Friday, May 29, 2009

Innkeeping and Social Media...are you keeping up?

There are numerous Social Media sites out there today...some are industry specific, some for personal use. So many today are wonderful business marketing tools, regardless of the nature of your business. If you have a product or a service to offer, you should have some presence on a social media site. Turn on the TV at any given time and news media will be talking about Twitter or Facebook. Giving someone your Twitter account name is almost as common as your email or website.

The focus used to be on one's website. Then it was a link to a blog page on that website. And now, external blogs, forums and Social Media networking. So how do innkeepers have the time to keep up with this in addition to their busy job as an innkeeper? There's no simple answer. It's something you have to commit to regularly. It's like going to the gym. You know you don't always have the time but it's the best thing for you. Once you get going, you see the benefits and won't want to give it up. It should just become part of your routine. Maybe in the morning while you're having your first cup of coffee is when you sit down at the computer and start Tweeting. I will often see some of my innkeeper friends on Twitter in the morning, at breakfast time, yet they've found time to tweet (I know Karen at Timbercliffe Cottage in Camden is pretty good about this, her laptop is in her kitchen...pretty smart). But today's social media applications come in mobile form as well. Download mobile Facebook for your Blackberry or iphone. Download Tweetie for your iphone - these allow you to post your tweets anywere you are, very simple and fast.

So what do you tweet about? From a marketing standpoint, make your tweets ENTICING. You want people to read your tweets. Post a beautiful photo of your inn, a photo of breakfast or a blazing fire in the parlor on Twitpic (which posts them to Twitter automatically). You want to entice people to visit your website. Maybe talk about breakfast that morning...or a new recipe for your afternoon baked goods...or a new food vendor you came across...talk about the bed and breakfast market in your area...or travel statistics...or any positive travel industry news which ultimately affects your business. Some of your tweets will be geared toward guests, others toward fellow innkeepers. All should show your personality and individual style. After all, that's what innkeeping is all about.
Very important: keep one thing in mind, when you tweet, it's out there for all to see, forever. Don't post negative comments about other innkeepers, vendors, guests or your industry in general; it's not a forum to air complaints. It should be a positive networking and marketing platform to help you persevere and succeed.

Global success helps us all...

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