Category Archives: Social Media
How to Market a Restaurant, Hotel, or Attraction:
10 Helpful Tips
We just became the newest members of Tourism Calgary! This is going to be an excellent way to build on our hospitality marketing base. So, we thought we’d give you some fresh and original marketing tips, designed for attracting visitors to your exciting destination.
- Do-it-yourself market research. Have you asked anyone you trust to mystery shop your restaurant, hotel, or attraction lately? It’s an amazing way to get brutally honest feedback – especially if you ask for it that way, i.e. “be brutally honest.” Perhaps tiny things such as how long the service took, the frustration of not finding a parking spot, or even the “funny smell” in the bathroom are undermining a whole ton of marketing effort you’ve been investing. Ask people of various ages if you can — maybe the door is too heavy for an elderly person, or the seats are too stubby for a tall person. Offer any incentives you have to in order to get the help you need. Maybe a prize for the most brutal feedback ?
- Meet the neighbours. Are you in a shopping district, or are there other businesses nearby with whom you could collaborate on marketing? Go and meet them. See what they’re doing to attract visitors to their locations, and see if you can direct your customers to them, and vice versa. “Friend” and “follow” each other on social media sites, drop flyers for each other…just help! The more collaboration, the more reasons you are giving people to come to your area in the first place. If you can get a bigger group of businesses together and form a team, then you can do some real events together for your zone.
- Capitalize on Tourism Calgary. Like an expanded idea of the previous point, your tourism association is gold. As a new member of Tourism Calgary, I got a big run-down today on all the marketing they’re doing to attract visitors to Calgary. Did you realize their website gets about 100 times the traffic of a typical business site in Calgary? Over 115,000 visitors a month! And people stay on that site awhile, looking for things to do in Calgary, and places to go. As a member you get a profile page within their site, and a link back to yours, which really helps your site rank better too. What’s more, it’s free to list your events, which gives people another reason to come on down and see you. And a final thought: Tourism Calgary is packed with hospitality marketers, who will give their time to you to help you make the most of your membership, advise you on marketing, refer you to other member companies with whom you can partner, and generally help you learn how to market your company (i.e. lots of excellent seminars)!
- Use your selling skills. If you’re waiting for business to just walk in the door, you’re missing an opportunity to tackle it as it’s walking on by. Just about any hospitality business can take in business groups or private events. Go out and meet event producers or wedding planners and pitch your location as a great-sized place for various types of events….suggesting those that would be a best fit. This will involve some cold calling and rapport building, but there’s a quicker way that we recently discovered: a membership at ISES Calgary, the International Special Events Society of Calgary. This is a great way to meet people who plan the thousands of events taking place in Calgary every year.
- Build online through offline marketing. When people come into your location, do you make them feel like a part of your community? Think about how you can transfer the offline (bricks and mortar) community to an online community. Consider taking shots of your best customers (with their permission) experiencing your offering, and posting them to your website, Facebook page, and Twitter. If this sounds like a lot of work, there are cool little cameras now that have social sharing features. Once you set up your accounts on such a whizzy camera, all you have to do is snap the picture (or video), then you hit “share” and up it goes to your social sites. That makes your customers feel like they’re on a celebrity wall! And of course, getting them to then “Like” or “Tweet” about you is a no-brainer.
- Use your networks to boost rankings. Did you know that when a big, credible website has a link back to your website, it really helps you rank better on Google? Most businesses are members of various industry associations, but never have bothered to go make sure their listings include their website links. What’s more, you can boost that by getting your best suppliers (and friendly neighbouring businesses, as per point #2) to link back to you. The more of these good quality links, the better your site will rank, and the better you will do online.
- Professional photography: more, more, more! I am convinced that photographers’ businesses are going to start booming in the next few years. Why? Because most websites look pretty much the same — templated layouts of some sort, standard. What makes them different is the quality of the photography, and the uniqueness of it! It’s where people’s eyes go first (and I’m talking about the main page banner images here, and feature images of your rooms, facilities, or dining.) You cannot, and must not, scrimp on photography of your destination. What’s more, get it NOW, when the weather is so beautiful, before it starts “snowing in the city, and the streets are brown and gritty” to quote Gordon Lightfoot! The more beautiful photos, the more they will sell for you, a thousand words at a time.
- Strategic content. At the same time you need great photography, you need great text content. This brings the traffic in the door (while the photos go a long way to keeping the traffic on your site) because text is what search engines recognize. What words would people use to find you? Try punching some ideas into the Google Keywords tool, and see what suggestions it makes. Or, give us a call to get some help with this. You can get a tutorial for this and other search phrase tools on YouTube.
