Win More Business: Tap Into Conversational Search Using Twitter

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Courtesy Albert Einstein Wikiquote King of Observation

Chris Brogan’s latest post “How Hotels Can Win More Business Travel” is a look at how all social media marketers, social media consultants, entrepreneurs, and large companies should be looking at applying social media networks to their challenges. Implementing new processes in order to meet a business challenge is often a matter of observing and re-engineering. In Chris’s post, search is the main tool with an open mind to possibilities. Let’s take a look at 3 of Chris’s steps.

While Chris addresses hotels, I will plug in his first 3 Steps for restaurants:

1. Get Aggressive with Search: Chris utilized a Twitter search that found conversations surrounding lodging in Austin, Texas for the SXSW conference. He found folks who were having a problem finding accommodations.  Chris’s idea: “If I were an Austin, TX hotel property with open beds, I’d go after each and every one of them with a rate quote and an easy link to make the reservation.

Restaurant’s Strategy: (dg) If I were a Austin area restaurant, I would also tap into these travel conversations on Twitter. Here is how I would engage:

A.) Welcome each traveler to Austin

B.) Promote Hotel(s) that you wish to partner with by tweeting their facilities with a link to reservations with contact information

C.) Welcome them to my restaurant with an added incentive, give away, or special that makes them feel compelled to investigate

2. Improve Your Concierge Service: Chris’s idea here is simple yet few are doing it. He talks about chronicling and then databasing a travelers tendancies, wants, and needs. “How hard would it be to database your guests a little bit, and start to understand their recurring business travel needs? How difficult would it be to share them across properties?

Restaurant’s Strategy: (dg) Like inventory control when chef’s order their supplies, a customer’s preferences for dishes would be a database that could be very impressive to both local and business travelers.  With these tendencies, a restaurant could Tweet specials, special nights, or offers with confidence. Create a database of your customers.

Real Strategy to Connect: At the restaurant location, offer them the opportunity to actually login and sign up to be your fan on Facebook and connect on Twitter. This is the next generation version of those stale paper “How Did We Do” evaluation forms so many restaurants use.

3. Get Aggressive with Offers: CB “Right now, there’s no reason why not to build incentives into property loyalty. Hotels.com has a book 10 nights through them, get 1 night free (without any loyalty required to any particular chain). It’s a really clever offer. It could be countered easily and retain chain loyalty fairly easily.”

Restaurant’s Strategy: Due to the economic crisis we all face, eating out today is often a luxury for most people. Restaurant’s should consider leveraging their food as a commodity by offering special value items, menus, or incentives. Granted many restaurants offer value but do they do this strategically? Often the value offer is something that is seen as less value and more fluff. The free dessert, apertif, or side dish just isn’t going to get it in today’s world.

Restaurants must give something their customers actually want and give it to them with the idea that they can make up the costs in return visits, alcohol sales, and viral marketing word of mouth.

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Social Media Networking Strategy #1: Be a Social Media Anthropologist

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Brian Solis Principle of “Future Works” and Social Media expert

Anthropology is the study of humanity. Within this discipline lurks the often maligned and always second guessed social anthropologist. Social anthropologist examine cultures, dissect cultures within cultures, and attempt to posit and theorize answers to why a society or people live within a structure of their making.

Brian Solis’s, no nonsense Social Media expert, article “Will the Real Social Media Expert Please Stand Up” is an in depth valuable assessment of social media systems landscape. According to Solis:

“Social media is about sociology and the understanding that with the new social tools available to us, we can more effectively observe the cultures of online communities and listen to and respond directly to people within the communities.”

Strategy to Engage

1. Stop pushing your sales pitch, thoughts, or agenda at people

2. Start listening to the conversation within a Social Media community

3. Contribute and talk to people within the Social Media community you wish to engage

4. Assess what the conversation involves, how to contribute, and what to listen to within the community

5. Give your value, contribute this value to the conversation

6. Monitor the conversation and watch for acceptance and response to your value give

7. Respect, honesty, and support will lead to trust within the community for you and your contributions

8. Become a Sociologist. Understand the group aka community. According to Solis “everything they (community) do is reflective of those they want to engage and embrace”