Have you been to a bar, restaurant, or a hotel recently? Have you been tempted to jump onto Facebook or Twitter and share your experience with your friends?
I can guess that a good 80% of you probably have. I recently completed my research project at Nottingham Trent University on how susceptible the hospitality sector is to social media. And the results were very interesting. Customers are posting their experiences, good or bad, more and more often, with a profound effect.
In this blog, we will explore why this industry should be mindful of social media and offer some handy tips on how to manage it.
Find us on Social Media!
It’s a phrase you’ve probably heard or seen many times in restaurants, bars or hotels. It’s a way of getting customers to share their experience with their friends and family, but also give their feedback on their experience. Feedback on social media for the hospitality industry is particularly important as it works in three ways.
First, customers share their experiences so are therefore seen publicly. Genuine, authentic opinions are visible to pretty much anyone. Other potential customers can read these and make an informed decision on whether to use a restaurant or hotel. However, some customers like to bend the truth.
Second, it gives credibility. A restaurant with numerous 5-star Facebook reviews may have as much credibility as a restaurant featured in Nottingham’s Top 10 eateries guide.
Finally, it builds a reputation. Once a hotel or restaurant has improved their credibility through good customer reviews, they have a reputation. And it is vital that they maintain this reputation.
For hotels, restaurants, and bars alike, managing your reputation is particularly important. Take a leaf from Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza’s book, in Manchester.
Are YOU Nottingham’s Best Hotelier?
Let’s take a look at two different scenarios.
Take these two real examples from TripAdvisor:
Can you see the difference between the positive and negative experience?
Whether it’s positive or negative, your customers will share their experiences. You need to consider how your customers position you, opposed to how you position yourself. And again, be mindful of those rascals who will go out of their way to write the worst possible review.
A positive reputation can take months to build. It’s worth the effort though, as it will reinforce your market position. But a single bad review can destroy your business’s reputation in a matter of hours. So maintaining your reputation can be a tricky task. You should have coverage on a number of social media platforms – especially the popular ones like TripAdvisor – and manage any feedback you receive.
Be bold and try things, like Morton’s Hackensack in Newark:
Social Media For Hospitality – 6 Tips For Managing Your Reputation Online
Be proactive AND reactive – Seek to engage with both potential and existing customers, and respond to those who have engaged with you. Like this Ellie Goulding fan-page who indirectly mentioned a hotel in Nottingham. They have nearly 43,000 followers!
Be human – So many businesses make the mistake of being very robotic on social media. People like to talk to people, so treat them like people!
Know your target audience and make sure they know you – Tell them you will engage with them on specific channels.
Respond quickly – You may find it hard to respond quickly, but speed is key. Especially if it’s something bad. These things can snowball, and within hours you could be facing a crisis.
Don’t blur boundaries – You need to maintain some formality, because ultimately you are representing your business. Make sure you are aware of the tone of voice and the boundaries of interaction.
Embrace new platforms and technologies – Even if your business isn’t on certain platforms, customers will be. Don’t be afraid to try them.
We hope these tips give you some idea of how you can be more effective on social media. And these tips aren’t just for the hospitality sector! Any customer-facing business can use social media to manage their reputation.
Whether you’re running a hotel, a bar, a restaurant, or a different business entirely, get in touch if you want to find out more how you can manage your reputation on social media.Read More
A lot of visitors to Status Social ask us about our famous yucca. In early 2016 it featured in a series of videos, murdering our team members one-by-one. It’s amazing how a good plant can turn bad.
The six-second movies, created on the Vine network, were scripted and shot by our former social media consultant, Chris Anastasi. Soon after he was asked to oversee the creation of his first movie, which he screenwrote, in Hollywood!
Chris has now returned from Hollywood and is involved in post-production for his film “Madness in the Method“. To celebrate Chris’s return to the UK, we’ve turned our short videos into a full-length movie!
The idea for our movie was sparked after the Status Social team pruned and cleaned the leaves of the yucca. This resulted in a lot of rustling, creating the appearance the yucca was displeased and fighting back.
Take a look and tell us what you think in the comments below:Read More
Alex Greenwood has just finished a week’s work experience with Status Social. We asked her to write about her week. How did it go? What did she learn?
Working 9-5 for a week is definitely challenging when you’re not used to it but it’s an experience I will never forget.
This week I have spent my time working with Status Social. Although the early mornings are tricky, I’ve learned a lot of new skills. For example, how to use social media effectively in a business and how that can help with sales. I’ve also been able to further enhance my team working skills and I’ve developed the confidence to ask questions when I need to.
Before I started my work experience I had an interview with Mark Saxby. I was very nervous at the start, but soon felt more relaxed as Mark continued talking. I’m incredibly grateful to him for giving me this amazing opportunity to work with this business for the week.
