This year at SMX Advanced in Seattle, Milestone Internet had the chance to interview Tony Adam, the SEO Manager of Yahoo. We asked him about recommendations for small businesses who want to get involved in social media, and which channels he recommends for companies who are starting out in the social media campaigns. We also asked him for strategies on time management and tools to use to manage your social media campaigns, especially when bandwidth is an issue. And overall, we heard his recommendations for how to measure the value or the ROI of participating in social media marketing.
Watch the video or listing to the audio to hear his responses to the following questions:
- Question: Do you feel social media should be included in the overall internet marketing efforts for small businesses such as hotels? What impact do you feel social media has on the overall presence of a business online?Answer: In general, think about how much time you need to dedicate to it. If it’s not something you can dedicate enough time to then I would look into outsourcing or just taking a look at what you could in that time. Social Media is definitely a big part of the industry now and you have to integrate it in some way shape or form.
- Question: If a hotel wanted to get into social media, but could only focus on one channel to begin with – what one channel would you recommend they maximize efforts on (i.e. Facebook vs. Twitter vs. Youtube)?Answer: Before getting to that point, you should monitor and figure out where people are talking about your numbers. Lets say for hotels, Dig probably isn’t the best place to enter, but Twitter would be if there’s a lot of people talking about it or looking for deals or what not. It’s always where people are and you want to go where your community is.
- Question: Do you have any time-management suggestions or strategies for companies who are limited in bandwidth but want to engage as much as possible in social media? Are there any tools out there that you would recommend for social media management, such as TweetDeck?Answer: Tweet Deck has an application to manage your twitter stream, that’s a great one. On top of that, there are applications like tweet peep, which monitors keywords or actual twitter handle. You could use applications like tweet peep to follow that and set it to every hour or every day, depending on how many people have applied to you or used that name in their twitter stream.
- Question:The challenge hoteliers see with social media is how to make money? In our experimentation, we have seen that social media does result in more website leads and better organic placement, which results in higher revenue, but you cannot directly associate revenue with it like with paid search. Any comments or thoughts on this?Answer: That’s the same thing with me. I have a problem with SEO and there’s no real science to it. With paid search and PPC, we drop this much money in and we’ve definitely gotten this much conversion. But with SEO and social media, it’s a little more of a gray area because we’ve developed this overall campaign, we’re ranking for something or we’ve developed a social media strategy, we’re reaching a certain audience, but there isn’t an exact number output. If you estimate that you have a x number of conversions based on a certain user base, you could probably divide that up and say, “alright, out of 5000 users, we’ve made $25,000 so its $5/user or whatever it is.” It might be a little iffy to validate, but that’s the best way of figuring it out.
- Question:How do you measure returns (either impact or monetary) from social media?Answer: With anything that you do on Dig, it can be anywhere from 30.000 visits to 250,000 visits a day which is great a publisher. For a hotel, you might want to do something like twitter where you see more interaction with the community, more followers, more feedback and a better understanding of what they’re looking for. So that might be some great insights they can leverage for their business.
In summary, Tony provided some significant insight for small businesses, such as hotels, to take advantage of social media channels. At SMX, Milestone also attended the session, “Proving the Value of Social Media”, and the core recommendation was that social media helps you generate significant discussions about your brand, can increase brand visibility and awareness, drive qualified traffic to your website, help you improve customer service, allow you to test new ideas and get feedback, and increase your customer retention rate.