Tag Archives: Social Media

5 Minute Series: Flickr

Flickr for business is a great , especially if you have stock and products that translate visually. Menu items, ice-cream flavours, hotel rooms and happy customers are perfect images to post on Flickr.

flickr-logo1

Getting Started

One of the best ways to get started with Flickr is to create a Project 365 and join the associated group. Project 365 is basically a photo diary – you take one photo a day and post it on Flickr.

What you post is entirely up to you. But here are some suggestions.

  • If you are a deli – some tantalizing pictures of what’s in your display cabinet (dips, sausage, cheese)
  • If you are an hotel – pictures of your different rooms, close-ups of furniture items, the view from the room
  • If you are a restaurant – your new summer, winter, spring etc menu items, desserts, environment, best table

Now you can also join a Project 365 group on Flickr and share your images with everyone.

But what I really like about Flickr is geo-tagging.

Geo Tags

When you up load a photo, you have the option of not only adding a descriptive tag (I always recommend including your business name) but also a geo-tag. A geo-tag is a geographical identifying tag that plots the location of your photo. Geo-tagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information. More importantly, geo-tags help customers find you through the photos you take.

As Flickr describes it, “As you stick more and more photos and video on to the world, these Places will become richer and much more interesting. This spurs us on to keep making them better, and to show you fresher, nearly-live content from Zambia to Nova Scotia.” Click here to learn more about the process.

Imagine if someone saw your delectable new dessert on Flickr, wouldn’t they want to know where they can go to eat it? Even if they are not in the area right now, they may bookmark it for the future, and if one of their friends is wondering where to take a date for coffee & cake, they’d be able to recommend you via your photo! A new customer just from one photo. Can it really be that easy?

Here are my “pizza” search results for a Melbourne, Vic.

Four things to remember when posting an image on Flickr

  1. In the comments section, add a description that includes the name of your business and how to contact you
  2. Add word tags that describe your picture (including your business name)
  3. Geo-tag so that you are search-able via the place pages
  4. Encourage your customers to also take photos to post on Flickr and tag them (with your business name!)

Mostly, have fun. You can check out my coffee Project 365 here. I’d love you to post some comments, you never know when I might feature your coffee!

Cheers,

Tracy Tormai

5 Minute Series: Twitter (Don’t be a fail statistic)

It was recently reported that 60% of new Twitter users stop using within one month. It’s a pity, I find it lots of fun and educational. I can only think that they weren’t warmly welcomed into the Twitter fold because of one of 2 things.
1. They only followed the celebrities that the Twitter suggests when you first sign up, only to find that they are boring!
2. They haven’t filled out their profile details, so that other people don’t know who they are, and why they should follow them.

There are probably a number of other reasons, but recent experiences have me believing that these are high on the list.

Picture by Lauterhaus

Picture by Lauterhaus

1. Follow people who’s interests you share

I just caught up with a friend whom I recently coaxed on to Twitter. She told me how boring Twitter was. Shocked I asked who she was following. Like many a new user, her list consisted mostly of  celebrities. No wonder. When the likes of Ellen and Ashton Kutcher have 1 million+ followers, you can’t expect there to be much interaction with them. Even if you do catch their attention, it is unlikely they will follow back or reply (just check out their time-line). And you soon find out that they are just like us anyway.

Instead, follow people who are interested in the things you are interested in. Be it coffee addicts, hand crafters, alpaca farmers, wine lovers, hoteliers, artisans, travellers or raw vegans, you’ll have a more interesting and satisfying Twitter experience. I suggest you check out monitter to find people who are talking about what you are interested in. And there is an added bonus to following same interest people in your local area – it makes it possible to meet-up with them off-line.

2. Fill in your profile

It seems that the recent rush of Twitter popularity has newbies signing up but not filling in their details on their profile page. I must admit, this is my pet hate. I’ll admitI am not someone who will automatically follow back if you follow me. Instead I will check you out, see what your interests are, and also see what sort of things you tweet in your time-line. If all this is blank, I’m just not interested.

If you need to go back and fil in your information, simply click on your ‘Profile’ tab, and then ‘Settings’. It is a simple mini-bio. In keeping with the short message context of Twitter, you don’t have to do too much work, so make sure you utilise what you have.

Name: Even if you are Tweeting under your business name, it is still a good idea to put your real name here. There are 3 good reasons for this.

  1. It lets people know that they are following a real person
  2. If people know you, and not your business, they can still find & follow you
  3. Google will search by your real name and your Twitter username. So you maximise your SEO by using both!

And leave a space, not underscore, between your first and last name. 

Your Usernameis what will be displayed next to your tweets. Your business name can go here if you are tweeting for business. This helps build your brand on Twitter as people begin to associate your name with your message. And using your logo as your picture iconis also a good brand building exercise, as more people associate with your icon than your username.

More Info URLis where you can list your web or blog address, or any other online presence. On your profile page it does have limited visibility, so drop the www if you can and just use http:// but check the link to ensure it redirects to the right page.

Finally, the most important section is the One Line Bio. Here you have 160 characters to describe what you do and what you are interested in. It can be a simple explanation of why you are on Twitter, or just a list of tags like this – Hotelier, foodie, chef, traveller, coffee fan, foreign movie watcher, lover of the good life!

The last thing on this page is to ensure that the Protect my updates box is left unchecked. You want people to be able to follow you easily, and to see what you are all about.

A word of caution

In the beginning, if you want to be taken seriously, let your followers grow organically. There is nothing that screams “potential spammer” more than someone with no tweets who is following 2000+ people.

Cheers!

Tracy Tormai

Related Posts

5 Minute Series: Facebook Public Profiles

5 Minutes Series: LinkedIn

5 Minute Series: Flickr

Twitter + Hospitality = Customers!

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

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