Tag Archives: eMedia

5 Minutes Series: LinkedIn

The most common comment I hear about LinkedIn is “I’m on it, but I don’t really understand it.” 

 

The 5 Minute Series is designed to demystify the Social Media tools for hospitality, & help you apply them to your business. Here are two easy to apply aspects of LinkedIn.

 

 linkedin-logo

 Let’s start with the LinkedIn homepage. Below the green box, “Build your network” you’ll see is Network Updates. This summarises all the goings on within your network connections – starting with you! 

 

1. What are you working on now?

As with most Social Networks, LinkedIn prompts you to update your status with a simple question. What are you working on now? enables you to share with the LinkedIn community what your current project is. Be informative yet succinct as you only have 140 characters available.

 

Why is this important? Each time you update your status, your whole network is updated. This creates a presence on their homepage for up to 2 weeks helping you stay top of mind.

 

This is true for all your activity on LinkedIn. If you update your page, make a new connection, join a group or create an event, your activity is then shared with all your connections. Piggy-backing on each others updates helps grow your LinkedIn profile easily & effortlessly.

 

2. Search

Today I am just going to talk about Search Groups with one specific idea in mind. You’ll probably think of other uses for Search based on this one application, so please feel free to share your ideas in the comments section.

 

Search Groups is ideal for you if you have meeting & seminar rooms at your restaurant or hotel, or if you want to encourage and invite groups to frequent your premises whenever they get together for business or social functions.

 

group-search-linkedin-total-results1

 

From the toolbar at the top of your LinkedIn page you can easily Search Groups. To make your search more relevant, add the area that you are in to see what groups are closest to you. From these search results, you can further define your search using the box on the right-hand side that lists the different types of groups – corporate, conference, networking, non-profit etc.

Now you can start networking. You may choose to connect with the Owner of the group directly, or you might like to first look through the member’s list to see if you already have a connection within the group. Either way, you have just used LinkedIn to create an opportunity to get more people in your doors for real world results!

 

I’d love to hear how this has worked for you.

Cheers,

 

Tracy Tormai

 

Connect with me on LinkedIn here – Just send me a direct request and I’ll add you to my connections

 

Why I love Twitter (as a marketing tool for the Hospitality Industry)

As I see it, Twitter has 3 major advantages of all the social media tools available*. First of all it is a form of micro-blogging, so the messages are kept short and conversational (like a sms). Secondly, you connect with your followers, people who have chosen to follow you, and you are able to keep your business top of mind for them. Finally, you get to build new customers.

What Twitter can do

I love Twitter! There are multiple real time conversations (represented by short messages of 140 characters or less) constantly going on worldwide that you can listen in to, or better yet, join.  People are always posting links to articles and news on any topic. You can do research, poll your following, and see what hot topics are are being discussed right now. Recent discussion has been on whether Twitter will overtake Google as a search engine.

But back to the real reason that I like Twitter, and why I think it is great for the hospitality industry.

1. Conversation

You get to have real time conversations with your guests, diners and customers – even when they are not at your establishment. The converstion can continue even after they leave, and can also be used to entice them back. You can continue to be hospitable and of service after they have left your premises. For your customers to follow your messages, it is not necessary to be attached to a computer or laptop. Your messages (Tweets) can be recieved via your mobile#, or any mobile device that supports web access, such as iPhone or Blackberry. This means that the conversation can also take place on the run, which brings us to number 2.

2. Top of Mind

You can remind your fans why they love you. That means that you can keep your business top of mind for when they want to grab a coffee, meet friends for dinner or get away for a mini-break. Your posts might be things like your special of the day, choc strawberry muffins fresh from the oven, book now for Easter, seeking a new Barista, or anything to keep the conversation going.

3. New Guests

The most amazing thing about Twitter is how the conversation spreads. You can invite people to join your feed via email, but what tends to happen is that word tends to organically spread based on all the contacts of your followers. Your followers then link back to you either by replying to one of your posts, or by re-posting one of your posts on their own feed, called a retweet (RT).

