social media week chicago 2014

Times are changing - the pound sign is now a hashtag, tweets aren't just for birds, and brands want things shared more than a kindergarten teacher. This past week, the Blue Magnet Interactive team set off to explore several educational seminars hosted by Chicago's Social Media Week to stay on the forefront of the everchanging online social landscape. Our online marketing team is eager to share how their key takeaways from these sessions can translate into successful hotel social media marketing campaigns.

Read highlights from our Social Media Week adventures:

Tags , , , , ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Caroline attended Forget Being Forgotten: 4 Methods to Become an Industry Leader on Social Media.

At this session…

Lauren Young, a brand marketing author, educator, and CEO of Freshly Baked Communications broke down the 4 ingredients one needs to be a divergent thinker, create innovative content, and break through the clutter of social media. The 4 ingredients are:

  1. Fluency
  2. Originality
  3. Flexibility
  4. Elaboration

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

Well, I learned how to cut an index card to fit over my head. Also, I learned that creating the best content is neither a left brain creative activity or a right brain creative activity. It's a blend of both the whimsical and the practical, using the whole brain.

How can hotels use the 4 methods to become an industry leader on social media?

Your hotel should be able to use these 4 ingredients to create unique and effective social media posts. Being able to see things from a new perspective, promoting a special offer in an interesting way, and maintaining a consistent voice will help your hotel's posts stand out in cluttered Newsfeeds.

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Stephanie, Andrea, and Kelsey attended Social Media Hacks to Fuel Your Content Marketing Efforts to learn about cost-effective content distribution tricks to help businesses acquire more (quality) followers and leads.

At this session…

The framework for content marketing consists of strategizing, producing, distributing, and measuring. In this session, Laura Licata, Product Marketing Manager at Belly, discussed distribution techniques through social media. Licata proclaimed that "content doesn't work if it doesn't move" and getting in front of the right audience can often be challenging. She shared cost-effective solutions and hacks to help get your company's content and brand name in front of the right audience in order to increase shares and website traffic.

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

Stephanie: So many great tips and tricks for sharing content! I already knew that LinkedIn was a great place to share blog posts with like-minded professionals, but Licata took it a step further and suggested sharing your content with three to five relevant groups on LinkedIn. In order to narrow down the best groups to share content with, take a look at their activity statistics under Group Info to see how active the members are. She also shared a great Twitter hack: tweet about the same topic multiple times, but with a different twist each time. When you are promoting a blog post on Twitter, try tweeting out the title of blog post first and then a few quotes. Twitter can also be a great place to do A/B testing on blog titles! See which title gets the most clicks and update accordingly.

Andrea: Get as much mileage out of your content as possible. When you write a blog post or attend a conference, don't just post about it on Facebook and Twitter one time and call it a day. Instead, extend the blogs shelf life by finding unique ways to distribute the content multiple times over an extended period of time. While it seems like common sense to continuously promote your blog posts on social media, it's also easy to forget. As you write new blogs, you tend to push those posts out and neglect your older posts that are still relevant. Some of your Twitter followers may not have seen the first tweet about that article or the message may not have compelled them to click the link, but if you post about it a second or third time with a different message, you increase the chances of your followers seeing and clicking it. Also, if you record educational presentations or seminars, use Fiverr to get the audio transcribed inexpensively. Then, pull out little nuggets of information and direct quotes from the speakers to create your own blog post or social media content. 

Kelsey: It is important to create relevant content and be sure to repurpose it in case one of your online followers didn't see you share it initially. For instance, if you have an exciting special offer or an event that you're looking to promote at your hotel, it might be helpful to tweet variations of that offer or event at alternate times of the day to connect with different audiences. Another great reminder she shared was to continue to take advantage of the free tools available to help track how your content performs (Facebook insights and Twitter analytics) as well as tools that help jazz up your visual content (Canva).

What social media hacks can a hotel use to improve their content strategy?

Stephanie: One of Licata's six rules for content marketing was to "befriend social whales." Connect with the people who engage with your property on a regular basis. 85% of consumers seek out recommendations from influencers;  try creating goals around influencer marketing and discover new ways to engage. 