My tasks included:
– Searching for people on Twitter and adding them to a list
– Writing tweets for a Twitter account
– Finding images to post on Twitter
– Looking at a business page and discussing what’s good and bad about them
– Attending a LinkedIn workshop
– Writing this post!
Who knew you could spend a whole day on Facebook and Twitter for a job!? But I now know that it’s necessary for generating sales and increasing brand awareness. During this week I have also learned how to use Twitter and Facebook to their full capacity. In addition to this I have learned about LinkedIn, which I knew nothing about beforehand. I am now convinced that it is necessary for everyone to have an account.
Status Social Work Experience – Was it Worth It?
Previously, I have done work experience in two other firms, one in London and one in Austria. But in my time with Status Social I have learned some valuable ‘business-world’ skills. Therefore this has probably been my favourite work experience week and has confirmed that I want a career in this sector.
I enjoyed myself so much I decided to buy chocolates and a card as a thank you:
One of my favourite things about this week has to be the staff I’m working with. All the staff are very friendly and approachable. They helped me to settle in and were able to answer any questions I had. I recommend that anyone using social media or wanting a job in this sector should talk to Status Social.
Status Social has to be one of the most friendly and hard-working firms I have seen, and I am very appreciative of this experience.
Are you an enthusiastic individual looking for work experience in social media? Get in touch if you’d like to spend some time with us! You’ll meet new people and develop new skills – click here to find out more.Read More
Has your brand got a tone of voice?
Taking the time to establish your brand’s tone of voice will give people across your company the skills to write more effectively. This in turn will help the entire business to work more efficiently.
But above all, if you’ve got a clear tone of voice for your brand, you can ensure that everyone who speaks for your company is doing so in the right voice.
In this guest post, brand tone of voice specialist Heather Atchison argues that all brands are social, and that the most successful businesses are those that take the time to develop their unique voices.
Does Your Brand’s Tone of Voice Apply to Social Media?
Which of these statements do you agree with most?
1. It’s unrealistic to expect different types of communication in a business to be in the same tone of voice.
2. There should be one consistent voice across an organisation, in everything from operational correspondence to social media.
3. Brands need clear tone of voice principles that teams across the business know how to adapt to their own context.
I’m an advocate of number three – or perhaps number two, with the proviso that it shouldn’t be a straitjacket. After years of helping businesses create and use tone of voice, I take a pragmatic approach to making it work.
Your Brand’s Tone of Voice Should Work in Practice, Not Just in Theory.
And not only in some areas of the business.
For your brand to have real credibility, people need to have a consistent experience wherever they interact with you.
If your organisation says it’s one thing, yet sounds like something very different at any point of the customer journey, folks will simply lose faith.
With more and more employees speaking and writing on behalf of businesses these days, it’s more important than ever that everyone – not just your marketing team – really understands how to communicate your organisation’s personality.
This doesn’t mean that everything should sound exactly the same. It means building an understanding in teams across the business of the kind of personality you want to get across.
You need to work with everyone – from HR to corporate communications and your social teams – to give them the awareness and skills to create the right impressions in the people they’re writing to.
All Brands Are Social.
The key is to focus on what emotions and impressions you want to create, and to lay down tailored guidance for different teams on how best to do this.
The techniques you might use in, say, a corporate report, will be slightly different to ones you’d use on Facebook or Twitter. But the end result – the impressions you leave of your brand – should be the same.
Take Pret A Manger, the ubiquitous UK sandwich shop. At every touchpoint – whether it’s on a recruitment poster, on a napkin, or on their website – you get a real sense of their brand personality from their tone of voice.
Not many brand sustainability strategies sound like this:
Like all of their written content, this sounds down to earth, kind, a little maverick. Their voice shows their values, wherever you hear it.
Establishing a framework to bring about this kind of consistency requires a lot of time, attention and investment. But a good tone of voice, well thought through and properly rolled out, can bring huge benefits.
The Benefits of a Brand Tone of Voice:
– Clarity and confidence around what the brand stands for and how to speak for it.
– A shared understanding and better relationships between teams such as corporate communications and social.
– Increased awareness of the people at the receiving end of communications.
– Skills in applying the brand voice in different situations.
And for people outside the organisation, it’s simple: A consistent voice that’s true to your brand builds trust. This is something that every business wants, and that few truly have.
About the Author
Heather Atchison is founder and director of Enough Said, a brand voice consultancy fighting to free brands’ personalities from the straitjacket of corporate speak. She’s helped the likes of Virgin Atlantic, Vodafone, Allianz and eBay to do just this.Read More
What’s the point of a Twitter hashtag? What’s it there for? Am I using too many? Or am I using too few? Is there a better way to use it?
