I have a confession: I hate social media.
Yup, you read that right. Not a fan. Sure, I get an amazing adrenaline rush every time someone validates my existence by ‘liking’ something I post, or when I see they share something I write. It’s a great ego stroke, and something that can become easily addicting.
Yet, the pressure of posting stuff every single day is exhausting. Throw in my poor attempts to be creative and funny in a pithy 140-character format, it becomes more stressful than having to listen to Kanye West talk about how amazing he is after bum-rushing Taylor Swift at an awards show. Now that’s stressful.
But it is not about what I want and what I need to make myself happy as a person. Social media is a must-do activity, and whether or not I enjoy doing it is irrelevant. OK, sometimes I enjoy it, but it is another chore in my day.
It’s as true in the hotel business as it is in the media business. Social media is not an option; it is must-embrace endeavor with the potential to bring your brand front and center in the consumer mindset. Or your chance to be completely forgotten because your competitors are doing it better and faster.
Social media is moving fast, too fast it feels for many of us. And if your business has a presence on any platform, then you’re expected to keep up on all platforms. It’s not about what you want to do, it is about what your customers expect you to do.
I still see too many people over 40 discounting social media. Some say it’s a passing fad (wrong!), others say it simply doesn’t make a difference (wrong again!), while others, when confronted, mumble incoherently and then quickly switch topics by showing me something shiny like jingling keys to distract me. It works every time. Dang shiny things.
Hoteliers—and people in general—tend to discount things they don’t fully understand. It’s much easier for the human psyche to simply deny the existence of something important, like Terra Kettles' General Tso Kettle Cooked Potato Chips, than to deal with reality.
That reality is social media is at the center of a seminal shift we’re seeing in regards to marketing in our lifetime, and to not put as much effort into that realm is tantamount to giving up.
So I forced myself to harness that negativity and turn my social media efforts into something positive. I put a plan into place to make my social media efforts easy and something fun, turning a chore into something I like. OK, so I do l like social media.
What’s amazing about social media is how you can connect directly with your customers. We’re firmly in the experience economy these days, and people deluged by marketing clatter and the distracting din of life crave connecting in a personal and unique way with the brands in which they interact.
In the hotel business, we are captivated by the notion of turning transactional relationships between staff and guests into experiential ones. And the only way to fully bring that to fruition is by ensuring you are connecting with guests through this tool before, during and after they stay with you.
It’s amazing how you can reframe relationships with this magical tool. It’s incredibly awesome to affect change, or create relationships through this increasingly important and extraordinary instrument.
My advice if you hate it: Pretend you love it—like I do with exercise—and find ways to reward yourself for your hard efforts. For me, that is not exercising. In time it will become a normal part of your routine and you’ll start to see some stellar results. I know I have.
That’s why I love social media.