Andrea: To build on what Stephanie said above, every hotel has so many social whales to befriend, so start engaging with them on social media and establish a mutually beneficial relationship. For example, interact with nearby area attractions, local wedding photographers, and reputable event planners.  Your target markets most likely overlap and your future guest might be one of their Twitter followers.

Kelsey: When it comes to sharing content on Facebook, continue to keep it short, sweet and include a picture. Posts with a picture tend to perform better than posts without a picture. It is crucial to work with your social media manager and regularly share pictures from your property so that you can showcase what makes your hotel unique on all social channels. Think: What photos can I take in and around my hotel that tell a story about the hotel and that a potential guest wouldn't gather from our property photos on the website?

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Stephanie attended The Power of Lifestyle Imagery to learn how to subtly incorporate engaging and creative imagery into a social media strategy. 

At this session…

Joey Brant and Leif Fescenmeyer of Cramer-Krasselt discussed the importance of a visual content strategy. Eye-catching images don't require a fancy photo shoot, but can be achieved with some creativity, a smartphone, and a couple of filter effects. Brandt and Fescenmeyer also discussed the importance of cleverly placing your product/brand in a creative environment as opposed to utilizing a "look-at-me" approach where the consumer knows that they are being sold to. The key to producing lifestyle imagery is to "focus on the story and the information will come along for the ride." An example of a band who does this well is Starbucks.

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

The biggest eye-opener for me at this session was when the speakers asked us to take out our phones, look at our personal feeds, and then to look at a brands' feed. Something so simple really made a huge impact, and that moment is something I will carry with me when creating content strategies for hotels. Taking the extra few minutes to brainstorm, get creative, and really optimize your images can go a long way. When it comes to imagery on social, consider what drives a purchase versus the experience you have once you have the product. Informative content belongs on your website, contextual is appropriate for social. The speakers shared the useful acronym CAR: Context (works perfectly in the setting and situation), Authentic (is genuine and doesn't look overproduced), and Relevant (makes sense to the consumer mindset in the time and place where viewed). This was by far my favorite session from this year!

How can a hotelier use powerful lifestyle imagery to improve social media performance?

Hotels have great lifestyle imagery at their fingertips; your property should take advantage of these photo opportunities! If you were a guest, would you rather see a post with a link directing to an informative landing page about Times Squares or a picture of happy people actually enjoying the popular landmark and creating memories? Make your fans feel like they are right there in the action and then they will want to be. "Make friends, not ads."

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Stephanie attended Bored With Sweepstakes? Get Inspired For Your Next Promotion to learn how to transform run-of-the-mill promotions into powerful, interactive campaigns.

At this session…

Nikki Halcomb (Account Manager, Premier Business Solutions, LLC) and Kelley Whalen (Account Supervisor, Earned Media, HY Connect) shared their best practices for social media promotions. The speakers dove into the difference between a "sweepstakes" and a "contest" and how to comply with legal guidelines. They also discussed how promotions that are executed correctly can amplify your online presence, build customer loyalty, and drive revenue.

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

In order to create a memorable promotion, amuse! Create great incentives and come up with messaging that not only reflects your brand voice but encourages participation. Kelley discussed how integrating a good cause can amplify engagement because "87% of consumers would switch from one brand to another brand based on the other brand supporting a good cause."  It's also important to keep things simple. A good cross-check to see if it's easy enough is to ask yourself, "Would my friends enter?" The adult attention span is only 2-8 seconds long, so it's important that your promotion is entertaining and uncomplicated.

How can a hotelier create an engaging social media promotion?

Promotions should be a part of your hotel's budget. A good promotion requires a lot of brainstorming and creativity, so plan ahead and put together a cohesive strategy before launching something uninspired.

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Maggie and Stephanie attended McDonald's & The FIFA World Cup: Engaging Audiences Through Localized, Global Activation to learn how large brands continue to stay relevant to a global audience.