In this blog we’ll answer all of these questions, and more.
Here’s everything you need to know about the Twitter hashtag!
A Very Short History of the Hashtag.
The “hash” (#) is the “number sign”, and we’ve been using it for centuries.
Of course, you know this already. We just included this section as an excuse to share this picture:
Yep! Some people think that Twitter invented the hash symbol itself.
However, in that anonymous Facebook user’s defence, Twitter did popularise the use of the hash symbol on social media.
For a long time, the hash symbol has been used in internet communications to label groups and topics. On 23 August 2007, Uber’s Chris Messina suggested using a similar system on Twitter:
And thus the hashtag as we know it today was born. Chris proudly describes himself as the hashtag’s inventor in his Twitter bio, and #barcamp has the honour of being the first ever hashtag.
What’s the Point of a Twitter Hashtag?
Broadly speaking, there are three reasons why you might use a Twitter hashtag.
1. For emphasis.
You can’t embolden or italicise words on Twitter. So if there’s a specific word in your tweet that you want to really stand out, just use a hashtag!
The following isn’t a good tweet by anyone’s standards. But it illustrates how you might use a hashtag for emphasis:
2. For humour.
People often use hashtags to add a bit of levity to their tweets.
Say you accidentally spilled tea all over your desk. Of course you’d take to Twitter to moan about it. But nobody likes a moaner. In this case, hashtags can let your audience know that you grasp the hilarity of the situtation:
But the relationship between hashtags and humour goes deeper.
We’ll talk more about trending topics a little later. But first, suffice to say that jokes regularly trend on Twitter.
At the time of writing, #MakeAHorrorFilmLessScary is trending. By using that hashtag, users can join in on the joke. Doing this can make you feel like you’re part of something bigger. It may even demonstrate to your followers that you’re both funny and switched on to current trends.
Read some of the tweets. They’re quite funny.
3. To label a group, a topic, or a location.
This is the big one. This is what the hashtag was made for. You can use it to link your tweet to a wider group, topic, or event.
People often navigate Twitter using hashtags. They either want to follow a specific conversation, or they want to find content or accounts relating to a specific subject.
Say you wanted to find people on Twitter who really like quiche*. Clicking on the #quiche hashtag would open up a whole new world of possibilities.
Look at the tabs below. “Top” will show you the “top tweets” about quiche. These are tweets by the most influential Twitter users. “Latest” will give you a live feed of all of the latest tweets about quiche. “Accounts” will show you all of the accounts that include #quiche in the bio.
“Photos” and “Videos” are self explanatory. Here’s some photos of quiche:
Using hashtags can help you ensure that your tweets are seen by the right audience. This is why it’s worth doing a bit of research. Take some time to find out what sort of hashtags people use when talking about your products, services, or areas of expertise.
In a similar way, hashtags can help you to reach out to people in a specific location. By way of example, take a look at the sort of tweets that appear when you search for the #Nottingham hashtag.
Hashtags and Trending Topics.
You’ve no doubt seen the trending topics on Twitter. They’re usually displayed to the left of your main feed:
How does Twitter identify a trending topic? In a number of ways. We don’t know exactly how their algorithm works, but evidence suggests that hashtags play a part in determining trending topics. After all, some of the trending topics are themselves hashtags, such as the #MakeAHorrorFilmLessScary we mentioned above.
Get into the habit of monitoring these trending topics. If one of them is ever related to your products or services, lucky you! You can then use the appropriate hashtag in one of your tweets, increasing the likelihood that it will be seen by your target audience!
However, never use a hashtag without first checking that it’s appropriate. Some hashtags are related to dark or contentious subjects, the sort you might not want to associate with your brand. This can result in a PR nightmare, like that time a pizza brand jumped on a hashtag that dealt with domestic violence.
Similarly, never use a trending hashtag that has nothing to do with your tweet. This is pointless, as even if it means your tweet gets more exposure, it won’t necessarily get seen by your target audience. And in any case, Twitter views such activity as spam. Doing this may even get your account banned.
What’s the Maximum Number of Hashtags You Should Put in a Tweet?
We’re often asked just how many hashtags is too many. There’s no definitive answer to this. But as a general rule of thumb, the more hashtags you use, the harder your tweet is to read. So once your tweet becomes illegible, you know you’ve gone too far:
Tweets with too many hashtags aren’t just difficult to read. Many people find them deeply irritating. Use too many and your audience may start to view you as spammy or unscrupulous.
How To Choose Your Hashtags.
So which hashtags should you use in your tweets?
As we mentioned above, it’s worth spending some time investigating the hashtags that are used by your target audience when discussing your products or services.
But beyond this, here’s a couple of things you can try:
Your town or city! #Nottingham; #Derby; #Leicester. But you can go deeper and tag areas, and even buildings.