For example, if you sent a tweet  “Reminder: Dinner & Movie Special every Tuesday only $29pp” everyone of your followers would receive it. They can then a) reply “Book me in for 7pm” and that is then seen by all their followers who can trace back the original message. They can also b) ReTweet the message to all their followers with your exact same message. Who can then send it on to their followers, who then send it on to their followers… Soon you have people choosing to follow you from all over the world putting notes in their diary to come and visit you when they arrive at your destination!

Making Twitter work for you

The best way to really understand it is to do. Click here to start following me on Twitter. This way you can stay up to date in real time and continue to receive more tips on how your Hotel, Restaurant or Cafe can connect with customers.

Cheers,

Tracy Tormai

Sales Coach and eMedia Specialist for the Hospitality Industry

*Twitter is my favourite out of Facebook, You Tube and Flickr all of which I recommend for the hospitality industry

#Not currently supported outside the US

5 Minute Series: Facebook Public Profiles

I just became “online friends” with a friend. Whilst having a Facebook conversation with her, I asked how the promotion of her seminars was going. In exchange, I told her about the social media seminars I am hosting and asked if she had created a Facebook Public Profile for her business. Here’s her reply,

“So how do you make that Facebook link?”

This 5 minutes post is about the first step you need to take on Facebook for your business. Once this is established, we can revisit Facebook in this series to talk about other aspects of Facebook that you can utilise.

What is a Public Profile Page?

Facebook allows businesses to interact with people via Public Profile Pages that have the same functionality as your regular profile. Facebook says that it creates “a presence that looks and behaves like user profiles to connect and engage with your customers and amplify your voice to their friends.”

On your Public Profile Page, instead of friends you have fans, and in the past these were referred to as fan pages. So you may still see references on Facebook to Pages, or Fan Pages.  A Public Profile on Facebook is great becasue the “fan” doesn’t have to ask permission to follow you as they do when you are “friends”.

I find that Facebook makes it difficult to create a Public Profile, so click here to be directed to the right starting place or paste http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=logo#/pages/create.php into your browser. Just make sure you are already a member of Facebook.

Now you can create your Public Profile in 3 simple steps.

1. Choose your category

Once you are on the Create New Facebook Page you can choose your category. If you are a business, click on “Local” and from your drop down box choose the most suitable category to suit your business type.

2. Name it

Facebook says that the name you give your Page is permanent. So choose wisely. You want to match your name to your business name as closely as possible to make it easy for customers and fans to find you.

3. Complete the official stuff

Check the box, electronically sign, click the “Create Page” button – you’re done!

Your Public Profile Page is ready for you to flesh out and invite people to visit. Some things to consider in making your Public Profile inviting include~

  • logo or friendly photo of the hotel/restaurant/cafe
  • adding tabs for video, photos, discussions, polls
  • photos of your hotel rooms, food, staff and views
  • adding the reservations application designed for restaurants
  • listing upcoming events
  • post updates regularly

You can check out my Facebook Public Profile here and take part in the current discussion “What’s your favourite holiday/travel movie?”

Cheers,

Tracy Tormai

PS. Leave a comment below with a link to your Public Profile so we can all become fans!

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s Wicked Sunday: A missed marketing opportunity?

AKA – How to Stand Out in a Crowd

 

Coffee, gelati, coffee, cupcakes, coffee, coffee machines, coffee, gelati, cheese, coffee, coffee, gelati, cupcakes, biscuits, coffee.

That was the make-up of today’s Wicked Sunday at the 2009 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

 

Heaven! A coffee and cake festival – how much more Melbourne can you get? Even the weather smiled today, happy to celebrate in a grey sort of way that is also very Melbourne.

Coffee Cup

 

It was crowded, a free event often is, but I couldn’t help thinking that too few stands took the opportunity to engage with the community that had gathered. Too focused on just being an extension of their regular retail presence, many stands treated the festival as a transaction instead of a conversation.

 

Personally, I had been looking forward to having all these purveyors in the same vicinity. As a devotee of Jock’s Ice-Cream I rarely wander off the beaten track that is worn between my house and the store in Albert Park. So thinking that I would be able to sample some of the other local and regional gelati makers, I made my way in to Federation Square.

