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

Yammer: A Social Networking Site Exclusively for the Workplace

Effective internal communications among employees are related to some desirable organizational outcomes, such as robust morale, a clear vision, low turnover, and high employee engagement. The question is what platform can serve the purpose. This ABC News video introduces “ Yammer ,” an exclusive internal communication tool for companies. A user must use a valid company e-mail address to sign up for an account. Once an account is validated, the user will be led to the company page that is pretty much like a Facebook page. The difference is that only the users whose e-mail addresses share the same domain can see the wall and communicate with each other. I have no question about whether Yammer could be a useful internal communication tool for companies, but I just wonder: how many social networking sites do people need for communication? Why people have to “create” so many platforms or channels for “effective communications”? To many people, Facebook is only for “friends,” whe

The 7 Ps marketing mix of home-sharing services: Insights from over one million Airbnb reviews

The 7 Ps marketing mix framework is a widely used managerial tool that helps businesses identify the principal components of a service product. The 7 P elements include Product, Promotion, Price, Place, Participant, Physical Evidence, and Process.   The 7 Ps framework can assist marketers in making decisions regarding segmentation, positioning, and differentiation. Even for the same type of products with different brands, marketers can still drive higher sales through the improvement of a product’s marketing mix.     The empirical study about 7 Ps of home-sharing services   Building upon the 7 Ps marketing mix framework, I led a research team in a big-data, supervised machine learning analysis of over 1.14 million English reviews of 37,092 Airbnb listings in San Francisco (SFO) and New York City (NYC). We aimed to discover new meaningful business intelligence through the analysis of an immense quantity of online review information that is created by consumers in the cyber marketplace

Can leisure and work-from-home demand stimulate extended-stay hotel growth beyond COVID-19?

The lodging industry is   struggling   to fill the empty rooms in 2020. For months, U.S. hotels are running at an occupancy of 50% or lower.     Not every segment   suffers the same impact from the pandemic, however. Demand for   home-sharing  facilities had already bounced back over the summer. Airbnb reported a higher booking than last year. Marriott’s home-sharing arm is also doing well, seeing a sevenfold increase in booking over last summer.     Similar to what a residential rental or home-sharing facility   offers , guestrooms in extended-stay hotels also feature a full-size kitchen or a kitchenette. Extended-stay hotels are designed for travelers who want to stay at a “home” when away from home. A guestroom at the Residence Inn Miami Sunny Isles Beach   Extended-stay hotels vs. home-sharing facilities     Because COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through direct or indirect human contacts, people are highly encouraged to avoid unnecessary human interactions, leading to more   con