(PRWEB) -- As we transition from a search-based to a social media-based online culture, and as consumer attention shifts from paid media to earned media, it is increasingly important for consumer and hospitality brands to focus on the business opportunities that come with the creation of social currency and social capital. Having a network is easy - getting attention is not.
In their whitepaper "Hospitality Brands and Facebook - Identifying the Opportunities" (free download at http://seventhartmedia.com/) Doug O'Reilly and Oliver Sohn, co-founding partners of Seventh Art Media, present the results from a comprehensive analysis of basic forms of consumer-generated hotel brand impressions on Facebook. The team reviewed about 2,500 content posts by 75 hotel brands on their respective Facebook pages for the fourth quarter 2010. Based on this analysis, Seventh Art Media identified six key-factors for hotels and resorts to create a lasting performance on Facebook:
1. Form follows function: Upfront planning, programming, and goals are required for the Facebook channel. The goals hotels set for the page will define their content, processes and the people who choose to follow them. If hotels want a specific type of customer liking their page they need to program to that customer’s specific needs.
2. Trying to change behavior is a losing proposition: The easiest way to grow a Facebook page is to offer incentives and deals, but where does that leave a hotel after the deals are over? Its brand’s most visible social media property is positioned as a deal channel and followed by deal-seekers who will add little or nothing to the conversation and brand engagement that reaches the most valuable customers.
3. Facebook pages are best for amplification - not engagement: Facebook scales well to help hotels with brand impressions—but as pages grow bigger, the ratio of ‘comments’-to-followers drops off and the interaction moves to 'likes'. It appears that a comment plateau is reached fairly quickly. On top of that, people won’t actually read beyond the first few comments and the commenting system does not create a sustainable ongoing conversation thread on brand pages. The key to maximum performance is to use Facebook to (a) amplify the brand and (b) branded conversations that are taking place elsewhere—including on a user’s Facebook newsfeed. In other words, the Facebook page is often best served as an entry/amplification point for content with the engagement happening outside the hotel brand's proprietary page.
4. Get your content right: A simple question to ask about any content before a hotel posts it is “Why would any of my guests share this?” If the author cannot answer that question without hesitation then the content should not be posted. And even if it's a 'go', not all content types perform equally as shown by the research.
5. Measure ROI on Amplification and Direct Response: Facebook has some handy tools for measuring impressions and these should be leveraged in developing an assessment of the channel’s contribution to cost saving vs. comparable CPM rates of more standard online advertising. But measurement should not stop there. Content should be set up to track views beyond the channel and click-throughs generated by the content wherever it is pertinent. Back-end systems (such as Google Analytics) should be structured to capture the contribution of the channel to referrals and conversions.
6. Look to other channels for one-to-one engagement: Hotels should not look at Facebook as their primary point of engagement but as a channel to amplify engagements that happen elsewhere. Facebook is a powerful but also specific tool that does not elegantly transition to the gentler aspects of one-to-one customer service required in a hospitality setting.
In the coming weeks Seventh Art Media will be exploring many of the other social media tools for facilitating and enhancing a guest’s brand experience. These include Twitter, Foursquare, Yelp, TripAdvisor and some lesser- known but powerful possibilities for specific applications such as customer feedback, insight and crowd-sourcing.
About Seventh Art Media:
Seventh Art Media is an award-winning team of social media strategy & content specialists for hotels, resorts, and commercial real estate. Seventh Art Media is a division of Seventh Art Group with offices in New York, London and Dubai. Seventh Art Group’s clients, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Ritz-Carlton, Plaza Hotel New York, The Related Companies, and many more, have entrusted the company with 150 worldwide projects in 22 cities across 4 continents.
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