Is Social Media Marketing Working for your Business?

Is social media marketing working for you?There are a lot of articles, online advice and business mentoring that focuses on social media marketing and networking for businesses and organisations to engage and connect with customers and industry partners online.

This article is not about selling you the benefits or otherwise of tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn…..but more of a question to you if you are already using these tools:

Is it working for your tourism business or organisation?

Are you engaging your customers,  increasing your online profile and most importantly of all – getting more bookings as a result?

What is it costing you to do it (time or otherwise)? Do you think you get a good return on it?

Have you tried social media campaigns or just focus on chat?

We’d be interested to get any feedback, good or bad as to what impact or results you are achieving from having a social media presence – so let us know!

14 Comments

  1. Kelly March 30, 2010 at 2:17 pm #

    I haven’t used it to the best of it’s benefits. I am a twitterer, have my own facebook page and a facebook page for the cafe. I am online via mobile and laptop, and tweet regularly. If I could focus entirely on the facebook page and our blog and doing promo’s as well as Giapo do I am sure our business would see direct sales increases and increased customer awareness. Still learning what our customers want to know and not know. But on a personal note I really enjoy the twitterverse, i have made some really neat friends and learnt alot from them all.
    On a general NZ tourism note – tourism on twitter is fantastic as most Kiwis will spread the word with rt’s it’s great!
    p.s my hubby said last night, gosh Kel’ why don’t you just stay home and focus on our online presence? Oh wishful thinking babe!

  2. Jeremy Zinzan March 30, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    I think if you disseminate interesting and helpful content on your social media platform, whatever that platform may be, it helps build credibility in you as a person, and subsequently your business.

    On the other hand, unless someone responds to a social media missive of yours with a request for your services, there is no real way to calibrate the actual return on the time you invest in your tweeting, or blogging, or whatever your media are.

    If it wasn’t for the Tweets I follow, I wouldn’t find 10% of the interesting articles they point me towards – there are often pearls of wisdom in amongst there that I would never have picked up.

    So in terms of that knowledge capital for my own personal benefit, I’d weigh on the side of finding it beneficial, yes…from a business development perspective though, I’m still on the fence!

    • admin March 30, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Yes I think the use of social media as an information source for industry news and business knowledge is a great benefit. It’s certainly a key way for our blog to share our articles and attract daily traffic.

  3. David March 30, 2010 at 2:51 pm #

    As a luxury inbound specialist we are using social media as an extension of our efforts, rather than as a key driver of business. We are nurturing some good relationships via our Twitter/Facebook presence but like any partnership it takes a while to build. I am committed to investing time to see where this takes us and if thats ten minutes every day then so be it. As an example of what has worked with us, we have started a relationship with an awesome high-end agency in the United States who we met via Twitter. We have also met them in the US since in person but we keep in touch via Twitter and subsequently booked our first clients via this agency recently. It would have been difficult getting an introduction to them had it not been via Twitter!
    We haven’t run a campaign as such, we just focus on our target market and what we specialise in (luxury tailor-made NZ) and try to ensure what we communicate stays on topic as much as possible to be relevant to our target market.
    I’m sure in five years time we will all look back and say “remember when we used to use that Twitter/Facebook thing…” as technology will have moved on, but the key element of any business, the relationship with the customer, will still be vital!

    • admin March 30, 2010 at 3:13 pm #

      Thanks for sharing your experience and successes so far, as you say use of Twitter certainly provides an opportunity to connect to those you wouldn’t normally get to mingle with which is particularly beneficial for smaller businesses in New Zealand.

  4. Martin P March 30, 2010 at 3:12 pm #

    We’ve had a Twitter presence for around 12 months, essentially to promote our B&B in Kerikeri. Also a Facebook presence as well, search for Kaimanga Lodge if you’d like to see us there.

    One issue with Twitter is that the search only references the last 10 days Tweet content, not user profiles, so if someone is looking for say “accommodation bay of islands”, for them to find us, I need to Tweet every week, or so, with a range of keywords that people might use when looking for somewhere to stay.

    We are having Nicquel Rhoden stay with us in May on her NZ tour, this was arranged via Twitter – http://twitter.com/NicquelRhoden/ – but no “real” guests from our social media presence so far.

  5. Sarah March 30, 2010 at 3:21 pm #

    My favorite story about Social Media for us was a group of International Students who contacted me re a trip. They then created an event on Facebook for a weekend in the Bay of Islands aboard The Rock. After they had added me as a guest and invited all their friends all I did was create demand by regularly telling them how many spaces were left. The trip was full and all paid up front inside a week!

    So while the first contact wasn’t made through social media, it allowed easy communication to a large group creating a buzz around the product. Even better they could all post photos and videos after the cruise to share with the friends that didn’t come. This cruise was back in October and we are still getting students from the same course coming out on the boat.

    Currently we are just working on growing an online community. Which is slowly increasing every week. Guests love it as it’s a way to stay in touch with people they meet on the cruise and of course the crew. And when the dreaded lost camera or laptop drama strikes we can always find photos or videos somewhere for them which always earns a few customer service brownie points.