At this session…

McDonald's Global Director of Digital Engagement, Sosti Ropaitis shared how the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign was created. The goal was to engage audiences across multiple channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and television in some regions) in 100+ countries.  McDonald's aimed to create a campaign that was  "language agnostic," portrayed "cultural relevancy," and had an "emotional connection." The campaign incorporated many elaborate pieces including a competition for artists to create a design to be featured on McDonald's fry boxes, an app that customers download to play an interactive game using virtual and physical space, a YouTube video featuring talented, local soccer players from around the world of all ages, and finally a set of videos created no later than 12 hours after each World Cup match titled #FryFutbol. Ropaitis successfully shared just how important real time, digital content is, especially for a 75-year-old brand. He also touched on the long, extensive process it takes to create such a powerful, interactive social campaign.

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

Maggie: Digital content is hard to keep in one market, regardless of how hyper-targeted your campaign is. This is a good thing for added exposure, but it is important to keep this in mind when creating content to ensure it is easily read/adjusted/formatted for the market that you hadn't originally targeted.

Stephanie: In addition to what Maggie said, I thought it was interesting how Ropaitis discussed the success of the McDonald's Gol! YouTube video. He said that how many views the video received was not as important as the "I like this" to "I dislike this" ratio, which was something I hadn't considered previously. It was also eye-opening to hear that McDonald's had the first ever global promoted tweet, #FryFutbol. Ropaitis talked about the strategy for coming up with a hashtag that worked globally and was able to break the language barrier. Throughout the presentation he referred to the campaign as "GLOCAL" - a global campaign that needed to perform well on a local level, which can be a challenging task.

How can a hotel continue to stay relevant to such a widespread audience on social media channels?

Maggie: Ropaitis reiterated something I think is important for all brands to remember when considering their social strategy; views don't really matter, engagement matters. So, your hotel has 1,000 Facebook Fans, but now what? Simply posting content and having this audience view it while scrolling through their newsfeed is not enough. Focus on creating engaging content that will have fans and prospective fans actively participating in the conversation you want your hotel to be having.

Stephanie: It was interesting to see a large brand, such as McDonald's, use cross channel marketing for an event that was viewed globally. Their FIFA World Cup campaign was an excellent example of creating the right content for the right channel. Each specific piece of the promotion was created for specifically for where the content was going to live (YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and the App). In turn, they saw their engagement skyrocket. It is so important for your hotel to understand that content should not be replicated through every channel, it must be tweaked and optimized for wherever the promotion is going to live.

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Abby and Michelle R. attended Field Guide Live: Expert Insights from Top Community Managers to learn social media tips from some of the best and brightest social media managers.

At this session…

A panel of social media professionals discussed strategies they use to manage the social media for various brands, issues or challenges they have had to overcome, and tips for other community managers.

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

Abby: One of the panelists suggested giving incentives to employees when they send social media content to the community manager. It can be as simple as giving a Starbucks gift card to the employee who submits the best photo of the week. It’s understandable that remembering to take pictures for your hotel's social media channels is hard to do, especially if that’s not your priority, so an incentive may help employees contribute content.

Michelle R.: Katharyn Gear, an eCommerce Manager at Hyatt, shared a simple yet efficient way to plan ahead for your social media posts and get all your hotel’s departments involved. Using Excel or Google Docs, create a monthly content calendar and have each department responsible for weekly or monthly posts. For example, if your hotel has an onsite restaurant, the restaurant team can be responsible for creating a post for every Friday afternoon that mentions the weekend food or drink specials. The calendar's content can even be due the week prior and each post can be scheduled in advance to save time. Along with creating posts, your hotel can also schedule a time where certain staff members should be monitoring each account to answer customer service related inquires or complaints. This is a great way to stay organized, never miss a post and involve each department of your hotel.

How can a hotelier improve their social media strategy?

Abby: Your hotel's team members are busy people, but they’re also the ones who are in all of the action. The best social posts are those that give a “behind the scenes” look at what’s going on at your hotel. Offering an incentive program or contest that encourages employees to contribute could be a fun way to gather a lot of social media content to use throughout the month or year. The catering team might be inclined to take a photo of the banquet set-up and the front desk manager may be able to snap a picture of a cute dog that just checked in – both of those photos are social media gold and can be hard for a community manager to capture! An incentive could also make social media more fun for the employees. Giving them a shoutout on Facebook for the great picture they sent you could be the highlight of their day.

