The age of Social Media is upon us… whether you like it or not. Thanks to Smartphones taking a spike in 2010 and Apple introducing the iPad, most of the Baby Boomers have taken a backseat and let Generation Y steer the road to Facebook check-ins, FourSquare badges and YouTube thumbs up/down.
Don’t know what I am talking about? This may seem all petty and overwhelming to an outsider, but for professional young adults this could be the advantage they are looking for in the current economy slump. According to an latimes.com article, employers are liking – and hiring – Social Media workers. The standard job description includes identifying a Social Media profile for the company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, WordPress, Manta, FourSquare, Flickr and review sites such as Yelp, TripAdvisor and Urbanspoon to name a few.
What this means for hoteliers and service industry companies, is that you need a strong “socializing” network presence. Keep an eye out for these 2012 trends:
#1: ANALYSIS REPORTS
With a major 2011 trend of real-time tracking and “click” data analysis, the proof of views is in the “impressions” of clicks. A buzz for the New Year predicts ROI statistics will be enhanced, allowing marketing experts to show dollar signs to their bosses from social and viral campaigning.
#2: DASHBOARD STREAMLINING
The two popular tools used to streamline some Social Media outlets include Hootsuite or Social Oomph. After linking 5 profiles or less, you are still ahead of the game by allowing more time to work on E-Commerce Marketing for your company. Another great platform is iGoogle or Netvibes. These dashboards make it easy to monitor your social media platforms in one place, while utilizing alerts and local news happening in your designated zip code. With Apple’s iCloud advantage, people will be using “syncing” devices more often in 2012.
#3: TELLING VS. SELLING
If you have learned anything from your parents, you remember that talking about yourself is rude. In this case, learn to write/show rich and engaging content for Social Media forms such as Facebook, YouTube, WordPress, Quora, StumbleUpon and LinkedIn. You can essentially “sell” your company by “Tweeting” (via Twitter) a sales pitch or promoting coupons. This should be done in smaller quantities.
#4: RANKING FACTORS
If you are “Googled”… what do you see? My belief after listening to Matt Cutts discuss Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and “Google Ranks” on his YouTube Channel, is that G-Team will make it harder for the corporate fish to take over small business ponds. Allowing small businesses to rank higher on the totem pole would include a strong and official company Social Media presence and consistent content with engaging hits from viewers. Google+Plus will also be another trend of ranking higher in search engine hits.
#5: MAKING IT MOBILE
If you are like me and the other 449-million* people with a smartphone, you are going more mobile. What is your warning? Make your website mobile-friendly. The biggest talked about blurb of this past year… “Is there an app for that?” With hotel check-ins, flight arrangements and food reviews to write all on the go, these daily activities are just going to increase with viral popularity. Urbanspoon, Yelp and TripAdvisor review sites will have advantages and qualms with your place of business. Lastly, it is always best to respond to the negative reviews and/or photos, than to blast them online.
(*= Rounded average from RBC, Quora.com)
So what have you learned from Social Media Marketing? It’s all about people. It’s about networking and learning who your customers are. My concluding thoughts: Position your company as a center of influence – the one who knows the movers and shakers. People will respond to that and you’ll soon become what you project. Until then, have fun socializing with your future clients!