- Write a daily blog about new things going on at your location. Talk about that new menu item you’re working on, talk about what happened on the big ride today, talk about the deer who wandered through your field and stole all the apples…whatever. Just make it personal, and give people a flavour for the character of what you’re offering. You want people to imagine what it’s like being there. Take photos as you go (these don’t need to be professional ones, but try to get good lighting) — just keep it coming. Who knows, one day you might use your blog to write a book about your adventures in running your business — and what a wonderful resource it will be!
- Track and Improve, Track and Improve. Whatever marketing you are doing — ads in the local paper, flyers, pay per click ads, radio, events — it is critical to track all the sources of your offline and online traffic. Use Google Analytics for online traffic monitoring, and use table-card surveys (say, to enter a draw) or other methods to ask about the foot traffic. This is the only way to hone your marketing into a science. Marketing is often a best-guess at first (unless you hire a great marketing strategy firm!) but if you continually track it, you can make it work over time. Just keep at it. Think about this question: Do you know a company that failed due to having too much marketing? Neither do I.
So there are our tips! If you would like a little more in-depth help on the marketing front, contact-us for a consultation. Details on these and our fees are on our Consultations page.
Have you checked out Meetup.com?
Howdy Folks! I just did a big update of the calendar for this month, and as expected momentum has really kicked in this September for marketing events here in Calgary. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but there’s a neat service online now called MEETUP where you can subscribe to various groups of interest to you. There’s no charge to subscribe, and once this is done, and you select various groups you’re interested in, the site sends out email notifications to you weekly to tell you what to add to your calendar.
Some of the Meetups I’ve joined include Pixels and Pints, Social Media groups, Calgary WordPress Group, MarComm Synergy Group, and the handy things is that once I’ve joined, I’m in the loop. No, I don’t think I’ll have time to attend them all, but I am slowly picking away at checking them out — and for handiness, I’ve added events from these “groups of interest” to what we do at Tenato to our own marketing events calendar.
Now, you might wonder, is this really a Calgary-oriented event service? Well, it doesn’t seem to matter. Even when I’m not logged in, the site recognizes my URL is from Calgary and only shows me Calgary events, of which there are TONS. You can also search for groups of interest to you, and easily start your own groups.
So if you want to know what’s really happening for social media, web, marketing or business events in Calgary, this is a terrific resource. That, and of course, Tenato’s own marketing events calendar – which not only has the key events listed in the Meetup site, but also relevant marketing events offered by professional groups such as CMA, CPRS, and MRIA .
Could Social Media Monitoring Have Better Predicted the Alberta Election Results?
After reading Joanne O’Connell’s post “Why Were the Polls Wrong?”, I was intrigued by her insight and wondered if social media could shed some light on why there was such a difference between the polling vs. actual results. As Joanne stated, this election had a large undecided vote (which I believe were mostly former PC voters) that were conflicted emotionally. With that in mind and with the Wildrose controversy that played out near the end of the campaign, it reminded me of a US case study that examined how real time sentiment in social media can help overcome negative events quicker where traditional polling falls short. So did the negative events surrounding the Wildrose party leading up to the final week sway the undecided voters to vote PC?
To investigate this further, I used Sysomos Map and looked at sentiment over time and examined the first week of April vs. the last week of the campaign. What I found was different than the pollsters. According to mentions in blogs, Twitter, forums and online news, the PC Party seemed to always lead the Wildrose with fewer negative mentions and more positive mentions. (Red=Neg, Gray=Neu, Green=Pos)
To look at how this might affect voters, we have to look at each party’s reach and how that reach affected them based on when it was being utilized and what the sentiment at the time was. To best illustrate this, I looked at each party’s Twitter reach and when it was most impactful. This reach is defined as the total amount of users potentially reached by all tweets mentioning the party. As we can see, the tweets mentioning the PC Party had more reach than the Wildrose Party but not by a large margin.
PC Party Twitter Reach
Reach: 8.0 million impressions
Total Tweet Count: 4956
Wildrose Party Twitter Reach
Reach: 7.7 million impressions
Total Tweet Count: 5,576
With both parties having a large Twitter impression, it really came down to when each party made the most of its “impressions” to decide if it indeed had an impact on voter’s decisions. Reviewing the data below, a comparison of the two parties Twitter results shows them neck and neck for most of the race until the final week where some controversy hit the Wildrose Party. PC then took a giant leap on the final day, possibly due to the last few hours of the evening after the vote was decided.
In conclusion, using social media as a form of polling and with the benefit of hindsight, the social data suggests the Wildrose party made a bigger impression during a time when their negative mentions peaked. These negative mentions coupled with the party’s reach could be responsible for creating doubt in the Wildrose Party and thus swaying votes to PC or convincing undecided voters to stay put and have a movie night.