 

Disappointment!

 

I guess that I was expecting something like a harvest picnic, with samples available to try-before-you-buy. Sadly, this was not the case. Whilst all coffee stalls offered a cup at a flat rate of $2, the cakes and gelati stalls appeared to offer their regular prices. We did purchase so we could eat, drink and be merry, but I didn’t get the opportunity to sample, compare and explore new tastes. This lack of opportunity for me also translates into a lost opportunity for the stall holders to reach out to a new customer.

 

With so many competitors in a confined space, you need you stand out and create some buzz around your product. Here are my ideas based on my customer experience today.

 

Free Samples

Free samples don’t have to be anything more than a taste. A lick, sliver, slice or sip delivers you the same taste sensation for your product without satiating the full desire. And it leaves your customer wanting more! Of course you need to be willing to allow your product to be compared to the others on offer. However, if you are confident that your product is the best, let people compare and they will come back and buy.  

 

A full size cone (coffee or cake) that fills you up can be a good exclusionary tactic that prevents someone going to your competitor. I certainly didn’t need another coffee after my first one, so I wandered past the 12 other stands that were just making coffee. In a competitive environment such as a food festival where there are 5 or 10 other people selling the same thing as you, you need to give people a reason to stop and check you out.

 

More than just creating greater consumer awareness on the day, during a sample exchange you get to talk to the customer, engage them and invite them to take the next step with you. That might be an immediate upgrade to a full size right now, or to purchase an item to take home, or an invitation to come to your regular premises. And more people are likely to do that because you have reached out to them, enticed them, conversed with them.

 

$2 Cap on Everything

I knew in advance that all the coffee stalls would be offering their wares at a flat rate of $2. A local café was taking part and had been promoting the event from their store leading up to the event. It had however set an expectation that there would be similar offerings from everyone else.

 

A $2 cap actually promotes the sense of a bargain for the customer. How many times do you walk out of a $2 Shop having only spent two dollars? In this festival environment, it would also help promote the idea of sampling all that was on offer. Offer less for less, and people often buy more, they still think of it as a bargain!

 

Joint Ventures

One coffee stall that managed to stand out from the rest had a joint venture going with another store from their neighbourhood. (Obviously sharing a stall also reduces your costs.) This one combined coffee with grooves, and helped cross-promote each other’s uniqueness. Something else that they did really well was get out from behind the coffee counter, went into the crowd, and took orders on the coffee cups from the people passing.

 

Other possible joint ventures could have been between the coffee and cake stands; capturing the customer in one place with this traditional pairing. There were also some coffee machine retailers with stands, they could have paired with a coffee stall already using their machines to help direct customers to their lonely looking tents. Cheese & wine, coffee & cake, coffee & cake, coffee & cake (there were heaps of coffee stands!)

 

Competitions/Database/Fans & Followers

I didn’t see one stall offering a competition. A couple of places were offering you a place on their mailing list, but with no incentives, very few seemed to be taking up the offer. To me this seems like the most wasted opportunity. Whether it was a constraint placed on the stall holders by the event planners, I’m not sure, (I’ll investigate further), but to me this would be a perfect opportunity to grow you following, and be able to reconnect in the future.

 

And with so much passing traffic, what a perfect spot to promote your twitter presence! Or facebook? Shoot a short video to go on YouTube, take photo’s for Flickr? If you are too busy to have a conversation at the festival or fair, make sure you can have it in the future.

 

Special Mentions

St Ali – for engaging with the crowds by demonstrating and sharing samples from their Hario Syphon Filter Demonstration

Obscura & White Rabbit  – for their JV of coffee & grooves (but where were the rabbit ears?) 

 

Success

Based on crowd numbers, and participants, I’m sure that the event will be declared a success. But for many stall holders, how will you measure that success? That you sold out on the day? Or that you have x number of new regulars supporting your product all year round?

 

I look forward now to next year’s event,

Cheers,

Tracy Tormai