For example, Status Social is based in Friar Gate Studios in the Cathedral Quarter of Derby. That gives us a fully-loaded buffet of hashtags to choose from when writing our tweets: #FriarGateStudios; #CathedralQuarter; #DerbyUK.
Several times a week, Twitter users across the world are united by certain thematic hashtags.
Got anything inspirational to say? Share it on Monday using #MondayMotivation. Have you found a hilarious or fascinating photo in your archives? Share it on Thursday with #ThrowbackThursday.
Friday is a day of celebration. So if you’ve got any good news to share, or if you and your team is simply headed for some after work drinks, you might use the #FriYay hashtag.
For more information on choosing your hashtag, take a look at this handy flowchart.
Advanced Hashtag Use – Make Your Own Hashtags!
This is easier for some businesses than it is for others, but there’s nothing stopping you from simply creating your own hashtags.
Not only can this make it easier for your followers to stay informed, if enough people pick up on your bespoke hashtags, you’ll also have a quick and easy way of monitoring what others are saying about you on Twitter.
For example, bus operator Trent Barton has a dedicated hashtag for each of their services, which they use when giving service updates:
As a result, any of their customers in need of a quick service update knows that all they have to do is search for the appropriate hashtag. But at the same time, Trent Barton can monitor these hashtags to instantly find out what people are saying about their services. And if there are any complaints, they can immediately swoop in and offer the tremendous customer service for which they’re famed*.
So as well as helping your tweets to stand out, hashtags can also help you to deliver astounding customer service!
Just bear in mind – if you’re going to create your own hashtag, try to keep it short. Hashtags that use too many characters soon become unwieldy and illegible, which is one of many Twitter mistakes that Southern Rail made on a fateful October morning.
Any Questions? Get in Touch!
That’s about it for the hashtag! But remember, this has been your essential guide, not your complete guide. We couldn’t possibly cover everything in a single blog post!
So if you’ve got any more questions about the hashtag, or about any aspect of Twitter, why not add a comment below?
Alternatively, you can contact us and speak to us directly.
* DISCLAIMER 1 – Status Social director Mark Saxby doesn’t like quiche.
** DISCLAIMER 2 – We trained Trent Barton to use Twitter – which explains why they’re so good at it! We can train you too.Read More
WhatsApp was intended to be a simple communication app for friends and family. But many businesses have started to use WhatsApp for customer service.
Some Fascinating Facts About WhatsApp:
WhatsApp was founded in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton. Since its inception it has grown to over one billion users worldwide, and is actively used in more than 109 countries.
Its top two markets in the world are India and South Africa, but it’s popular in the UK too. Around 70% of WhatsApp users use it every day, and 18-34 year olds are the biggest demographic.
And get this: The average WhatsApp user sends around 1,000 messages a month!
So what makes it so popular? And why are businesses using it as a customer service tool?
No Ads! No Games! No Gimmicks!
Koum and Acton wanted WhatsApp to be a platform with simplicity at its heart. There was to be no advertising, no hidden bits, and no messing around.
WhatsApp was designed to be a simple messaging service for connecting friends and family. But of all the messaging apps, WhatsApp has forgone the greatest growth since its launch. In February 2016 it finally surpassed the one billion active user mark.
The simplicity of WhatsApp is one of the main reasons for its popularity. Users are able to send text, video, audio and even PDF messages to other users around the world, for FREE! All without seeing a single advert or annoying pop-up. All you need to use the app is a smartphone and an internet connection.
WhatsApp’s privacy terms have also contributed to its success. As of April 2016, WhatsApp announced its default end-to-end encryption, meaning messages could be shared securely.
WhatsApp For Customer Service!
Thanks to this combination of simplicity and security, certain businesses have adopted WhatsApp as a means of communication with customers.
For example, London based jeweller Rare Pink uses WhatsApp to connect with customers who are too busy to come to the store. Nearly 10% of their sales are generated through WhatsApp, and these often come from overseas.
Meanwhile in Brazil, doctors are using WhatsApp to conduct patient consultations. The accessible interface enables a quick and easy conversation, while the encryption features guarantee confidentiality.
What’s Next For WhatsApp?
We have already seen numerous examples of how businesses have embraced WhatsApp as a communication tool. And it feels like businesses are just getting started.
Of course, there will likely be some subtle updates to WhatsApp in the coming months and years, but it’s unlikely that any updates will compromise the platform’s core values of simplicity and privacy. And at the same time, social media platforms on the whole are moving towards business-friendly interfaces that seem purpose built for customer service. Twitter provides an excellent example of this.
So maybe it’s time your business started to explore the potential of using WhatsApp for customer service. And if you need a hand integrating WhatsApp into your communication channels, get in touch.Read More