If you do things right in social media than one can capture 1.5 million loyal followers (JetBlue on Twitter).
Yet, companies can also stub their toe in the world of social media as evidenced by the YouTube success of United Breaks Guitars and Kevin Smith’s quarrel with Southwest Airlines.
Some items are beyond your control no matter how good you are at social media. However, there are a few to steps give you the best chance for success in the social media travel world and to increase sales.
As showcased in the diagram, the four steps are:
- Listen - to your customer and conversations around your brand.
- Interact - Join the conversation.
- React - Adjust your services based on feedback.
- Sell - If you Listen, Interact, React, this will happen with less effort.
Companies often enter the social media fray and jump straight to step four, selling. This is the worst thing you can do, and it won't be effective.
You need to start with step one, which is listening. Without listening, the other three steps won't achieve any degree of success. As many have said before me, there's a reason we have two ears and one mouth.
After listening, then you have the appropriate baseline and credibility to join the conversation.
Imagine if you were at a housewarming party and walked up to a group of four people who were already engaged in a conversation and said, “I’m not sure what you are talking about, but here is what I want to talk about.”
You don’t want to be “that girl” at the housewarming party and you don’t want to be “that girl or company” in the socialsphere.
Many get the listening and interacting correct, but then they commit a terrible crime. They don’t do anything (react) based on the suggestions and information gathered?
If 90% of the people complain about a certain aspect of your hotel, airline, etc, it’s imperative that the issue is resolved, and resolved promptly.
If 90% of the conversation is centered around certain aspects of the hotel or customer service that people love, then it’s imperative that this information is placed in the appropriate hands (PR, production, sales, customer service, etc.) - let’s make sure we do more of this! Everyone loves it.
We won’t touch on selling too much, because if you do the first three steps well (Listen, Interact, React), then the selling will happen with a proper push here and a prod there.
Notice in the diagram that the steps for the customer then happen in the reverse order of the company. This is huge. It's these steps that the customer takes within social media that give an exponential return (good or bad).
If it makes it easier to grasp, you can consider the following as steps 5, 6, 7, 8. This is where the magic can really happen.
- Listen: The customer books the reservation from the selling company. The customer's first step is to listen for what to expect (important expectation setting here). What is the value that will be delivered? What experience can I expect?
- Interact: The customer will then travel.
- React: During or after this interaction, the customer will react according to his or her experience (good/neutral/bad).
- Sell: The consumer's reaction to the experience will determine if they sell for or against (the company/airline/hotel/cruise line). Keep in mind if it's a negative reaction, you still have a chance to correct the situation by interacting and reacting.
That's the beauty of social media. As a company, if you appropriately engage in the four steps, then the stairs in the diagram act more like an escalator (pun intended) rather than a traditional stairway (ie. Social Media Escalator).
It will create a positively circular motion, which, with the appropriate greasing (effort), will continue to take your travel offerings to the top. And that is the true beauty of Socialnomics.
The best strategy in social media is a simple one. Always remind yourself of the fundamentals.
NB: This article is written by Erik Qualman, author of Socialnomics. His book is available on Amazon.