Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 5

follow up to:
Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 1
Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 2
Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 3
Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 4
Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 4 1/2
Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 4.75

This is a totally different age of marketing, 8 years ago, I had no idea what BTW or LOL meant, but our kids did because they were on AOL instant messenger all the time. Now people write abbreviations in their email and for the most part, even in business this is now becoming ok to do. I just took a professional test on email etiquette and was asked what those abbreviations meant. I am now getting used to reading easily abbreviated words because twitter has a character limit, I don’t view it as I used to, which was my kids texting each other in the back seat, as a kiddie game anymore. People misspell things all the time on twitter, it doesn’t bother me (it probably should, but I’m dyslexic anyway so there’s a good chance I’ll get what you mean, thank heavens for spell-check) Spell check should be mandatory for email by the way. Just saying on twitter, it’s a little different.

BTW I only correct myself now if the meaning is not what I meant or unclear, but I still have little regard for you if misspell entrepreneur in your twitter profile. LOL

What this means for the future of the English language is unclear, but we grow and we evolve. If you brought a 17th century man here to read modern English, me thinks he would have a tad bit of a problem with it.

These are some common things I see a lot of inns doing, this doesn’t mean they are using twitter incorrectly, just that they can maybe incorporate more things into it:

  • Just talks about the inn, never converses with anyone
  • Just advertises the inn, never converses with anyone
  • Just advertises the inn and is using autotweeting to advertise and has never bothered to look at their page from a consumer’s perspective. 6 duplications of a special tweeted, followed by 6 more of the same etc. etc. etc. the least they could have done was alternate them.
  • Just tweets about what they are doing, never converses with anyone or brands themselves
  • Tweets about nothing but a certain topic, I like sports, a lot, especially soccer, don’t get me wrong, but nothing but chat about the 49ers?  It will appeal maybe to 49ers fans but would I think of the tweeter as a place to stay? Probably not. —  If you are going to tweet just personal stuff, sign up for your own twitter account, don’t tweet under your brand name.

The ones I see using it well are people that are engaging others and advertising their business. This is not a sin. You don’t have to provide interesting relevant content all the time and you don’t have to be afraid to promote yourself. Your not afraid to take an ad out in a magazine or hand someone your brochure, this is just different media.

I do see inns out there that I think are doing a great job, they may not think so but from a consumers perspective I think they are and I think potential guests think they are too, remember from Part 4, two types of twitter guests and keep that in mind. Also keep in mind you can’t do a bad job at something that has no rules, and even if there were rules, rules are made to be tweeked. Again remember tweeting is loved by the search engines, forget potential guests if you want to or feel you have to and think SEO.

It’s hard to change a B&B and how they think about marketing, One can only push people so hard to do Social Media, it’s a scary new world out there. Many of my clients are totally sick of me telling them, “you should  tweet, you should blog, you should be on facebook, blah blah blah social media, here are some articles to help you, here are some tools to do it with, here are some suggestions.” BUT you can’t make people do things, they want to have to do it and they need to be comfortably ready to do it. Baby steps are NOT bad things, they are better then never walking at all.  So if an inn doesn’t feel comfortable doing everything ASAP, that’s ok, dabble in the shallow end for a bit until your aren’t afraid of the water. Lurk and learn. Think Jaws with a happier ending for the poor shark.

I had a manual typewriter in school, I had to learn DOS to fix my Point of Sale systems in restaurants I was the chef at. Most of them did not have user manuals and even tech support didn’t know how to fix issues. I look at this the same way. Social Media I think is here to stay and while it seems an insurmountable mountain to learn for many, it should be viewed as, look closer, there’s a rail tunnel that goes through the mountain. Instead of climbing the mountain and being exhausted, hitch a ride on the train. Learn, observe, interact, this is not rocket science and any body that talks geek speak to someone to confuse them about social media and why they need to pay someone else to do it for them, needs to be chucked off the train.

NO ONE is an expert here, except maybe @unmarketing @mashable @GuyKawasaki @scobleizer @murnahan in MY book, but even they don’t have all the answers. There is no users manual, we are all just running along making it up as we go.

BUT some of the basic tenants of marketing do apply here. Books written years ago are still absolutely applicable. Some good examples (and also suggested reading) are “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: A Guide to Creating Great Ads” http://www.amazon.com/Hey-Whipple-Squeeze-This-Creating/dp/0471281395 is at least a decade old and “And Ogilvy on Advertising”  http://www.amazon.com/Ogilvy-Advertising-David/dp/039472903X/ref=pd_sim_b_1 is at least two decades old, but the basics and the points are still the same. (yes I know this is an indirect plug for Amazon, but these can be hard to find, a good (really good) used book store might have them) When I finished Hey Whipple originally I had pages and pages of notes and ideas, I’m still working on some of them and I read this several years ago. Is advertising the same as marketing? Not really but they are intrinsically tied together.

