Meet the Managers: A One-Two Punch of Social Media and Face Time to Heighten Loyalty
By Larry Mogelonsky
Here’s a marketing creed that was scribed into textbooks well over 30 years ago, back when I was an MBA student: People connect with other people, and not necessarily with businesses. For a long time, this wasn’t exactly feasible. Even in the hospitality world where personality is king, managers meeting customers on a one-to-one basis wasn’t always in the cards.
Nowadays though, sites like Twitter and LinkedIn are paving the way for a resurgence of quality communication from management directly down to the consumer. But look closely at this practice: nothing has really changed. Even with the leaps and bounds of electronic messaging systems, people still crave that personal touch.
Hence the title. Whenever, or wherever, you can get your guests to ‘meet the managers,’ you’re not only giving your hotel a real face, but drastically enhancing client retention. With this in mind, social media presents both a challenge and opportunity to accomplish this task.
The challenge is that managers have to commit themselves to a role in the public eye, albeit even when reluctant. People are the new brand; no longer just the hotel logo and top brass. What managers say on their personal online accounts is now intrinsically linked to their respective properties, whether for good or for bad. Luckily, many have already found the opportunity within this trend, harnessing these new channels to build stronger personal connections and grow their businesses.
Obvious from the introduction, embracing social media is imperative for this process, but a first step should always involve a trip to HR to see whose job descriptions might curtail social media responsibilities. From there the answer is in the specifics, so let’s go through a few choice techniques I’ve seen work in recent years.
When it comes to LinkedIn, every manager should have an account and join your company group. Although the site is chiefly for professional networking, it will open your staff to a worldwide forum for business ideas, emerging trends and potential partnerships.
Twitter offers a host of options for building these bridges. For your generic company account, only one or two people should be tasked with posting material, giving them space to add some zest and initialize direct messages. Next, talk to your managers about their own profiles and how they would use the site to converse with guests. The idea here is to form person-to-person connections; something much harder to accomplish when a guest converses with a faceless corporate account.
The prospects are good for Facebook, too. You can easily design a tab to introduce each manager (with a picture) or even build a custom fan page for each department and link them all to the main page. Managers should also be active participants on the wall, commenting on what fans are saying as well as providing original insights.
Blogging is the fourth big one here. Most blog content management systems allow you to designate regular columns authored by specific staff members. You’d be surprised how far the phrase ‘By XX Manager’ goes when at the end of an entry. Or, you could even run a ‘Manager of the Month’ editorial to highlight your team’s characters and fun stories.
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