Who's Watching Your Brand - Social Media Monitoring
By Cindy Woudenberg Founder, LuCorp Marketing | March 04, 2012
Keeping on top of your brand reputation can be daunting, especially in this age of social media. With the onset of the many customer review and social media sites, we all know the days of traditional customer satisfaction surveys have passed and consumers now have free-reign to publicly post their experiences and opinions.
The travel industry leads the way in online customer feedback, with all types of travelers leaving detailed reviews on hotels, restaurants and excursions, sometimes before they even reach home. In turn, these review sites are often the first place future travelers visit when planning a trip, and customer reviews carry significant weight in evaluating hotels and determining where to stay. Social media sites such as Trip Advisor, Yelp, Facebook, and Google + have become a valuable source of information for travelers, as well as a place for businesses to interact directly with customers and prospective customers. If your pages are welcoming, informative, responsive, and gives consumers what they want, it can have a huge impact on their decision to book a stay at your property.
Developing a successful presence and reaping the benefits of these types of sites requires a significant commitment on the part of management, however. Assessing customer reviews and sentiments toward a business, managing multiple sites or brands, responding to reviews and posts, converting postings to business, delivering ROI on time spent on Social Media and promoting brand advocates can all add up to a major investment of time and effort.
In addition to engaging in and monitoring social media, management also needs to worry about who will be responsible for social media. Naturally, this often falls on the marketing team, but should actually be an important part of other department responsibilities as well. The entire social media process leads to not only brand advocacy, customer relations and sales opportunity, but also recruitment opportunities, management issues, maintenance issues, and even additional business opportunities.
As an example, management may monitor social media overall while allowing each department to respond to their area of responsibility. Making departments responsible for addressing comments or concerns from customers or others who are interacting through social media fosters a mindset of responsibility within each area of business that can lead to stronger service across all areas of the hotel. If a prospective guest posed questions about booking events or a block of rooms, for example, it might be appropriate to have someone from group sales offer a personalized response. A review about the hotel restaurant from a guest would benefit from a response from someone overseeing social media specifically for the restaurant. Prospective guests seeing this type of attention to detail and direct response from the most relevant department would no doubt be impressed, while chances for repeat business from existing customers grows exponentially.
Management has to consider who will be responsible for being at the forefront of the brand for not only marketing and sales, but also HR, housekeeping, maintenance, and all other facets of the business. Allowing multiple players in the posting, assessing responses and engagement can help bridge gaps and can often lead to bringing departments together to collaborate on customer service solutions as well.