RDO7: Win business through conversations, not publications
John Beckley and Steve Clarke turned the spotlight on social media marketing – now a key element of all sales and marketing efforts – during an entertaining joint presentation at the RDO7 timeshare conference.
Marketing and social media consultant Beckley, and Clarke, from Eureka Selling, led a breakout session for RDO7 delegates to share the importance of ‘Return on Engagement’ (ROE) and the key benefits to creating your own digital community.
They started by outlining a few basic truths and principles. In the past, more clients equalled more sales. The focus was solely on sales and profits, and everything else would follow. Now however, social media marketing is a vital element to the marketing strategy for the majority of businesses.
“Happy customers engage with new customers to sell your product. You need to engage with you customers, have a bit of fun with it and you’ll start to see the return,” said Clarke.
“As Gareth Dunlop said in his presentation earlier in the conference, the customer is protected by a digital wall garden. Your own customers can help you to access the digital wall gardens of new customers through referrals and recommendations.”
A 24/7 world
For a social media marketing strategy to be successful, a team of staff needs to be trained on your social channels. We need to stop thinking ‘9 till 5’ as the social world is 24/7 – people are online and booking holidays 24/7. Many websites now have a ‘live chat’ option available, offering another method of communication with customers.
The training isn’t about technology – it’s all about the content. We can’t rely on people reacting to engaging with an advert in a magazine anymore. Penny Power’s message ‘know me, like me, follow me’, forms the basis of the social world because as businesses we need to share, interest and engage.
Engaging and enjoyable
ROI can’t be compared with ROE – it just doesn’t work. Instead we have to have a strategy to inspire a vested interest so that our customers share our messaging with their friends and their family. Beckley, who has been working closely with RCI affiliate Pearly Grey Ocean Club, shared one of the resort’s successful social campaigns – a short, amusing YouTube video that featured one of the guests acting as ‘hotel security’ and tackling the problem with guests leaving towels on sunbeds. The video was humorous, light-hearted and most importantly, featured guests staying at the resort. It received 20,000 shares with the hilarity resonating with many travellers.
“We need to stop being too corporate and stuffy”, Beckley added. “It’s time to take a more fun approach.”
What can we do?
The video wasn’t costly to make, but the value from shares and engagement increased Pearly Grey’s brand reputation by delivering something unexpected and perhaps more interesting than a glossy corporate brochure.
Beckley and Clarke encouraged delegates to look to their existing staff and teams to produce ideas and become involved in social media to entertain and inform customers. Simple ideas for improving social presence could be a blog informing guests of the best local restaurants or sharing fun videos on resort activities on Facebook and YouTube. Smartphones are more than capable of recording a high quality video, reducing time and cost and enabling many members of staff to get involved.
Other tools that are free and easy to use to create a social community are:
- Facebook Live – share what’s happening at your resort or hotel…right here, right now
- Periscope – a live streaming video mobile app
- Hootsuite – a social media management dashboard that helps monitor your social activity with ease
Time is precious
Social campaigns rarely go viral instantly. It takes time to build up a social community, but it’s time well spent. By setting targets for the number of followers and views, we can watch the community grow organically and gather momentum over time.
As the session came to a close, delegates also shared their experiences with the social world. Stuart Lamont, executive chairman at Club Leisure Group spoke of the success it has using targeted Facebook posts and using video footage to showcase the resort.