There was a recent blog post about the difficulty of Getting the boss on board with Social Media http://twitterforrestos.com/tfr/2010/02/getting-the-boss-on-board-with-social-media/
But what about getting the employees on board?
The major switch that happened just last year, is the repositioning of social media sites from being ones you hide from your boss when they go by, to ones you proudly display on your monitor.
A question was raised by one of the B&Bs I talk to online this past week, “How do I get employees on board social media?”
While many inns and B&B’s are smaller and the task of addressing SM will fall to themselves, there are an equal number that have employees and there may be a good fit for using one of them to manage your SM marketing.
Like any new business embracing social media, one needs to be a bit careful here, you don’t necessarily want to pick the young whiz kid that sleeps, drinks and eats social media just because they are comfortable with it. This can backfire on you in a big way.
Younger people while they may be more technically savvy and comfortable with new media, are not going to have the background in marketing and customer service and in some cases the ability to say to themselves (before they post something) “This was probably not a good idea or not a good reflection of the business I am supposed to be promoting.”
Just like you shouldn’t trust your 10 year old son to build a website for your business, while they may be worlds above you in technical skills, this is not doing your business a favor and the same applies in the case of moderating and maintaining your social media outlets.
This is your business and your brand, so be careful who you let loose on the world to promote it.
What you need is a member of your staff that is a good marketer and more importantly a good people person. If that person needs training to truly understand the media, then make sure he or she gets it.
Social media is just a new format for interacting with customers. If someone calls you on the phone to make a reservation or walks into your door, you are interacting and engaging with the customer, this is just a new medium for doing it.
In terms of getting employees on board SM, I would recommend designating just one or possibly two and make it part of their job description. Give them some incentives for doing it.
- For every 100 facebook fans you get us, you get a $25 bonus.
- For every 200 quality followers you get us on twitter, you get a gift certificate.
- For every new media app that comes along and gives us the ability to save time and money and you can implement it, you get XX
- Press their buttons and give them some incentives.
- Give them some ownership of it, SM is not something you should just trust to anyone and make sure the employee(s) you designate to maintain it, know that.
- Make sure they get recognition for it. There is nothing wrong with letting them promote themselves a bit in your SM (within limits) but having a personal stake in a project tends to give people more of an incentive to do well with it.
- Give them some benchmarks to work towards and sit down and develop a long term plan with them. Social Media exposure, followers and fans don’t happen and come to you overnight, it’s something that needs to be worked on. Make sure you have a plan in place to reward them for their efforts.
Assigning one person as your voice and that someone is trained as both a people person/customer service superstar and a marketer may be a more expensive use of your payroll in the beginning then using the intern from the local college at $8 bucks an hour, but you get what you pay for.
Social media is not going to go away any time soon and it will probably keep expanding into more and more areas that we haven’t even thought of yet. Start with a strategy and start implementing it, as more people embrace it, you will see more options open up and more ways that it can be utilized to reach out to both potential guests, future guests and repeat guests. The ROI more then makes up for the time and money spent on it.
Caveats, make sure you retain original ownership of your Social Media accounts, just like Facebook Important Information for Facebook Fan Page Business Owners make sure your twitter and other SM accounts are owned and created by you and you always have access.
And thank you to http://twitter.com/HoptonHouseBnB for giving me the heads up on this one http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/feb/05/vodafone-twitter-obscene-tweet , a good example of being careful who you give the keys to.
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Restaurant Operations: https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/restauranting/