This week both Instagram and Facebook were down, causing panic among social media addicts who flocked to Twitter – which mercifully stayed online – to share their concerns. Websites like downforeveryoneorjustme.com that can tell you whether your inability to reach your favorite sites is a local issue or something much bigger were inundated with alarmed users, while members of discussion forums consoled each other as they waited for normal service to be resumed. It didn’t last long this time, but it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last – and it makes me wonder what would happen if one day there were no social media channels at all, and how hotels might cope if they couldn’t use social media.
“If all social media channels were gone, then it shouldn’t make a massive difference to a hotel’s marketing strategy,” argues Nick Day, Corporate Marketing Manager of Siam@Siam Hotel. “Your brand is the same, your target markets are the same, and your pricing would be the same. All that would change is that a few communication channels are no longer available to you.”
Without the full complement of communication channels to pick from, it seems that the alternatives might lie in old school communication techniques, so here’s a recap for the old-timers, or a revelation for millennial managers.
Like, Share, Repost = Referrals
Using the same principle of like, share, and tag your friends to win a chance to stay in a hotel, how about letting your guests bring their friends to experience the place, and get a discount. This way you get to actually meet your new potential guests, get to know them in person, and build new relationships.
Captions = Elevator Pitch
Writing is an art, but so is speaking. Practicing your elevator pitch could help people better understand your brand and what you offer. Speaking to people creates a connection, and involves two-way communication when you can converse, ask questions, and listen to the answers. Communication in writing often goes only one way. If there were no captions to be written, all you could do to grab someone’s attention is to speak. Try practicing your elevator pitch.
Reviews = Word of Mouth
Studies have ranked some of the most effective communication channels as follows: word of mouth (55%), online travel publications (50%), official tourism websites (49%), and social media accounts of travel insiders (49%). Word of mouth isn’t just as good as social media reviews – it’s better! And the best way to get good word of mouth is to make your service amazing by doing what we are here to do – serve – and not to fight with TripAdvisor or sink into Twitter wars.
Influencers and Bloggers, = TV, Magazines, and Radio
If all these influencers, bloggers, and social media channels were gone, who would you pay to get your message across and build brand awareness? In the good old days, the answer was TV exposure and magazine articles.
I find travel programs much more fun than looking at pictures of someone in a bikini in a luxury resort. There is some excellent travel content on TV that’s worth watching, such as ‘Extreme Engagement’ on Netflix. It’s informative and entertaining. TV doesn’t need to be boring. You just need to be creative.
As Nick points out, “you still have OTAs, you still have your e-newsletter, you still have PR, and you still have print and digital advertising. Marketers shouldn’t become dependent on any one marketing channel or platform, especially one owned by someone else.”
“The complete disappearance of social media might not even be a bad thing at all,” he observed. “Because it seems so easy to DO social media, many marketing departments are spending a significant amount of time on social media without carrying out an objective assessment of its ROI. Every hour a marketing executive spends producing content for social media posts is an investment. If that hour of investment only produces 700 views and 15 likes, is that money well spent? We often do what is easy rather than do what is effective. Maybe we would be better off spending that hour producing content for our website that will boost search engine rankings. Or maybe the money would be better spent on a print ad. All communication channels should be assessed based on the investment they require, including investments of staff time, and the effectiveness of their outcomes.”
“Marketing is the art and science of gaining the attention of your target market. If social media wasn’t hogging their attention, some other media would have it, whether that’s magazines or blogs or TV. The main objective of marketing communications is to find where your target market’s attention is, and attract it in the most cost-effective way possible,” he explained.
It seems that one or two marketers might have let themselves get just as distracted by social media as the rest of the population. Practicing some survival skills for the next Facebook outage might be one way to improve their marketing outcomes.