As social media gains a larger and more influential foothold in the travel and lodging industry, it is important for businesses to keep an eye on what their competitors are doing in the social arena. By utilizing Facebook promotions, social check-in giveaways and a strong presence on Twitter, businesses have a relatively early opportunity to tap into a social market that competitors may be neglecting. Are your competitors investing in social media?
We have put together this checklist of ways to see how engaged your competitors are in social media:
- How many fans do your competitors have?
- How quickly do your competitors respond to user posts on their walls? Are they engaged with their fans or simply going through the motions. Are they developing brand loyalty?
- Do your competitors have customized Facebook tabs offering unique information, additional savings, contests, and interactive/engaging information? In a sense, are they incentivizing the public to become fans of their pages?
- Compare your Klout score with competitors by plugging in the following URL http://klout.com/TWITTERNAME. The overall Klout score takes into account a number of variables such as click through rates of shared links, how often tweets are re-tweeted, how influential your followers are, etc.
- Perform a Twitter search (search.twitter.com) using your competitor’s Twitter name. See how often people in the social environment are promoting the brand and driving traffic to the Twitter page. Does your competitor have more mentions than you?
- Are your competitors running Twitter-only promotions through time-sensitive sales or TwtQpons, allowing their Twitter followers to gain access to select promotions?
- Are your competitors using certain hashtags frequently in posts, inserting themselves as influencers in topics? If so, do some research on these hashtags and see if there is an opportunity to enter the conversations.
Social Check-in Sites:
- Foursquare: Have your competitors created unique deals/discounts for users who check in to the business? Are they increasing their chance of repeat visitors?
- Facebook Places: Has your competitor created a Facebook check-in deal, encouraging fans to share the brand name in their news feeds? You can see if a check-in deal has been created by searching for a deals tab on a competitor’s Facebook page.
- Do your competitors have a content rich blog, providing their audience with valuable and relevant local information? Are they establishing themselves as travel gurus in the community?
- How often are they posting to the blog and are users actively socially sharing the blog with their network of friends?
- Are readers leaving comments on blog posts, and is your competitor following up with timely responses?
As you run through our checklist, you should get a strong understanding of your competitor’s social presence, whether they are investing time and money into the field, what seems to work well in your market, and areas where your own brand can excel. Seeing what types of interactions your competitors are building can help you set goals for yourself to become a leader (or maintain that position) in your social space.
Contributed by: Keith DeVey, Social Media Manager, Milestone Internet Marketing