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Social Media Suicide: Don’t Cause the Death of Your Brand

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June 01, 2014
Emily Culclasure

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past three years, you’ve probably discovered that social media has an extremely powerful influence on your hotel brand development.  You’ve also probably heard the rules of social media etiquette over and over again, but what about the social media faux pas? Let’s take a look at what you shouldn’t be doing on social media so that your hotel can continue to thrive online.

1. Don’t Ignore or Delete Complaints
What do people do when they are ignored? They find another way to make their voice heard. When hotel guests complain, let them complain, and then try to move the conversation to a more private platform (phone or email). Feedback isn’t always pleasant, but it’s a necessary evil for brand management.

The goal is to address the problem, nip it in the bud, and show other guests that you’re committed to offering excellent customer service. At the very least, you’ll keep the angry client from continuing to write hateful things!
2. Don’t Self-promote. Ever.
Social media is just that – social media. It was designed for socializing, not for shameless self-promotion. With that being said, try to interact with your hotel guests without sounding sales-y. Talk to them as if you’re talking to an old friend. There are plenty of opportunities to promote your hotel, but promoting on someone else’s page isn’t one of them. It’s tacky, it’s impersonal and it’s a huge social media no-no.

3. Don’t Lose Track of All the Places Where Guests Can Complain
Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, TripAdvisor, Hotel Finder, Yelp, BBB, Twitter...It’s wonderful that there’s an array of online networks that are suitable for hotel marketing, but don’t forget to keep track of all of them. It sounds silly, but you’d be shocked at how many hoteliers aren’t in control of their online accounts. If it helps, create a document containing all of your network login information and frequently monitor your accounts. Even one missed complaint can do some serious damage.

4. Don’t Bombard Your Followers
Don’t be that kid who’s overly excited in the ball pit and causes all the other kids to leave. Posting once, maybe twice per day is plenty. Don’t post more than that or you’ll quickly find yourself on the blocked list and your fan engagement will plummet. There’s a fine line between being engaging and being pushy, so make sure that you don’t cross it.

5. Don’t Ignore the Ruler of Social Media
It’s time to bend a knee and hail to the king of social media, aka Google+.  If you haven’t hopped on the Google+ train yet, you should definitely get on board because it’s working wonders for hotels. During this time last year, Google Hotel Finder reigned over search results and further established the network as a force to be reckoned with.

Get involved in the Google+ community. Google+ Hangouts is a unique and fun tool for hosting interactive discussions, meetings and demonstrations with your hotel guests. Just remember, don’t self-promote on other Google+ pages (refer back to rule No. 2).

Looking back, 2012 changed the SEO ballgame with the addition of its new sidekick, social media; 2013 proved that social media is now equal on the playing field; and in 2014, you can expect social media to trump its mentor and slide into first place on the information and trust highway. Now that you know how NOT to market your hotel on social networks, you can ride on the coattails of social media as it takes over the online universe this year.

Emily Culclasure is a digital media analyst for hotelmarketingWorks and works with major hotel brands such as IHG, staySky & Classic Hotels. Reach out to her on Twitter @eculclasure.
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