I know that I love to write about brands, social conversations, and their importance in trust-building and brands’ growth. I also know that probably you are very focused on market share, trade marketing, and strategies to win customers’ minds through… Yes! Advertising…

 I know advertising is important (and very sexy) and for sure it will be always important. That’s not what this discussion is about. Recently Brandwatch posted his study about the hospitality industry. I am going to use it to describe those 5 things you should be doing besides advertising.

I, like almost everybody, loves going on vacation, but hospitality companies should be even more concerned about this:

1. Understanding the volume: ¿How many measurable social conversations are generated regarding your category? ¿What’s your share in those conversations? I’ve talked about the gap between the number of customers you serve in a month vs. the number of people talking about your brand on the internet. If that difference is big enough it means that your brand has a relevance issue in the social conversation, and you must start acting on it. 

Social conversations in the hospitality industry have grown by almost 43% having close to 50 million conversations per month.

Going deeper into the brands that I usually use to search for hotels and airline tickets I found that adding them up, they have a peak month of 3 million conversations as you can see in the chart below. If the 50 million conversations are not led by these brands, then who is managing them?

2. Understanding the audience: Recently we did a job for a huge multinational Brand to understand their audience in Latin America. That Brand has been focusing its communication and conversation strategy around a well-described target. They have an excellent definition of all demographics, preferences, and behaviors.

This target was described as an entrepreneur/employee millennial with a clear orientation to fast, pragmatic, and light things. He/She multitasks, usually is engaged with several projects at the same time, and is considered a digital adventurous. He/She has deep knowledge of the tech that optimizes his/her job, lives in the smartphone, and wants to succeed no matter what.

This brand was very aligned with this audience while posting its communications. When we did the research by reviewing thousands of people engaged with the brand, we couldn’t believe what we found. Most of the engaged audience matched less than 20% with the target description. Why? The answer is that we marketers usually tend to think that people are how we want them to be, instead of how they really are.  

Understanding the audience is a key task in every industry. Here you can find a couple of charts about the hospitality industry so you conclude yourself how different are their audiences and how they should be acting on each one differently.

Understanding the topics: People don’t talk about brands. People talk about their own problems, about their daily life. Sometimes brands are a little bit vain by thinking that we are in the social conversation only because we are a recognized brand (It’s that way sometimes but not always).

When a brand appears in the social conversation, it always appears in relation to a clearly identifiable thematic taxonomy. Do you know what are the social conversation topics that put your brand or your category in people's mouths? At least in the travel industry we already have some clues of emotions that it is generating in people:

What would you do if you found out that the topics people relate your brand to have to do with anger, sadness, fear, and disgust, and that those 4 emotions make up 60% of your social conversation? This could be happening with your brand, and you may not even realize it.

4. Understanding the tools: There are many social listening tools of all colors and flavors. I have been working with Brandwatch for more than 5 years and it is the one I use as a baseline to measure social conversation in my clients. It is potent, and we do very well with it.

In this link, you can see a very good list of existing social listening tools.

5. Understanding the results: The results are usually framed along the previous lines of this article:

  • Volume: This basically tells you the relevance of your brand/industry in the social conversation. It would help if you always compared it against the number of customers you serve per month.
  • Audience: Number of unique authors - how many people are talking and how much reach/influence do they have?
  • Topics: What topics does your brand relate to? Which of those topics can you use to get into the social conversation and build trust?
  • Polarity: Is the conversation positive and building your brand, or is it negative and destroying your reputation and trust?

This is not a sales blog, but if you are interested in having a coffee with me to talk about social conversation and get my opinions on how to interpret your results here is a link to schedule a 30 mins coffee break. I'll take care of getting you a preview of your brand.