitter was a very powerful marketing tool with advantages no other marketing channel had. 

  

3 Main Ways How Twitter Can Benefit Your Hotel & Why Facebook Doesn’t Cut It: 

 #1: The Easiest Way to Take Over Your Competitor’s Customers! 

There is nothing easier than looking up your competitors’ Twitter account and contacting/following their fans (or followers as they are called on Twitter).  Since you offer similar services to your competitors, the chances are most of their followers will be interested in what you have to offer, so they will follow you back. When they do, you have a shot to show what your hotel is about and if you are good enough, they may decide to go with you, not your competitor next time they need a hotel. 

Facebook doesn’t have such capability. You can look at the list of fans of your competitors, but good luck trying to connect with them.  

#2: The Easiest Way to Go Viral!   

Twitter is much more viral in nature than Facebook. Let’s illustrate it on example. Sheraton Maui recently sent out a message on Twitter: “Win a free trip to Hawaii!! Check out the Starwood Hawaii & SONY ‘Share Your Aloha’ photo contest here: http://bit.ly/atbAxV”  Since the account has about 2,000 followers, it means that 2,000 people could have potentially read this message. Let’s say 2 of Sheraton’s followers who each have 50,000 followers liked it and retweeted this message (meaning sent it to their followers). All of the sudden, we have additional 100,000 people who could have possibly read this message. Even though Facebook has a share button that allows fans to repost the brand’s message on the wall, it doesn’t happen all that often. Additionally, not many people on Facebook have 50,000 friends, so the impact of reposting on Facebook is way lower than on Twitter. Consequently, Twitter is generally much more effective in creating the buzz, getting the message across, and driving the traffic to your website, blog etc. than Facebook is! 

#3: The Easiest Way to Find & Reach New Customers 

Finding and reaching your target audience is a key to any sound marketing strategy. Twitter is the best tool out of all social media channels to precisely find the people you are looking for. You can look at thousands of Twitter lists that are relevant to your company as well as search the Twitter directories like Wefollow or Twellow for keywords. So for example, if you represent Hilton Chicago and your goals is to attract locals to eat at your restaurant, you could follow the people from the lists like “Chicago”, “Chicago-foodies”, “Chicago-hospitality” etc.  You could also find people on Twitter who tweet about food from Chicago area, look at the lists they are on, and follow their followers.  

One important principle to remember: if you want to be followed, follow others!  By following others, you are reaching out to them and letting them know you exist and want to connect. 

Even though you can find potential clients on Facebook via themed fan pages and groups, it is less precise and much more cumbersome. More importantly, reaching out to the people who are not fans of your brand yet is not an option on Facebook. 

There are more benefits to Twitter that I could go into (and feel free to point them out in comments), but those I mentioned above should be enough for you to realize that your hotel needs a SOLID Twitter presence! So if your hotel does not, I urge you to change that! 

  
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Tweet Your Way to a Better Job: Mind Your Profile!

Don’t have a job? Want a better job?  Twitter can help!!!

First and foremost, you need to have a profile that catches an eye and stimulates the brain.

You want people who look at your Twitter profile go “wow, this is good”. You want them to find your profile interesting, creative, and original, because better believe it – they will judge you on the basis of that. The recruiters and HR personnel can always use people who are interesting, creative, and original; however, if your profile screams boring, lazy, rude or dumb, you can be sure that not only you will not land a new job, you may even lose the one you do have. In other words, if you are putting yourself out in the open – and by having a public Twitter account you are doing exactly that – then tweet as if the boss (your current one or a potential one) was reading.

So if you are on the lookout for a new job, take a good look at your profile and ask yourself:

 Is your username “hireable”? If your username is “Sexy_Foxy”, “Lazy_Joe” or worse (you get the picture), go to: http://twitter.com/settings/account and change it right away to something that is easy to remember, yet tells who you are. If you are expert in medical field, be a “Medicine_Joe”; if you a travel expert, be a “travelwiz_Joe”. Anyway, you get my point.

Is it visually appealing? A plain background and no profile picture are a no-no. It reflects minimum effort, some may say laziness, no orientation to detail, messiness, whatever you call it – it is a big turn-off. If you are using a template for background that Twitter offers, dump it. You want to use your profile to show your uniqueness and point out why they should hire you and not anyone else. You want to show that you are willing to go the extra mile, that you are detail-oriented and that you are creative. 1-click on Twitter to change the background won’t cut it. The best way to “wow” people is to make Photoshop your best friend. There are many free customizable templates you can play with. Here are the sites you may want to look at: http://bit.ly/a9ArsX or http://bit.ly/d30Aax   or simply google “Custom Twitter backgrounds” and play around. If you are not too good with Photoshop or want a quick and easier solution, go to sites like http://www.freetwitterdesigner.com  where you can personalize already designed Twitter background.

One last point, the profile picture should be your best you. Not your car or cat, not you with your best friend or logo of your favorite beer. Connect the name with the face, so upload the best picture of your face you can find.  When you get compliments on the design of your Twitter profile, you know you have done a good job. Until then, don’t rest and keep working until you do (btw. your friends and family don’t count).  

Did you fill out all the information? Make sure your profile is complete. If you have a website or a blog, make sure you list it on your profile. You wouldn’t believe how many people overlook this, so go to: http://twitter.com/settings/profile and check if you are not one of them (btw. I have to thank @Twitter_Tips for bringing it to my attention :D)

Is the bio catchy?  Get a good use of the bio – it is a very powerful tool. Emphasize the qualities that employers are often after in your field that you have but many people don’t. Emphasize what makes you unique. Think like an employer. What would persuade you, as an employer, to hire you over the others? Be refreshing and focus on what you are bringing to the table for them & your followers.

Is the content clean? Very, very important point!! THINK BEFORE YOU TWEETThink as if your boss was reading, because he/she may!! If the potential employer scans your tweets, is he/she going to find grammar mistakes or profanities? If you are not sure, then better start discovering the “delete tweet button”. Also, keep in mind that your tweets show up on the top of the search engines, so anytime someone googles your name, your tweets show up. Oh and do yourself a favor and avoid discussing touchy topics like politics and such.

Does the content show your expertise? Do your tweets show that you know what you are talking about? Tweet interesting content from your area of interest and join a discussion with other like-minded tweeties to demonstrate your knowledge and show your value.

Last but not least a crucial question… Think hard. If you were the employer and saw your profile, would you hire yourself?

To sum this up, you want to stand out, but IN A GOOD WAY. This applies to the content and the visuals as well.  You want your profile to reflect who you are, but be professional at the same time.

Good luck tweeties and if you need help, hit me up!

Yours XOXO Lucie

www.linkedin.com/in/luciehys 

www.twitter.com/onlinefantastic

www.facebook.com/travelfantastic

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