    Social Media definitely takes up my time but as we get more organised and learn the tools better it will take less time.

    I definitely believe Social Media helps us stay “top of mind” for our travelers which in turn means they mention us more often. I’ll be looking forward to trying a campaign as we start next season. Fingers crossed for the results. In the meantime I certainly think we’ll keep working on our online presence.

    • admin March 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm #

      Thanks Sarah – That’s a great story of how you have used it effectively for customer interaction and creating excitement for a tourism product, nice one!

  6. Jasons Travel Media March 30, 2010 at 4:22 pm #

    Twitter and Facebook to us – Jasons Travel Media means “building our brand and trust”. This has resulted in:-
    – More traffic to our website
    – Increase in subscriptions to our e-newsletters
    – Real life networking

    It give Jasons a marketing channel to speak to all of our key stakeholders – end users and advertisers alike.

    It takes time to tweet, update and engage with our followers and fans, but for Jasons, it is a worthwhile marketing tool. Tweet Ups are not just for nerds, as we now have real life relationships with people we may not have had outside Twitter.

  7. Angela Moriarty March 30, 2010 at 4:58 pm #

    Positively Wellington Tourism has done everything from set up international media interviews with our CEO to give a visitor advice on where to shop for a new shirt on Twitter. When a hosted journalist’s media pack went awol a while back, he tweeted about it; so we had a new one ready for him when we met him for dinner.

    Facebook and Twitter are consistently among the top 10 websites referring traffic to WellingtonNZ.com, which receives around 1 million visits a year. The day a Twitter-based media contact ran a story about our new ‘Welly Walks’ iPhone application was the same day we saw our highest number of application downloads.

    Is social media working for us? Absolutely. Do we have to work to make it work for us? Same again.

  8. Shannon Smith March 31, 2010 at 10:27 am #

    I work for Nomads hostels. We are taking what you might call a two tiered approach with our social media marketing. One which nurtures relationships and generates leads with customers and one which focuses more on B2B relationships.

    On the consumer side we have used twitter for over a year now and use it to promote our blogs and articles which are on our websites, offer promotions and engage in general conversation. We are finding we get better results when not spamming people with offers but just talking about good content, offering helpful advice and participating in conversations (see chrisbrogan.com for his idea on this – that’s the approach we are trying to take). Twitter is hard work to get right and we are still trying to perfect it. I would say the majority of our market are not on twitter yet, but this may change in coming years so we may as well practice. If you were to measure the success of our twitter on money alone and tangible lead generation then I would say it’s a waste of time, but if you are measuring based on engagement/amount of conversation/trust etc then I think it’s worth while. We spend about an hour or two a day on twitter. We could maybe spend an extra hour listening for more conversations to participate in.

    Facebook is great. It is the fifth biggest organic referer to our site. Again we are still perfecting this one (we are a long way off) but it seems the best result is not spamming with offers on fan pages all the time but trying to create meaningful or fun conversations. When this happens you get people commenting and sharing on their walls. We will be spending a lot more time on Facebook.

    From a business point of view we run a blog at nomadshostels.com/biz where we write about our business practices (essentially it’s a how to run a hostels blog) and then share this on twitter and other forums. We actively participate on several business blogs, forums and are playing with linkedin. As an expanding business our goal here is to create relationships and build trust all over the world regardless of whether we have a business presence in a country or not. It’s a fair bit of work but we have already formed some great relationships/partnerships around the place and got some fresh ideas. This takes about 1-2 hours per day.

    We will continue to spend time and money in this area.

  9. Membership Executive March 31, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    TIA agrees that this is a great space to be getting into. We are currently running workshops on Online Technology and Social Media and have had an excellent response. If anyone is looking for further information and wants to attend a workshop I have included some information below. Please follow the below link for more information.
    http://www.tianz.org.nz/main/online-and-social-media-training/

    Not to be missed! TIA has organized some online technology and social media training with practical hands on elements which will allow you to develop your new skills as you go.

    This training will be run by Lawrence Smith from Cabbage Tree Creative who has a great deal of experience in this field as well as within the tourism sector.

  10. Jenny Wilmshurst - Tweet Twins Social Media August 27, 2010 at 2:23 pm #

    Martin P – To search beyond 10 days on Twitter – check out these free apps:

    “The Archivist” is a desktop tool which archives the Tweets so that the user can later use the information to study them and find a trend/pattern in the Tweets. Since Twitter has defined expiry date for every Tweet, this application becomes more than handy to study the Tweets offline. The tool also provides data visualtion feature for better analysis.

    Topsy allows users to find the Tweets relating to the keywords/query. Topsy has unique features such as allowing user to find the most tweeted articles from certain domain. For example, what is the most tweeted article from globalthoughtz.com. Further, topsy provides a list of top contributers with their influence score. Topsy provide easy interface and adds value to the twitter search.

    Tweet Twins is unlike any other consultancy we’ve met. We have tested online, and got great results before using any strategies with clients.We pioneered Auckland’s Social Media workshops

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