I don’t know if the things that I suggested or pointed out so far or in the future will make money absolutely certainly, 30 day return or your money back, but I do know that many things follow the basic tenants of marketing and that they work. If something David Ogilvy wrote 20 years ago still works now in other mediums, hot damn I think the concept is going to be around for a while. Hooks are good, as is being interesting. How do you be interesting? Such a non easy thing to figure out. NOT!

Lurk and learn from others, original thoughts are few and far between, but if someone else has done something and it works there is usually a good reason. I am not saying go out and filch shamelessly from others but go out and embrace some ideas and make them your own. That’s interesting!

Some assorted miscellaneous things,

  • Regarding retweets, try to keep your tweets short enough if you really want them retweeted that people can do it without going over the character limit and also include your @yourinn name. Sometimes it’s hard to crunch all you want to say into one tweet, so do two in a row, the second one has the link. I will go into the power of retweets in anther post. It’s important.
  • This past week I had a client who told me, “we know we should twitter, but we are afraid that if someone asks us something and we don’t get right back to them they will be mad”.  This was a first for that question, but if it is something that concerns people I would suggest perhaps several times a day or whenever they were online posting something like “if you have questions for the inn, we are generally online at………………”
  • From what I gather about twitter users in general, people unless they see you tweeting “now” are not going to assume you are “on” 24/7, I have posted things and have had people reply to a particular tweet days later. People can see the time both on your main twitter page and on tweetdeck/seesmic when you tweeted last.
  • For the love of mike, please, please, please don’t fall for those stupid, “get hundreds, nay thousands of followers using……..” and “make loads of money and be crowned king of Scotland”, Three words, scam scam scam, oh sorry forgot pointless, to make a shamelessly sexual type remark, it’s not the size of your twitter following, it’s the quality. Think SEO, think networking with quality peeps. Quality interaction. “I have more followers than you do, nah nah nah nah. How old are we?” Last I looked it wasn’t in kindergarten.
  • Not every post has to be a marketing post, but I would suggest unless you are actively discussing something (sports, politics, MJ, the weather etc.) make at least 2 out of three posts branding directed. But be human.
  • If you have a follower that is only following 40 and you repeat your tweets, which I don’t recommend doing the same ones in a row, but rotate them; yes it could potentially get old, but those people that only follow 40 people are not on twitter every day and I honestly don’t think they will notice. If you have a good value follower that is following 2000 people you are competing for their attention, think about it. No one is on 24/7. Well maybe the Jet Blue is but not the majority.
  • Keep in mind similar to organic SEO for websites and blogs, content IS king.
  • Tweet how you talk, you can put ad copy in your posts, but be yourself. Blogging same concept. That’s interesting!
  • People don’t realize that contacts develop from off of twitter, they only see the shallow part of it, I @ someone, they @ me, we follow up with a DM or many DMs, which many times leads to a phone call or email or combo of both. This is similar to going to a chamber mixer, you do the meet and great, exchange your business cards and off you go. Onlookers don’t think beyond the handshake and the 2 minute conversation.

You can make your personal posts be interesting and perk someone’s interest. Think with a hook

  1. “Having my morning cup of coffee and enjoying the sunrise” (me? totally not interested)
  2. “Having my morning cup of Jamaican Blue Mt. Yum! BTW that’s all we serve at the inn” (you got me! I LOVE coffee! Especially JBM)

I wouldn’t recommend doing this all the time, because it can get old (Fast) but if your inn has some quirks or special things you offer, don’t be shy about adding those side comments occasionally.

You can also use personal tweets as lead ins.

  1. Last night we had this terrific Pinot from Pindar, we are really looking forward to the seminar he is giving here at the inn in a couple of weeks
  2. And then post the special seminar in the next tweet. (think retweets)
  • One of the things I have seen a lot of is lodging thanking their guests that they have corresponded tweets with, thanking them for staying with them, thanking them for a compliment the guest posted. As a consumer I get all warm and fuzzy, wow I was thanked. It’s a much underused compliment now adays. Use it!
  • You don’t have to follow people to have conversations with them, you can still converse with someone. Again this goes back to follower counts. Quality over quantity and the two types of twitter guests.

I’ve been asked by more then several inns now to post a list of lodging that I thought was doing a good job marketing themselves on twitter. This is a total bail but also true, every time I think I am done with the list, I add more to it. In a way that’s a good thing because it says to me there are properties out there on twitter that are making a good go of it and more emerging all the time. So if they can do it, so can anyone. I’m working on it. I promise.

Twitter Marketing for Inns and B&B’s Part 6

About Chef Forfeng

Innkeeping Tip and Tricks: Please check out some marketing ideas for Inns and B&Bs, Blogging ideas, Facebook Tips and Social Media Tutorials https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/marketing-for-lodging-resources/
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