I look back at my original posts and see how much has changed in the world of twitter. It’s 2 major desktop applications (Tweetdeck and Seesmic) have added more features including being able to update Facebook, Linked-in, Myspace and also multiple other SM accounts with one click.
I’ll address two of the major changes that twitter has instituted since I first started writing the series and also another big change in the way the search engines look at your tweets that is very very important in terms of marketing.
The re-tweet feature, which for people using twitter though the twitter site online, makes it easier to re-tweet someone else’s post (in the past you had to cut and paste), it makes it harder to actually track re-tweets. If you look at your re-tweet link (to the right on your online twitter bar under favorites) the only re-tweets that will show up there are people who have re-tweeted your post while actually logged into twitter.com.
It will not show re-tweets by people using a desktop twitter client, a mobile client or any other third party twitter apps. In addition, tweetdeck users (and I don’t know whether this applies to seesmic users as well) do not show any re-tweets made with the retweet button on your tweetdeck lists.
The only way that I have found so far to track (besides tracking through bit.ly) how many, and more importantly WHO, re-tweets you, is to sign up for Socialoooph (formerly Tweetlater) and keyword track your twitter name.
The other major change is the introduction of lists. When the lists first came out, I sighed, I had spent quite a bit of time putting people already into tweetdeck categories to track. Tweetdeck thankfully came out soon after with twitter list integration, where you could create a list from a tweetdeck group all ready created or you could import a list you made into twitter.
As an inn, the things you can do with lists are kind of mind blowing from a marketing perspective. It allows you to categorize people, i.e. good recipe sources, ideas for pricing and packages, travel trends etc and you don’t have to follow them if you don’t want to, simply put them on a list and you can track their tweets.
From a keeping track of the competition view as well, this has a lot of potential, say you don’t want them ( a competing lodging facility) to know you are watching their tweets and you don’t want to have to keep track of their public twitter account every day (or week) to keep tabs on them. You can put them on a list and keep it private. Private means neither they nor anyone else knows you have them listed.
While this seems like a kind of sneaky and underhanded thing to do, their twitter account is open to the public eye. When it boils down to it, whats the difference between you ambling over and looking at their live twitter feed daily or putting them on a list along with some others that you perhaps find post good ideas for marketing? Time. Your Time.
Having spent quite a bit of time with innkeepers, I know the savvy ones (as they should be) are always on the peel for new ideas and to see what other inns are doing, whether they be competition or not. They scope out other inns websites, grab their brochures and rack cards and eyeball their magazine advertising. Keeping tabs online on the competition is being proactive.
For the most part I think most inns don’t care if you put them on a list publicly, but the private list option has its occasional other reasons to use the feature. How many of us actually want to publicly admit we want to see what our favorite (embarrassed to admit) celebrities are up to on twitter or that we have a fetish for s p l o s h i n g (I had to look that one up by the way myself, while I like food p o r n, that’s a wee bit majorly bizarre)
But in essence the lists tool can be extremely useful for tracking ideas, news, staying in touch with specific people you may frequently talk to or simply keep track of what your industry in general is doing as a whole. List in progress here http://twitter.com/forfeng/lodging as an example.
You can’t list people who are blocking you and if you wish to remove yourself from a list, block the person and then unblock them. You can do the flip side of proactive marketing and block competition from following or listing you, but unless you put your actual twitter profile and updates private (which kind of defeats the purpose) they can still mosey on over to your live public twitter stream anyway.
The last big major change that happened fairly recently was the advent of Real Time Search Hitting the Search Engines, http://smartblogs.com/socialmedia/2009/12/08/reality-setting-in-what-googles-real-time-search-means-to-businesses/ and http://socialmediab2b.com/2009/12/google-real-time-search-b2b/ are some good articles to take a peak at. Google and Bing are picking up your twitter feeds, facebook fan posts etc. I had written about this prior to this happening as I think the search engines were going in that direction a few months before it was officially announced: https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/why-google-loves-twitter-for-seo/
I still hear people groaning about how time consuming social media is and can be. Yes it can be, but it’s more and more important. Much of it can be automated by using ping.fm or hello.txt to update a bunch of networks all at once. While this doesn’t go with unmarketing’s golden rule (about engage, interact, build), chuck that out the window for a moment and think pure SEO.
If your competition is using social media and you are not, who do you think is going to get found first? While a portion of your target market may not be using twitter, twitter results come up in Goggle search results, higher and higher every day. Some results are surpassing the directories that inns pay a boatload of money a month to advertise on. You spend time loading prices and packages on bedandbreakfast.com and Iloveinns, post them to twitter and facebook (and your blog and other SM resources) in a quarter of the time and a much easier interface to use.
Those who snooze are going to be the ones to lose (business) in the long run. Be proactive and bite the bullet. It’s not rocket science and there are many many resources currently out there to help you set up, use and teach you how to market this new field. You are Innkeepers, which means you are smart, go getum, DIY people. If you can handle putting out a gourmet breakfast morning after morning you can do social media. It’s easier to tweet then boil an egg.