Skip to main content

Strategies for Managing a Company’s Social Media Presence

There is a voice among hospitality professionals, saying “People talk about my company and my brands all the time on social media sites. What should I do? Do I need to hire somebody to watch it 24/7? How many employees do I have to hire for this thing?!” 
 
I understand their frustrations, but if we think positively, it is nice to have people talking about the company/brand all the time on the internet because by default, Google Search will display the results pulled from multiple sources for the keyword(s) being used (e.g. the official websites, Wikipedia, news, pictures, videos, blogs, customer review sites, etc.). The more people talk about a company/brand, the better this company can “optimize” the search engine results. 

It is out of the question whether a company must manage their social media presence. The questions is probably how or which person (position) should be hired to manage the conversations on social media sites.

Today’s Wall Street Journal shared three best-practice approaches by Southwest, Wholefood, and Best Buy in terms of managing a company’s Twitter account. Tweets are the “voice” of a company or a brand. Whoever manages the account must be well-trained and know what to say and when to say the “right” things. If tweets are ill-considered, a short message ( 140 characters) can cause a disaster for a company. A Chrysler agent, for example, tweeted: “I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f--- drive.” Certainly, many followers were not happy about this tweet. If the accounts are in good hands, however, Twitter is a very useful tool. 

Southwest Airlines hires about 10 employees to handle its twitter account (@SouthwestAir) that has 1.2 million followers. Initially, Southwest placed its Twitter account under the Advertising Division but moved it to the Public Relations (PR) Department later. The Twitter team works closely with the customer-relations team and responds to tweets between 5 am and 11 pm central time when its flights are in schedule. Because customers often tweet about the problems they experienced, understanding the operations and offering solutions are important. 

Whole Foods (@WholeFoods) has 2.1 million followers. Surprisingly, the account is managed by one single employee, the Global Online Community (GOC) Manager. Whole Foods answers customers’ questions and tweet about the recipes. The company now also has separate accounts for local stores. The GOC Manager still checks the Twitter feeds many times a day and hosts a weekly Twitter chat for an hour every week. 

With 40 thousand followers, Best Buy has a main account plus multiple accounts with specialized handles, such as @BestBuy@BBYNews, @BestBuy_Deals, and  @BBYCEO. Best Buy puts the accounts on the hands of about 3,000 Best Busy employees who have signed up for the tasks. Best Buy lays out the terms and conditions for these employees. They must use their Best Buy credentials to sign in to the company’s Twitter account. The company also has a social media policy in place. Employees are informed what information can be shared and what cannot. 

So, what do we learn from these three examples? Here are my summaries:

  • Companies must manage their social media accounts (please create one if you still don’t have any at this point).
  • Whoever manages the account needs to provoke discussions online about the company/brand.
  • The person in charge of social media must know operations. Hotels and restaurants customers often talk about their experience or complaints on social media sites. Without a good understanding of hotel or restaurant operations, this person would find it very difficult to provide good solutions.
  • Companies need to check the updates of their social media presence many times a day. I believe it is important to give customers timely attention and responses.  
  • Be very careful of the languages used on social media. It is never a good idea of making fun of the followers (e.g. Chrysler and Kenneth Cole as mentioned in the video and the newspaper).
  • Companies do NOT need to hire a big group of professionals to manage their social media presence. They can hire one or a team of social media managers. Or they can empower their current employees to do the task.
  • No matter who they hire, companies must have a good social media policy in place and provide good training/guidelines to the professionals. 

Have I missed anything? What else can a company do to better manage its social media presence? 

 



















References:
Holmes, Elizabeth (2011, December 9). Tweeting without fear: How three companies have built their Twitter Strategies; Burned by Baldwin. The Wall Street Journal, B1 & B7. Also available online.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Luxury vs. Millennials and Their Technology: The Ritz-Carlton (By Julia Shorr)

Embodying the finest luxury experience, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, LLC has been established since 1983. In 1998, Marriott International purchased the brand offering it more opportunity for growth while being independently owned and operated. They are known for their enhanced service level as the motto states, “Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. The luxury brand now carries 97 hotels and resorts internationally and is attempting to keep the aspects of luxury while keeping up with the trends of the technologically improving generations. The Varying Demographics of the Target Market The Ritz-Carlton’s typical target market includes: business executives, corporate, leisure travelers, typically middle-aged persons and elders, and families from the upper and upper-middle class section of society .   This infers a large range of types of travelers in which all are similar in that they are not opposed to spending extra for the luxurious ambiance. However, with

How to choose the best credit cards for travel (By David Mai)

  Traveling in a Post-Pandemic World If there was one thing the pandemic taught us, it was that everybody became hesitant and unwilling to travel. Shaver (2020) of The Washington Post shared an interesting tidbit in which Americans were actually staying home less during the pandemic, according to research that tracks users' smartphone data.  The quarantine fatigue affected nearly everyone who lived an active lifestyle or loved to be out and about in the world. It was simply not a safe time, and too many regulations were in place that deterred consumers from traveling for leisure. Consequently, the COVID-19 pandemic significantly impacted the travel and hospitality industry. Yet, there is no doubt that people will yearn to travel again when the pandemic is fully lifted. Around this same time, credit card companies have developed unique ways to retain business with consumers who look to maximize rewards and benefits for their journey. A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way      

Want your employees to voice suggestions when customers treat them poorly? The double-edged effects of felt trust

  "The customer  is not always right , but your job is never to show them how they're wrong. Your job is to be professional, courteous, accommodating … even (and especially) under stress."   — Steve Dorfman, Driven to Excel When consumers know they are always right, they may breed a sense of superiority or entitlement, expecting the frontline employees to comply with any customer behaviors. A  report  shows that 98% of service employees had experienced unpleasant customer behaviors; over 50% of employees encountered rude customers at least once a week. In  a more recent case , a female customer pulled out a gun and fired shots at Burger King because she felt it took too long to receive the order. In organizational research, consumers' unpleasant behaviors toward the service staff are often referred to as either consumer incivility or consumer mistreatment. Current literature has identified customer mistreatment's negative effects on employees' psychological st