Facebook claims to have more than 700,000 local business pages already created (http://www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics). This number is growing significantly each day, however Australian hotels and resorts seem to be slow on the up take. With more than 350 million active users and 50% of those active users logging onto Facebook each day, Facebook is the 4th most trafficked website in the world. Is it time to start planning your social media strategy?
Over the past few months eTourism Holidays has invested time in creating a number of our own Facebook pages. Some of these pages have 30,000 plus registered fans, are listed in the top ten Google search results and have generated 200 plus interactions to questions and comments we have posted.
Why are we doing this?
· Facebook is the number one social search engine. This means, users are using Facebook to search for what their friends have to say i.e. what they are doing, where they've stayed, products they purchased etc. Isn't it more appropriate to know what your friend thought of a product or service, compared to some strangers testimonial on the sellers website?
· Facebook recently signed a deal with Google and Bing permitting these search engines to index content posted within Facebook. This means that the content we publish within Facebook will be indexed by these search engines.
· With the race between the Search Engines to display results in real time (as opposed to the sometimes stale results we find in the engines now) it will be more important than ever before to produce content as frequently as possible. To see an example of how Google could show results in real time visit this Google trend search I did on “facebook" http://www.google.com/search?esrch=&tbs=rltm:1&tbo=u&hl=en&q=facebook You will notice Google is showing results from multiple sources such as Twitter and news providers in real time as they index them.
· The average user spends more than 55 minutes per day on Facebook. If our prospects are spending an hour (approx) every day on a website where I can get my message in front of them practically for free, isn't it worth it? I think so...
· There is a wealth of information to learn and access when a user becomes a fan of your page, such as location, age group and more. This information is freely available to page owners and can be used for targeted marketing campaigns.
· There are more reasons that we will share as time goes on.
Finally, the objective of our social media strategy is to build communities. To build communities we need to first build relationships - which is exactly what we are doing now.
Here are some examples:
Palazzo Versace is an example of a Facebook “Group” page where users can become a member of this group.
Hilton Hotels is a good example of a Facebook “Fan” page where users become fans of the page, and a lot of interaction occurs on the page:
A client of ours, Central Apartments and Hotels also has a Facebook “Fan” page to share information with their fans:
Note: Group pages and Fan pages work in slightly different ways. We will discuss the pros and cons and which page type will suit your business, in future posts.