Circos Brand Karma

Official Blog of Circos

Taming the Social Media Beast Wrap-Up

with 4 comments

Last week was a great week for us as we were able to connect with most of our customers and partners in Asia Pacific at Web in Travel, ITB Asia, and our 1st half-day workshop, Brand Karma Day.  We shared our thoughts on the social media phenomenon and how businesses can best leverage it to turn it into a strategic asset for their brands.  Below is a recap of the top 10 ideas that we recommend for brands in the travel industry who want to venture into social media.

  1. Understand your true differentiators.  Sometimes what you’ve identified as differentiators don’t mirror what customers think.  It’s important to monitor what is being said about you and reconcile your customers’ opinions with your story so that the brand message is consistent and credible.
  2. Maintain operational excellence around your differentiators.  Your brand differentiators can’t be temporary.  Unlike ads, social media has permanence.  Since what’s expressed about your brand is permanently searchable, changing the differentiators constantly will confuse your audience.
  3. Set up your social network hub where your customers are.  We recommend minimally a presence on Facebook because it is the largest social network with over 300M users and is one of the top-trafficked site in many countries.  The volume and the intent (sharing, lifestyle) make it suitable for just about any consumer brand.
  4. Use content about your differentiators as “landing lights.” Guide interested consumers to your hub with great content.  You want consumers (current and future customers) to be attracted to and stay loyal to your brand because of your differentiators.  If the content is timely, all the better.  Of course, point #2 above is of the utmost importance.
  5. Make fans not friends.  Fans on Facebook and Followers on Twitter give users the power to opt-in to being associated with you, which is exactly what you want.  It’s low risk for your fans, and you can stay focused on sharing the great things about your brand.
  6. Engage, not advertise.  The impression ads and click-through ads of the portal/search paradigms don’t work well in this channel.  Think of your fans as people who are already or will eventually be in your CRM — and use your hub to please them digitally.  Share things that would interest them, do things that would please them, reward their loyalty, and personalize whenever possible.
  7. Link to allies.  Chances are, brands in other parts of the world tout the same differentiators.  Why not ally with them by cross-linking your hubs?  The narrower your niche, probably the easier it will be to find non-competitive allies that can cross-authenticate what your brand stands for.
  8. Partner with brands that complete you.  Travel is a holistic experience involving many components.  In your hub, introduce the partners that best complete the guest experience.  Depending on the business your brand is in, points of interest, transportation options, accommodation choices, local eateries, and ticketing agencies are all possible partners to complete the experience your brand offers.
  9. Respond immediately, and with empathy, to negative posts.  Brands, like people, show their true colors when they’re under attack, so complaints, though unpleasant, can be opportunities for you to shine.  Unless it’s a systemic problem, other fans will likely ignore the complaint, rise to defend you, or understand that the issue is between the complaining fan and you.  In all cases, they will appreciate that you did something, even if all you do is to request to address the issue offline with the complaining fan.  Doing nothing makes observing fans wonder what happened.
  10. Develop a social media policy for your employees.  How many of the 300M Facebook users also work for you?  Chances are, quite a few.  Employees can be your biggest promoters… or unintentional detractors.  As you venture into social media, make sure that your employees are on the same page as you.
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Written by Morris

October 26, 2009 at 6:33 am

4 Responses

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  1. thanks for sharing these great ideas.

    Michela

    October 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm

  2. Another posting filled with nuggets of wisdom regarding the effective use of social media. These are my favorites:

    Use content about your differentiators as “landing lights.”
    Guide interested consumers to your hub with great content.

    Engage, not advertise.
    Share things that would interest them, do things that would please them, reward their loyalty, and personalize whenever possible.

    Ignore these at your peril…

    Rock on!

    Rockhopper

    October 27, 2009 at 12:59 pm

  3. […] of the most attractive quality a brand can have with its online fans and friends.  See my post on Taming the Social Media Beast for what to do, and what not to […]

  4. […] Recently, I’ve been inspired by the goodness in social media.  I know that social media has a dark side.  Some of the most egregious examples we saw towards the end of 2010 were WikiLeaks, which put diplomats in danger, and Facebook used both as a channel to cry for help as well as a platform for bullying which then led to teen suicides.  On the business front it seems as though social media moved from the break room into the board room, as many people told us that their CEO/Board lost patience with their brand’s slow progress in social media and demanded a solution for 2011.  There were also the brands that got skewered with a not well-thought out social strategy and were left wondering what they should do next.  Finally, even though I loved the movie The Social Network (Jesse Eisenberg should win the Academy Award for his portrayal of Mark Zuckerberg), the movie set a dark tone on the people that helped to usher in the age of social media.  The question Siew-Hoon Yeoh asked at Web in Travel in 2009 became all the more relevant: “How do you tame the social media beast?“ […]


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