Michelle R.: It you do not have a dedicated social media manager, it can difficult for your team to create a strong social media strategy, monitor each account, and create relevant and interesting content multiple times a week in addition to current daily tasks. Developing a shared content calendar and dividing responsibilities will allow each department to get involved, keep followers from becoming disinterested with near duplicate posts, and ensure your hotel is responding to a guest inquiry or message in a timely manner.

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Anna attended Under The Influence: 5 Ways Shoppers Are Using Social Media to Discover, Research and Buy.

At this session…

Molly Garris of Leo Burnett explained that as shoppers continue to spend more time on social media, they are inadvertently being influenced by their networks’ opinions, recommendations, deals, tips, and news. Marketers need to get ahead of this behavior to drive traffic, sales, and loyalty and become the ultimate influencer. Molly broke it down into 5 concepts:

1. Passive Discovery: Content being posted and shared by friends, family, celebrities, brands, and influencers inadvertently sways your brand preferences and buying decisions. Therefore, brands that publish more content increase the likelihood of it being socialized through multiple channels and organically influencing other users outside of their original reach.

2. Researching: More shoppers start their product research on Amazon than through Google because the ratings and reviews given by customers are trusted and valued more than advertising. Brands should share feedback from experts and influencers, and publish user-generated content across channels to reach shoppers and influence purchases.

3. Buying: In-store shopping can be inconsistent and boring, whereas online shopping allows for fun, fresh experiences. By tailoring online deals, coupons, and incentives to your customers, they'll enjoy the purchasing process and be more likely to share their experience on social media and support your brand.

4. Getting Support: Don't abandon your customers after they've had an awesome, share-worthy purchasing experience. Offer support and solutions for customers by using simplified and visual content that's helpful and easy to scan. Listen to your customers and respond in a real, conversational tone.

5. Advocating: Give your customers a reason to be proud of their purchases. Be helpful and award differently. Turn online shoppers into brand advocates by listening, responding, and thanking them. By supporting your customers, you also build support for your brand.

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

92% of customers trust user-generated content and world-of-mouth over advertising, which means brands need to focus on listening and responding to customers so they can in turn influence the people in their social circles. Providing an optimized, memorable online experience for shoppers will not only gain loyalty, but also encourage them to share their feedback and be a voice for your brand.

How can a hotel use social influencers to enhance their social media strategy and drive bookings?

Just as online shoppers research products, travelers research flights, hotels, and city attractions online. As guests share photos and reviews from their hotel stay, they are influencing others within their networks. Transform your guests into online brand advocates by encouraging them to share their positive experiences, responding to their comments on Facebook or Twitter, providing solutions to their questions, and rewarding them for their online engagement. Your hotel can become a top influencer by:

• Consistently posting relevant content that followers will want to share
• Publishing user-generated content from your guests
• Encouraging guests to post highlights from their stay
• Listening to guests and responding to their questions, complaints, and feedback in a non-robotic, friendly manner
• Making online booking an easy, exciting experience
• Offering unique deals or incentive to returning guests

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Cat and Nicole attended Get Heard Above the Noise on Social Media

At this session…

Marcie Hill, Marki Lemons, Toure Muhammad, and Scott Steward discussed their insights on how to get your Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook posts noticed amongst the clutter and competition.

Marcie Hill's thoughts on Twitter:

  • The key to Twitter is to listen to what people are saying.
  • Take advantage of social share buttons located on articles. This is a great way to increase followers.
  • Create a relationship with followers by acknowledging their presence and content through hashtags, mentions, and retweets.
    • For example, use #FollowFriday to give shout-outs to your followers that you have been interacting with that week.
    • Acknowledge people just because. People are more likely to Retweet your messages if you frequently interact with them.

Marki Lemons' thoughts on Instagram:

  • Your followers want to get a feel for who you are so they can get to know you.
  • Photos create more engagement on social media than text-only posts. But, make your photos more appealing with different filters, borders, and text overlays.
  • People digest words much faster on a picture than they would separately.
  • Instagram is an easy way to leverage the rest of the internet with one simple app. You can easily share your photo with audiences on 5 social networking channels (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Flicker, and Instagram) with the click of a button.
    • Usually your Instagram photos will receive five times more engagement on Facebook than they do on Instagram.

