Contributed by Ryen Lung, Product Marketing Specialist
An increasing number of sites offering “deals” for purchasing Facebook Fans have popped up online. Some of the offerings from these websites include 10,000 Facebook Fans at $299 in 2 weeks. However, there is little benefit to having a large number of fans on a social platform unless the fans interact and engage with you and their social circles.
Imagine paying $299 to have 10,000 people pass through the lobby of your hotel, but none of this traffic turn into hotel guests. By simply purchasing fans, the entire reason for social media is lost. Social media provides an online channel for word-of-mouth marketing and interaction.
Instead, hotels should increase their online marketing campaigns by allocating funds to attract quality fans. Fan quality is gauged by the fan’s potential to purchase or share and interact with your brand (and with other potential high quality fans). Many online campaigns don’t capture quality fans and mostly attract ones who “like” a page and rarely (if not never) interact or return to the page.
Just as it is important to focus on guests at your hotel who suggest and share their experiences with friends, it is also important to capture this type of person online – this is considered a quality fan. Focus first on capturing quality fans and you will increase your fan quantity. However, campaigns that primarily focus on fan numbers may not eventually gain quality fans.
A hotel’s marketing campaign goal should not be to increase fans but to capture quality fans. Facebook contests, giveaways, and deals should be implemented strategically. Hoteliers should ask “What type of people I am attracting with this campaign? Are these quality fans? Will they interact, share, or stay at my hotel in the future?” The purpose for asking these types of questions is to make sure that thte campaign budget is used effectively and towards potential hotel guests and not random, unqualified traffic.
In early 2011, Milestone worked with Microtel Inns & Suites in implementing a Facebook campaign. The purpose of this campaign is to increase quality fans and guest interaction on Facebook.
Milestone’s implementation of Microtel’s Fan of the Week Contest is an example of a method of generating quality fans. Microtel had initially implemented an online game as a campaign to increase fans; however, the fans gained through this method did not interact or share with Microtel as people were simply interested in playing the game. Microtel consulted Milestone to increase their fan quality in the form of a Fan of the Week Contest. Each week, Microtel announced their theme of the week and encouraged fans to post their themed images. Constant interaction is encouraged through the voting process, which determines the fan of the week.
After the contest, Microtel noticed a significant increase in fan posts, comments, and interaction on their Facebook wall. With this well defined strategic campaign, the brand was able to gain quality fans.
Microtel Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/Microtel