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

Want a job at McDonald’s? Now, it is as easy as talking to Alexa

McDonald’s Corporation introduced the world’s first voice-initiated job application process called McDonald’s Apply Thru. Now, job seekers can initiate the job application process through McDonald’s Apply Thru by taking to either Alexa or Google Assistant.

How McDonald’s Apply Thru works
The job application process begins with the applicants saying:
Alexa, help me get a job at McDonald’s.” 
or
“Google, help me get a job at McDonald’s.”
Then, the job applicants will need to answer a few basic questions, including their name, job of interest, and the location where they want to work.
Afterward, the job applicants will receive a text message with a hyperlink that will take the applicants to continue the rest of the application process.  
Where McDonald’s Apply Thru serve
McDonald’s Apply Thru is now available in nine countries, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and Spain. It will be made available to other countries in the coming months.
Why McDona…

Is today's market too tough for upscale restaurants?

Operating a restaurant is never easy, but is it particularly challenging for upscale restaurants?

Restaurants Unlimited Inc., for instance, which operates 35 fine-dining and “polished casual” eateries, filed for bankruptcy in Delaware last week. Earlier in June, the Four Seasons Restaurant, an iconic spot for power lunch in Manhattan also closed for business after its reopening within less a year.

Are these two examples an isolated case or the tip of the iceberg? Then, if upscale restaurants are struggling to survive in today’s market, what challenges are they facing?

The rising labor cost

According to the Bloomberg report, Restaurant Unlimited Inc. hires 50 salaried employees at the chain’s headquarter in Seattle, plus another 168 full-time and 1,885 part-time restaurant workers. The rising wages in Seattle, San Francisco, and Portland have resulted in a total of $10.6 million wage expenses in the fiscal year of 2019. Nevertheless, its revenue for the year ended in May dropped 1%, at $…

Suggestive Selling – All You Have to Do is Ask!! (By Nicole Lee)

A simple, relatively normal thing occurred while in the drive-through at Del Taco with my boyfriend the other day.After placing our semi-high maintenance food order, the person taking my order, in a forced monotone voice, unenthusiastically asks, “Would you like to add our new blah, blah, blah for dessert?”All my sweet-tooth-driven ears heard was “dessert” and I wanted something sugary to complete my four-course drive-through meal. My boyfriend asked if I wanted the donut thing they were trying to push, but I ended up going with a churro.As we received our food, my boyfriend told the server, “Good job on the upsell.”In which we received the same unenthusiastic “thank you” in reply. This all led to a discussion about suggestive selling, how easy it is, how to do it correctly, and how beneficial it is.Of course, this Del Taco drive-through upsell experience did not meet our standards of how to do it correctly, but it worked!

Easy-Peasy
Both my boyfriend and I have sales and hospitality ba…