Before I go on let me say up front that this is not a Twitter or Facebook bashing post. I stand by my earlier blog posts, you should have and maintain both Twitter and Facebook accounts among others. This post is an examination of the best ways to market your hospitality business and to see and use available tools for what they are. As I've said before, It's a combination of social media and marketing venues that will help move your business forward. You should not disregard the potential value of any marketing tool, but rather use it in context.
Twitter and Facebook are great, but there are limits in what they can do for your business. Twitter allows you to communicate with the world, follow those who interests you and be followed. Its implied use was and is that simple. I don't think I'm incorrect or offending anyone by saying that is all it was ever meant to be. Anything else generated by its popularity is just icing on the cake. Its potential business uses may evolve and grow still, however, its current business value is limited, as is Facebook's. Facebook's business pages are designed for your existing fans. It's not inherently designed to lure new fans, but it does imply you have fans. My point is, neither Twitter nor Facebook were designed for the purpose of marketing businesses, but a side effect brand awareness opportunity evolved from each.
Like a ticker tape on steroids if you blink while using Twitter you miss the next great tweet, and well, who has time to backtrack let alone keep up with the unending flow. Of course, this means your tweets are speeding by equally as fast as those you follow. For businesses trying to rise with Twitter's popularity it is a game of chance. Your hope hinges on having something valuable or interesting to say most of the time and on someone(s) catching it, retweeting it and so on. But, like rushing streams of melting mountain top snow your tweets are caught up in the momentum and are easily missed by most. Missed tweets, great or not, are simply gone.
It is also highly likely Twitter's reflected results of your popularity (number of followers) do not accurately represent your true value, and yet it is an implied value. Is Justin Bieber actually better than Tom Hanks? Of course not. Can we at least say each is more popular within their genre or craft based on Twitter? Nope. We can only guess. So are those numbers a value for your business? What if you just started tweeting? Do readers know what stage of the game your in? Truth is, Twitter's use for business marketing is merely a bonus opportunity for some brand recognition. You must work within the existing framework. It is by no means an end all for marketing your business. Not even close. It is also a numbers game and that may or may not help you. It is possible that Twitter could be great for your business, Justin Bieber or Tom Hanks could decide to follow you, but don't count on it. Remember, it was not designed for business purposes.
Then there is Facebook. Facebook for business is a way for us to connect with our fans. But that is precisely my point. They have to already like us to Like Us. Its value lies in word of mouth effort made by your customers sharing their value of you. If Twitter has taken the role of the Hare, Facebook may be the Tortoise because word of mouth is a very valuable, but it is definitely slower. To illustrate this point I've found that it is not unusual in this industry to decide to create a business fan page only to find someone else has already done yours. If Facebook were great at getting your business noticed why didn't these businesses know they already had a fan page? The reason is because they would have to be friends with the page developer or (if public) have been searching Facebook for their business name. The later again, implying they(you) were already a fan. My fear is that Facebook is not noticeable enough to anyone who's not already a fan or a friend of a fan. While good for business it's not comprehensive enough to meet your marketing needs. Here again, the benefits are merely a side effect of its intended purpose. As I've said before, 'It's a combination of social media and marketing venues that will help move your business forward.' Think of these as bonus gifts.
The absolute biggest problem I see with Twitter and Facebook is not the fact that they weren't designed for business purposes, it's that you're mixed in with everything else and everyone else. What I've often said about the Internet as a whole applies here as well, "Finding you is like finding a needle in a haystack in a field full of haystacks." To illustrate my point, think about why hash tags were introduced on Twitter. Users simply wanted a way to filter interests. They're too big and too broad. I could go on. There are others, but I think these two giant examples will do.
So now what?
We thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if there was a hospitality industry specific website where you could really showcase your business to potential guests who were looking for what you have to offer, without other Internet clutter distracting them. A website where your posts, comments and pictures weren't a mere blip on the screen for a fraction of a second, but were up all the time for anyone to find when they want to find you. A website where you weren't constantly challenged by the next clever thing to say but could put thought into your every word and have it visible for as long as you'd like. An affordable website where you are on equal ground with your competition and the difference between you wasn't who had the bigger marketing budget, but rather what you each offer guests.' Wow, what a concept!
There is such a website - Travelvision.com. We know because we thought of it and then created it. Look, we're not suggesting our website is anywhere near the level of Twitter or Facebook popularity, YET! But, even they had to start somewhere. We're not a side affect bonus. You are not a blip on our screen, you're not part of a numbers game and you're not just a pretty picture. You are also not a "phone book" listing like so many other travel sites. We offer much more than your address and a couple pictures. What you can count on now and into the future is that we're designed to serve you, the hospitality industry, only. On Travelvision.com you'll get a comprehensive marketing representation of your business available to your potential guests when they are searching for you on their timetable. We're designed to meet the needs of our customers in the hospitality industry and your potential guests (Take the tour). We're the right solution for the hospitality industries marketing needs.
Why TravelVision.com? – Because everything else is just another opportunity to blend in.
Sign up now, while we're gearing up, and you'll get your first year for the unbelievable price of $29.95. Why? Because we truly want you for a lifetime!
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