EDITOR’S NOTE: “Popularity” in the line graph is the total number of tweets pertaining to the subject. It includes positive, negative and neutral remarks. The Redford numbers consolidated above also include tweets related to PC and Conservatives in Alberta Election. Smith numbers include mentions of Wildrose party for the Alberta election. These charts, although created after the election for purposes of this blog, can be generated real time throughout the course of the election, making them a more immediate way of measuring immediate voter sentiment.
Last night I was surprised to receive a note in my email inbox notifying me of a direct message (DM) from Twitter. The message was from a high-profile businessperson that I follow; a CEO of an industry association. The message read “Hi someone is posting terrible things about you…” and it contained a link.
I clicked the link, and it took me to what appeared to be the Twitter login page, and asked me to enter my Twitter email address and password. This is where, as a person who has studied fraud, my “spidey senses” were tingling. I recalled reviewing fraudulent messages appearing to be from the Better Business Bureau, saying someone had made complaints about a company, which were also an attempt to lure the receiver into giving personal data. However, this was the first time I’d seen someone clone an identity on Twitter, and then used it to send a phishing link.
I sent a tweet to the Federal Trade Commission, and an email to our own Competition Bureau in Canada doesn’t as yet have a twitter account. (As well as notifying the CEO whose account was cloned). My own studies in fraud have taught me that fraud evolves quickly and creatively, and it does so at a pace that authorities have great difficulty in matching. As fraud is typically connected to organized crime, results can be major financial losses, humiliation, thievery of a complete identity, and even brutal violence.
In 2011, I completed a major thesis on Mass Marketing Fraud (MMF]. The purpose of the thesis was to figure out how to measure MMF. You see, there are countless varieties of scams, and since people are sometimes unaware that they have been scammed (or won’t admit to it), this makes it very difficult to measure.
Up until now, the only technique used measure MMF in Canada has been surveying – in other words, asking people the question “Have you ever been a victim of..[various types of scams]? ” But given the fact that few are aware, and others won’t admit, this technique greatly understates the problem.
The thesis proposed a unique method to identify and catch perpetrators. My concept was to carefully arrange a type of “bait” system; where numerous emails/phone numbers/addresses would be purchased and used by authorities. These contact points would then be forwarded to a well-trained staff with who would answer calls, pick up mail, and collect email. That way, all such solicitations would be collected and monitored on an ongoing basis.
The strategy would provide not only information about the volume of solicitations, but their very nature, and provide quick, immediate evidence. This would facilitate early warnings and rapid arrest. This would be effective for social media as well – setting up social media accounts is very easy, and it does not take a great level of skill to monitor them. A variation of this method that I also proposed was to enlist real volunteers with real identities into the program, and simply train them to watch for, record, and then forward fraudulent solicitations.
As of the current time, the Competition Bureau of Canada has no immediate initiatives to consider implementing this proposal (although they have received it, and told me it was interesting.) You see, because the problem has not yet been measured, no one knows how large is it, nor how much money should be invested in determining its measurement. I have several ideas on this in my full report, such as sponsorship from major telecommunications/internet companies, but as of yet, the proposal waits.
Meanwhile, I hope that authorities in Canada will at least get on the social media bandwagon quickly and start tracking such issues. Furthermore, it is certainly easy to imagine the potential for Competition Bureau to quickly disseminate fraud warnings on Twitter – a terrific resource to spread information globally, for nearly zero cost.
If you are studying or working in the area of white collar crime, and would like to receive the full content of the thesis on Assessing the Magnitude of Mass Marketing Fraud, please email me directly at email@example.com. TO REPORT A FRAUD, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sustainability and the Art of Going Viral: a passing fad or the real thing?
In an early April e-mail from my brother in Geneva I got excited about social media and its power to animate the hearts and minds of younger generations. Can a viral campaign raise awareness, understanding or support when it ‘goes viral’ and can it maintain the gain?
My brother’s e-mail talked about how my 11 and 9 year old nephews had actively engaged in a “conversation”. It began with my sister-in-law commenting on KONY 2012. I’ll let Steve tell it…….
“With the two of us off in different corners of Europe, we trade e-mails to keep the family conversations going. Her boss was excited about how a video about Joseph Kony had gone viral and the implications this has on an organization that wants to advocate things.”
Steve went on to explain: “The original video was posted on Monday. As of Tuesday night when her boss first heard about it, had 1.8 million views. When I watched it one day later after she told me about it, it was at 11.6 million, and Daniel and Joshua were now talking about it. (By April 1 it had been watched 86.5 million times.) With most of our kids now too plugged into “screens” of various sorts this was a good object lesson in media. When the anti-blogs began, the kids were exposed to issues about what NGOs do, how much they cost, and the potential of the internet to influence world events.”