Toure Muhammad's thoughts on Facebook:

  • On Facebook, the most shareable messages are images.
  • Make your content short and concise, but outstanding.
  • An effective Facebook post should include: short but interesting copy with a call to action, an intriguing high quality photo, and a visible name, logo, or website.
  • 75% of posts should be entertaining or informative to your audience. 
  • Be transparent and have a personality on Facebook. People want to interact with humans!
  • Understand why your audience is on social media and what they want to see. Analyze the Facebook insights to see what content people are engaging with.

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

Cat: Simply having just text or just images in a social media post is not enough! People interact most with images that have a text overlay and are able to digest words on photos quicker than if the words were on their own.

Nicole: When it comes to social media, just understand who your audience is and make sure your hotel's content is relevant to them. By knowing who you are posting for, you’ll be able to create effective content. Social media is meant to be fun so have fun with it!

So, how can a hotelier ensure their message is seen on social media when there is so much competiton?

Cat: All businesses, including hotels, should be posting no more than 25% promotional or salesy content. People use social media to network, socialize, entertain, and stay informed and NOT to be sold too. If your hotel limits the amount of “salesy” posts, you will be more likely to retain fans and followers and have more fan engagement.

Nicole: A hotel will be able to tell their story better when they understand what their audience is looking for on that platform. Not all social media channels are meant to have the same message. Each channel has a different audience with different user-intentions, so your hotel should tailor its content for each network to create more effective messages.

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter

What Social Media Week Chicago 2014 session did you attend?

Nicole and Anna attended Advanced Brain Science Web Marketing and Social Media Tools to Get Your Marketing on Track to explore how brain science and web marketing work together to create successful online marketing strategies.

At this session…

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media reviewed research, case studies, and specific web marketing tactics that work with natural, human behavioral tendencies.

  • Serial Position Effect: Users have higher attention and retention at the beginning and end of lists, menus, websites. Translation: place the good stuff at the beginning and the end to make sure it gets read.
  • Keep content short and simple. Write marketing content at an 8th grade reading level to ensure all users understand the message presented. 
  • Format content for scanners, not readers. Break large chunks of content into smaller sections that are easier to digest.
  • Use color contrasts for call to action. Create an invisible arrow showing your audience where to look. For example, if the girl is looking left in a picture, then the text should be on the left.
  • A case study presented at the session showed that Baskerville is the most credible font.

Hope Bertram of Digital Megaphone and Katy Lynch of Manifest Digital shared free and paid digital marketing tools that help increase traffic and customer engagement.

  • canva.com - allows you to visually enhance imagery for social media posts
  • followerwonk.com - analyzes your Twitter followers, compares them to selected competitors, and shows Twitter bios, interestss and location
  • fakers.statuspeople.com - shows how many fake, inactive, and good users are following your Twitter handle
  • imgflip.com - creates memes, gifs, and pie charts
  • piktochart.com - creates interactive infographics

One of the most interesting things I learned at this session is…

Nicole: When writing blogs, it is most effective for your paragraphs to be 3-4 lines because your readers are most likely just scanning the information. This is something that your hotel should keep in mind when writing landing pages for your website.

Anna: There are several free social media tools, such as fakers.statuspeople.com and followerwonk.com, that can help you research which users your hotels should or should not follow. They are also beneficial tools for eliminating fake and inactive users that spam your hotel's newsfeed or interfere with genuine engagement.

How can a hotelier use brain science, web marketing tactics, and social media tools to produce a successful online marketing strategy?

Nicole: When writing content for your hotel, it’s important to understand how your target audience is reading and understanding the information. Most people have a short attention span, so your hotel's content will be more effective when it is short, simple, and direct. Your hotel's information will also be more effective when it is sent out at the right time and to the right people. Your hotel should be taking advantage of these free or inexpensive social media tools to engage with relevant followers and measure your social media campaigns.

Anna: These behavior tendencies and social media tools can help your hotel properly engage with followers, establish loyalty, and increase guest-retention.

Read more highlights from other Social Media Week Chicago 2014 sessions.

Tags ,
Digg!Reddit!Facebook!StumbleUpon! Twitter
Home Blog social media

Authors