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Social Media is here to Stay - Get Used to It!
By Alan Campbell
Normally I would never start an article by citing statistics, as they can be very dry and . . . let's face it, a little on the boring side, but since I want to talk about social media, I wanted to show its impact on the hospitality industry from the start.
The following statistics are from www.howmanyarethere.org
Ten top populations by country that use Facebook (a little less than 50 percent of all Facebook members):
And I'm only talking about Facebook!
Granted, there are other social media networks out there, such as Twitter and Linkedin, for example, each with more than 100 million members (and growing), and though they each serve a different purpose than Facebook, they can be and often are interconnected with Facebook to support each other in ways only entrepreneurial marketers dream about.
But what is really great about all this social media technology is that it is virtually free to any organization that wants to use it.
I suspect strongly, however, that most service organizations are too set in their ways to investigate and exploit this new technology; after all, they have, and pay for, a website already and, seemingly, cannot see how Facebook can help their business.
However, if what the marketing gurus have often repeated is true, that word-of-mouth is the most powerful inducement for others to buy your product or use your product is correct, then Facebook is the Big Daddy and Mother of all word-of-mouth networks . . . EVER.
Many studies by the experts that live, breathe, and dream marketing plans have shown that consumers are more likely to make a purchase, stay at this or that hotel, go to this or that restaurant because they trust what another human being, usually a friend, has experienced; that is, people rely more on recommendations from people they know, as well as others, than from a brand's marketing materials.
And that makes your Website, if you have one, to put it bluntly, static-you probably have to go through several time-consuming hoops: memos/letters of instruction authorizing the change(s), as well as added expense, and perhaps several other steps, as well, in order to affect change(s).
On Facebook, on the other hand, you can achieve change NOW, instantaneously, and it doesn't take an IT person or added expenses to do it.
But it does take a person who understands the power and meaning of words; it does take a person who knows how to express ideas simply, directly, but most of all, honestly; it does take a person who knows the business inside and out and can convey, through words, to you, the sincerity of conviction that the service or product provided is the best available.
Not so long ago, social media networks were seen as the playground for the young, but not so anymore.
Grownups in droves, 25 to 65+, of all social levels, have gravitated to Facebook and Twitter quicker than men and women gravitated to the proverbial "water cooler" to hear the latest gossip.
In fact, the main reason many of the people who did not grow up with computers buy a computer, is for the sole reason to connect with family and friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, or through voice/video over IP.
Chances are the latest "gossip," the latest "happening," the latest vacation, the latest piece of enjoyment, the latest good or bad experience this or that family member and or friend has had will be shared on Facebook.
And if one of those happenings or experiences, especially a good one, happened at your business, that's priceless advertising that will be read by hundreds, perhaps thousands of friends and friends of friends-each one a prospective future client, if they happen to be in the market for the same product or service.
And all it cost you was to provide that initial Facebook customer that bought your product or used your service the courtesy of helping him or her to have a good experience.
In other words, you did your job.
About the Author
Alan Campbell has been in Las Vegas for over 30 years and has worked for the major strip hotels. He has spent some time in California, Los Angeles where he worked for the Radisson and Sheraton hotels. Alan considers the hospitality industry the best job in the world - it is the only place that both king's and Paupers will visit you.
The Hotel Guy
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