Bring the Conversation to Your Customers

May 17, 2010   //   by Michael   //   Articles, Blog  //  Comments Off on Bring the Conversation to Your Customers

By Michael Tanenbaum

Tying together Brand and Social Media StrategyClients invariably ask me about the brand value of having a Facebook or Twitter presence. Indeed there is tremendous value in using social media to promote brands. The real value, though, lies in integrating the social media strategy into a broader brand strategy that includes a deep understanding of your customers’ needs and desires. It is not enough to have social media tools; it is about using the right social media tools to nurture and cultivate an ongoing conversation with your most esteemed customers and fans.

Let me explain by example.

I recently attended a large event at the Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa, a venue known for its conventions and meetings. I was most intrigued by the video screen in the hallway touting the hotel’s presence on various popular social media destinations.

Why does this matter?

It matters because Hilton Hotel in Costa Mesa has a Twitter presence with over 2,200 followers and 1,000 tweets. This specific hotel is actively using Twitter to post room promotions, push sponsorships and publish links to other businesses that are relevant to its customers. By reaching more than 2,200 influential and plugged-in customers, they are not only engaging those customers but also promoting their brand platform. (Its regional cousin, Hilton Anaheim, has even more: nearly 5,000 followers and over 3,000 tweets)

But Twitter is not where it ends. The Twitter campaign plugs into Hilton Costa Mesa’s broader social media strategy, including a Facebook page and a branded YouTube channel promoting the hotel as “Southern California’s premiere meeting destination”. It also features a blog that offers such goodies as a referral program specifically for the social media community.

Similarly, Hilton Hotels, the parent company, has a suite of iPhone apps for its hotel chains that enables travelers to book a hotel room, check in remotely and even order food — all from the comfort of their own iPhone. It seems that Hilton is angling to be THE destination for business travelers who are already avid and connected social media users. And Hilton Costa Mesa is carving out its own social media credentials by closely connecting itself to its most technology-savvy customers.

Where are YOUR customers hanging out online? How can you bring your conversation to them? Do they tweet about your service on Twitter? Comment about your product on Facebook? Buzz about your company on Google? With what promotions can you reward your most valuable customers? How can you provide them with an efficient and painless user experience?

Follow, engage, reward, challenge and energize them!

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