Here’s a comment you don’t want to see made about your business or industry:
“I’ve ‘unfollowed’ almost all of the hotels and airlines I used to follow on Twitter,” says Sue Brenley, a business traveler based in Atlanta. “I’m not sure what I expected, but they never tweet anything useful or anything interesting. It’s always ‘buy this, come to our bar and spend $20 on a fancy drink, or something silly.’”
Isn’t that the whole point of social media for a business – a way of contacting customers with interesting offers? Well, not really. Social media is not just another advertising channel, it’s a channel of personal communication which, with a bit of ingenuity, can be used to achieve the same effects as traditional advertising. So not quite the same thing.
The key, of course, is to be personal. People like to gossip, they like interesting stuff. The travel industry, more than most, has plenty to offer that people would genuinely like to know about: tips for getting to places faster and cheaper, how to avoid traffic snarl-ups and tourist traps, cool places to visit. Not so much, ‘you’d be crazy not to take our unmissable offer’.
Another quoted comment from the same article, by a 20-something marketing executive at a hotel company:
“What do my bosses know about Facebook or Twitter? They’re Web 1.0 types. To them, this is stuff their teenagers play with. If they pay attention at all, they think it’s a one-way marketing channel. They don’t think beyond, ‘How about a 20 percent off one-day sale?’”
On the plus side, if many businesses still don’t get how to get benefits from social media, that offers more of a competitive advantage to those that do.