This is the third in a series covering social media pros and cons for innkeepers, following will be Linkedin, Google+, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram. Please check out the first one in the series: Pros and Cons of Social Media for Innkeepers-Blogs and the second, Pros and Cons of Social Media for Innkeepers-Youtube.
Can be personal or business, or a combination of both. You can have multiple accounts on twitter but you need separate email addresses to administrate each one. You can admin multiple accounts through Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.
Accounts have followers, DMs (Direct Messages), favorites, hashtags, the ability to tag photos (with the twitter phone app) and public and private lists, you can also follow other people’s lists.
Posts can be sent automatically to Facebook through the Facebook platform. https://apps.facebook.com/twitter/ (not recommended) or you can feed your Facebook posts to Twitter https://www.facebook.com/twitter/ (recommended) and your blog posts to Twitter with http://twitterfeed.com/ .
Pros of Twitter
- Reputation Management, people do talk about inns on Twitter, both positive and negative, an account gives you the ability to respond to a complaint or a compliment, or a question.
- Customer Service and Networking
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
- Guest and Potential Guest Outreach, you can source potential guests by interest and by location.
- Content Sourcing, especially useful if area attractions, local shops, restaurants, area events, etc, have twitter accounts, put them on a list and it’s one stop shopping for things to do/see in the area that’s up to date.
- Direct Messaging (private)
- Messaging without having to follow someone (public)
Cons of Twitter
- #1 reason, Probably the hardest of all the social media platforms to learn and understand.
- Shelf life of a tweet is extremely short-term
- Spam and Sales
- Advertising $ out of reach for small businesses
- Can be time-consuming
Why Should Innkeepers Use It
- Reputation Management, people talk about brands all the time on twitter, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve seen more inns and hotels mentioned on twitter that should have gotten a response from owners/management (good and bad both) but owners/management either didn’t have accounts in the first place or just weren’t monitoring..
- You can reach out and converse and make contact with people all over the world just by chatting with them.
- It’s a terrific place to source content
- Loyal guests can be kept and made by keeping in touch with them, it’s a much more casual connection then being personal friends with them on Facebook.
Why Shouldn’t Innkeepers Use It
- Can be time-consuming if not managed correctly.
- Can have very little ROTI (Return on Time Investment) if not used and managed well.
- Can be addictive
- Shelf life of a tweet is extremely short-term (so tweets need to be scheduled for proper posting times for more views.)
Some Fallacies about Twitter
- The only people on it are ones that want to sell you something, or people talking about drinking coffee.
- No ROTI (return on time investment) that is true but only if you DON’T bother to track it.
- That you have to respond to a tweet at the very second after its been tweeted.
- It’s best used on a mobile phone. Mobile phones are great for instantly posting tweets and photos, but to utilize the full extent of what twitter has to offer, you need to use a desktop.
Recommendations as of mid/late 2014
Inns should set up an account, at least if they blog or use Facebook, set up a autofeed for posts. Suggest checking the account at least a couple of times a month, preferably once a week and actively following back anyone that looks like a real person or business. Inns accounts that are autofeeds that have skewed follower/followee counts will turn off new people from following the account. So if you don’t follow anyone or only follow a few, you stay stagnant in terms of new followers. The ratio ends up being steady at less than 200 people following the account and it will stay that way pretty much in perpetuity.
If you have a twitter account and you don’t use it but advertise on your website you have one, then DEFINITELY set up a feed, so at least it looks active. Nothing worse than a dead site linked from your home page. I personally am not in favor of “just” doing feeds, but so many inns have accounts and literally haven’t updated them in years, at least get the SEO value out of it and help promote the inns and inn specials to people who do use twitter.
In addition to the feeds, I would suggest putting some area people/events/things to do on twitter lists, so you can refer to them when you are looking for things to post on your own social media. It’s also handy to have a news list like https://twitter.com/forfeng/lists/news or to aggregate information like https://twitter.com/NHCountryInns/lists/tourism-journalists. Because you can also follow other people’s lists, don’t try to recreate the wheel, many people have already put together useful lists for you to access and use the information posted. Mast Farm has a great example of lists https://twitter.com/MastFarm/lists, like https://twitter.com/MastFarm/lists/travel-media-vip in particular. The advantage of lists is don’t have to actively “follow” individual people. Lists aggregate and follow their tweets, not the person themselves.
Looking for some more twitter related articles and how tos? http://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/?s=twitter