Everything is a buzz, literally, at ARDA. Have you looked at your Twitter posts lately? If so, you know what I mean!
ARDA's opening session keynote speaker was Andy Sernovitz, the Word of Mouth Marketing Guy. We learned word of mouth marketing is all about giving people a reason to talk about you and making it easier for them to share their thoughts. By utilizing the social media tools that are out there this concept will spread your name at a pace that just a few years ago was not possible.
I learned a few things to take into consideration when making the leap into Social Media. Just to name a few, identify the "talkers", give them something to say, provide them with the tools to help share the information, join the conversation and track the results! You will see how quickly your name is spread throughout the web and into everyday conversations.
Even during the Principles of Timeshare part 1 and 2 the speakers touched on how critical it is to be monitoring and participating in social media and utilizing electronic sources. How are you communicating with your owners? Still sending newsletters? Imagine having the ability to provide realtime news, updates and reasons to come back to you! How about those board meetings? No need to travel on a plane, pay for your bags, miss the meeting because of air traffic delays or spend $1000 to be on that flight! Host the meeting on a web based video conferencing tool like GoToMeetings! Think of the money and time you will save. Maybe, by reducing operational costs in some areas you can reduce the fees to your customer. That would make them happy, don't you think?
I was honored to represent SPI Timeshare Software on a panel for ARDA's session Website Concept and Marketing Revisited. The information all the attendees gained from the panel was so valuable. After this presentation I think we are all going back to our web developers and talking with them about our links, key words, content, and site structure. Once these items are re-evaluated and set up properly we will have organically given ourselves top billing on Google searches without having to pay per click. This is very important because first it saves you money and secondly, 85 percent of people searching a topic view the top 3 items listed on google. You need to be up there!
Once you have a strong web site and presence, launch Social Media! You will drive traffic to your site so be ready to capture the viewer. Provide a form to complete for additional information, for example. Engage the customer. Give them a reason to talk about you, as mentioned earlier. A great way to do this for our industry is a YouTube Video. You know your resort is beautiful, the visitors love it and your staff is great. Let the world see it! Be sure to keep those social media buttons everywhere you are talking. Your social media sites need to link to each other and most importantly to your site. Host a blog. Share the great news about the latest attraction in your town. Anything that is going to be important for your customers to know.
Are you on Facebook and Twitter? Imagine if you "tweeted" to the universe a "free mini vac" to the first 10 people to become your fan on Facebook (tiny url link attached). You would gain MANY new fans and it will cost you 10 mini vacs. Don't stop though. Always think of how you can create "buzz" with your fans. Make them want to talk about you and bring more friends to your pages.
Here is one of the most important things about social media...people are talking. You want them talking about you! They can be your best sales person. They can also be your worst. So monitor what is being said. The easiest way, Google yourself. If you come across negativity, engage. Write to the unhappy person with something along the lines of "Hi. I see you have a concern about property XYZ. I work there and want to know what we can do to help make things right. "WOW!" will most likely be the authors reaction. You just proved you care. The more posts you can create about the solution the more likely readers will see you as a professional, trustful business.
Thank you to all the presenters at ARDA so far. I know SPI Timeshare Software has gained a wealth of information!
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