Being in the Public Relations business and curious about how to skillfully incorporate social media into my communications tool box, I tuned into the Kony campaign.
When I got Steve’s e-mail I checked the video out myself and lo, I discovered that the organization called Invisible Children had already up-loaded a follow up vimeo the day before to address the groundswell of criticisms of the viral campaign to take specific action against an African warlord, Joseph Kony. Pretty impressive ‘reputation management’ tactic, I thought.
Was it too little or too late?
What amazes me now is how fast the volume of the internet and social media buzz rose and then fell, for it seems according to an online article April 12 in the Washington Post that the groundswell had already mostly died down. The second video only had half a million views vs. the original one that my brother and his family were having conversations about, which peaked at 87 million views.
The campaign had been designed to spread global ‘awareness’ and it did that, according to Steve. I would never have heard of it were it not for his e-mail.
Will the organization’s “Cover The Night Friday, April 20th” on-the-ground event be the acid test to see if all that awareness translated into understanding and then support?
We’ll soon find out if it was a passing fad or the real thing.
Assuming you checked out my blog 3 days ago, you’re aware that I ran a little test with an online tool called twiends.com which is a “seeding” method used to get people to follow your account on Twitter.
As soon as I bought and released my “seeds” the followers shot up to 405 from about 155. From there, a few more were added the following day, where I peaked about 439. Since then about 100 have dropped, so as of 3:23pm on Thursday, I’m looking about 354 followers. This is still more than double of what I had, although it’s a bit of a steep price to “pay” for followers.
Mind you, I’m not *technically* buying followers (as Twiends.com clearly states that they are promoting your profile, not selling followers) but as any marketing-oriented person would look at advertising, the cost of getting the sale still counts.
So, cost-wise if I have to spend $40 to get 200 followers, that’s 20 cents per follower, which is pretty expensive, depending on how you look at it. I’m writing about 3 – 4 blogs per week, each of which takes me around an 1 – 2 hours to do, and brings in an average of 8 followers a day; so maybe if I value a blog at $300 of my time, then it’s more like $20 per follower for the legitimate “using the blog to attract followers” route. Could it really be a question of 20 cents or 20 dollars to attract a follower? If so, Twiends is sure a cheap, fast way to just GET FOLLOWERS. (Actually, in this case, the experiment also gave me 2 interesting blog topics, so it was certainly was good value for the money…even just for the learning.)
Well, there are definitely other considerations.
The “seeded” followers are not likely really interested in my content, probably just in grabbing the “seeds.” This means that they aren’t *real*, engaged followers who will sincerely care about what I have to say. Looking at the list of new followers, I would have liked to have gotten business people who might actually care about the subjects on which I’m blogging. Now, a lot of the followers in my list are people like “Sando” who describes himself as “I don’t know how to put this but I’m kinda of a big deal ” and some dude named “Ganang Saputra” who describes himself as “Akun yang gak bakalan bikin loe nyesal buat follow ^_^” What the heck is this? [By the way, if you are either of these people, please a) confirm you are real and b) work on improving your profile descriptions!]. This means the ONLY real value of such followers to me is to make the number look bigger.
UNLESS you consider that OTHER PEOPLE care about your number, and won’t read or follow you unless you have MORE FOLLOWERS in the first place. Is this the case?
I doubt it. When I make a tweet, my number of followers (or Klout score, for that matter) doesn’t display beside my twitter feed, fortunately. If it did, then only the biggest tweeters’ posts would ever be read. Or, can you imagine if twitter was arranged such that only popular tweeters’ material rose to the top of the pile – in other words, if you ever wanted people to read your tweet, you’d have to hope they’d see it long after every celebrity on earth’s silly tweets were queued at the top? That would make the whole system only as good as the traditional media used to be — i.e. only important people get interviewed and broadcast.
The beauty of Twitter, to me, is that everyone get’s their 2 cents, and what gets said goes into the chronological timeline once, and without favouritism. That’s why I like using it to figure out what’s going on in the world, and what people are saying about it. I also think that the nature and degree of truth of the comment is more important than who said it, so I re-tweet based on whether a comment is really worthwhile, and speaks to how I feel. Of course, there are exceptions (such as a racist comment from a high-profile politician!).
So yes, now I have about a hundred so *weird* followers, who will again, likely drop off, along with the ones who actually wanted to hear what I have to say.
Remember when it comes to Twitter, the SIZE of your follower number ISN’T EVERYTHING!