This is the second part of our interview with Jamie Conroy, TripAdvisor’s Sr. Director of Social Product. Click here to view the first article.
In what ways do you think social media impacts the hospitality industry?
People come to TripAdvisor because they’re planning a trip. They want to see feedback from other people in the community and incorporate that into their booking decisions. In the end, social media helps properties that provide great service and exposes properties that don’t. It also helps businesses reach a larger audience than ever before.
Do you have any advice for properties that are setting up or enhancing a social media strategy?
The social conversation about your brand is happening right now – with or without you. The days of broadcasting messages to a passive audience are over. You have a terrific opportunity to take part in that conversation … to hear what’s being said about your property on social platforms, like TripAdvisor, Facebook, and others, and participate in the discussion.
If you’re just getting started, it’s better to focus on a just a couple of social platforms and have a very visible, active presence on them. Figure out your target audience and the social sites that appeal to that audience. Then work on developing a very active presence on those platforms – don’t spread yourself too thin. Remember, it’s an investment and you have to continually put effort into it and be actively engaged. Sustainability is key – the internet is littered with examples of businesses that started on various social platforms and then abandoned them.
How can businesses benefit from TripAdvisor’s relationship with Facebook?
We were one of the very early Facebook developers back in 2007. It was a bet that really paid off. We’ve been a launch partner for a number of Facebook initiatives since then, such as the Like button and the Open Graph. As a result, we’re always focused on what is coming up next, and how those new opportunities can help our users.
Today, Facebook has over 1 billion users and 1 in every 3 TripAdvisor reviews comes from a user logged in with Facebook. The Facebook relationship amplifies every review a business receives. It also helps makes the content more relevant to travelers, because friends’ reviews grab more attention than those of strangers.
What are your top three social media tips for businesses?
Sustain – Once you’ve started to engage your customers and potential customers on social media, keep it up. Don’t create a Facebook page or claim your TripAdvisor listing only to stop paying attention soon after. Your customers will be providing you with valuable direct feedback 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Listen to that feedback and respond to it in a constructive way. It will pay dividends.
Test and measure – Define what you’re after with your social media efforts—what metrics do you care about most? Is it one more Facebook Like or is it really introducing a new potential customer to your brand and engaging them in conversation? Once you know what your goals are, test. TripAdvisor, Facebook, and other social media sites provide you with valuable data and insights into user behavior—use that to your advantage and continuously try new approaches to engaging your potential customers. A smart mix of paid and organic channels will also pay dividends – social media is very effective at amplifying your message, but sometimes a paid campaign or ad channel can help to give that message a boost.
Be yourself – Let your personality or that of your property shine through in your messaging. Tell your story, figure out what your audience wants to hear, and engage them in a genuine conversation.
What’s on your wish list for destinations to visit soon?
Next up, I think, are the national parks in the western United States. It’s a beautiful part of the country that I’ve only scratched the surface of. There’s a lot still left to explore.