making social media work for you
Our August Sales Forum topic was ?Making Social Media Work for You,? hosted by PJ Hummel + Co. at their magical-themed warehouse.

Kristy Westfall-Moyer with Signature Worldwide hospitality consulting shared tips and ideas on utilizing social media to augment marketing efforts and create collaborative travel packages with industry partners.

Kristy's Top Takeaways to Make Social Media Work for You:
  1. Have a plan. Develop a social media marketing strategy that addresses:
    • How you will listen to your fans, followers, reviewers, etc.
    • What/who your voice will be. Your voice should match your brand and all communicating done via social media should be used in this voice. Be strategic about who will 'speak' on behalf of your company.
  2. Partner + collaborate. Social media is a great platform for cross-promotional marketing and travel packaging. Take an inventory of local businesses that have the same customer bases and partner with them to cross promote one another through social media. Create travel packages that are exclusively promoted through social media to increase both company's followers and fans (and ultimately increase business for both parties). Some great examples include:
  3. Make review sites (such as Yelp or TripAdvisor) work for you. Come up with clever ways to encourage people to review you. It's not necessary to respond to every positive review, but it is necessary to respond to every negative review. Here's how:
    • Do some research before responding to get the background on the situation.
    • Say something positive. Respond to the negative. Say something positive. People only remember what they hear/read first and last.
    • Don't use standard, canned responses. Thank the reviewer for his/her feedback, apologize and empathize with negative customer experiences, explain the steps you will take to prevent the negative experiences from happening again and do not offer compensation online (allow customer to contact you offline). If the complaint is about a specific department within your company, have the department head respond. Always be honest.
  4. Use social media for prospecting. Try a few tools to help you find potential customers:
    • Tweetdeck: follow several Twitter accounts at once
    • LinkedIn: who are you connected with? Connect with their contacts.
    • Technorati: search for blogs that mention your company's name, your competitor's names and any potential conferences/events that you're prospecting.
    • Google Alerts: set up alerts for yourself, your biggest competitors and conferences/events that you're working with/would like to work with as well as your market segments. 
    • Facebook: same as above.