Your social media pages are communication tools that you can use to maintain brand awareness as well as directly promote your business. As with any other form of marketing you should have a plan or calendar for your social media campaigns. Strive to provide compelling content in your updates or other areas of your social media efforts. Engage with personality in a way that’s appropriate for your business and works for your industry.
Here is a perfect example of what I’m talking about in the hotel market.
In Prescott, Arizona, a revitalized motel called The Motor Lodge is doing a bang-up job using social interactions the right way — engaging would-be customers and using interesting Facebook and Twitter updates to create a personality for itself. The Motor Lodge is basically a two-man operation, managing to run a boutique hotel and at the same time acquiring more than 1,300 fans on Facebook.
The Motor Lodge is a great example of a small business taking advantage of its online persona. They’ve generated a following and are keeping those people engaged with life at the hotel, even though most of their followers aren’t at the moment looking to spend the night in Prescott. You can bet that when they do decide to make a getaway from the Phoenix heat, they’ll think of this hotel.
Check out a few posts from their Facebook page, and you’ll get the idea:
- Aker Musical Festival is tomorrow 5:30-8:30pm. Downtown businesses stay open and host a variety of different musical groups … fun and very festive! Start out at Tastebuds Pizza for a pluckin’ good time as they are hosting the guitar masters from Mercy Guitar!
- (Posted just before the Christmas holiday) Time to get shopping so, for our Facebook buddies we will add 15% to any gift certificate that you purchase for holiday giving. Think of it, you provide a fun place to stay for your favorite people while appearing to be 15% more generous than you really are…It’s a win, win!
- We thought you should know that waterboarding at The Motor Lodge has stopped! In case you never had the chance to experience the torture that was our showers, imagine standing in a phone booth while a 55 gallon drum of water was dumped on you from 8′ up (a classic case of form over function…sorry). New and improved, …adjustable and reachable showerheads make cleansing your beautiful body an absolute pleasure. Enjoy!
- Time to name the cat that adopted us 3 months ago! Whoever comes up with the winning name wins a free night in our swankiest room, #6 (get your friends to become a fan of TML and vote for your submission). The cat is a neutered male, very friendly, green eyes and has a hole in his left ear. Voting ends Sunday at 5pm. (The post included a video of the cat.)
- From the “Who Are These People?” file. We got a phone call after being spotlighted in today’s AZ Republic calendar section…Caller: “Will my room be on the pond or lake?” Me: “We don’t have those here.” Caller: “There is in the picture; next to the umbrellas.” Me: “That’s the parking lot.” Caller: “That’s very deceptive!” … click…dial tone.
- It may me a long night here at The Motor Lodge. Tonight’s guests include a couple of rooms celebrating a bachelorette party (the beaming bride-to-be is 76 years young). If I see a policeman or fireman show-up with a boom box tonight, we may need to get tough. LONG LIVE LOVE!
Focus on the Customer – Not You!
The success of The Motor Lodge comes first from having a quality establishment – no matter what, if your product sucks you can’t fool people very long with clever content. Second, they consistently post interesting stuff on their social media page, in this example, Facebook. Notice that some of the updates above aren’t about them but instead focus on reasons to come to Prescott. This is about enticing potential customers to the area, which gives them a reason to stay at the hotel. This tactic is about building relationships via social media so that when you have something to promote, you have an audience that’s ready to receive it.
If you were to approach a small hotel, heck almost any hotel, about using social media to promote their business, 95% of the time they will say, “What would I say?” Or, they may take you up on it, and start talking about their latest discounts. The Motor Lodge is an awesome example of how to use social media the right way. All the updates are engaging and interesting and treat followers as friends. Most importantly, the down-to-earth posts encourage comments and community interaction.
Social media works best when you invite the social network to actively take part in the ongoing, vibrant life of your business. Updates that encourage comments serve to keep followers actively engaged with your profile. Furthermore, when updates generate comments, other followers in the network take notice and register that your brand is making a buzz. That kind of excitement is contagious, and people pick up on it.
To nurture comments and facilitate active participation in your updates, be sure to circle back to posts that are getting comments and reply with comments of your own. This is true for all forms of social media, from Facebook to blog posts. Your participation demonstrates your commitment, and makes a big difference to your followers. With a mix of incentives to visit your website and engaging content, you will find your visitors will stay interested in your brand.
Note: the above is excerpted from my book Accelerate! Grow Your Business Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing. It is a 250 page, step-by-step guide that any organization can follow to kick their content marketing strategy into high gear. Buy your copy today!
Leave a meaningful comment on this article and be eligible to win a free, autographed copy of Accelerate! We will randomly select a winner from the comments below at noon on August 12, 2011.
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