Future Implications

A lot has changed with social media since it originated and it will only continue to change and progress. Companies have to roll with the changes or they will be stuck forever behind the competition. Social media will only continue to increase as a vital part of a company’s makeup.

7912618_f260With the presence of ever changing technology and social media, human behavior has come to expect certain things. In order to stay ahead and competitive, companies must learn to adapt. Smart phones and tablets are everywhere. Instant gratification and instant access to everything is now the norm. We are always connected or wired.

Technology enables us to access any piece of information in seconds and because of this human behavior expects instant gratification. Companies will have to up their response time to consumers. Consumers have flocked to social media for their voice for complaints. A recent study by Simply Measured showed that only 30% of brands have a dedicated customer service handle on Twitter. The average response time currently is 5.1 hours. Only 10% of companies are answering within one hour (1). If this doesn’t change, companies will see more unhappy customers, a loss of sales, and public shaming on social media. Consumers have high expectations. 53% of consumers expect a response and that percentage jumps to 72% when they have a complaint (2). Response time is key. Companies will have to invest in 24/7 monitoring.

Ten years ago we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, YouTube, Pinterest, etc. Can you imagine what we will have in another ten years? New platforms will pop up and they will need to be evaluated. Social media isn’t going anywhere. It’s only going to increase and companies need to prepare for it.

The World Isn’t Flat…

A very large percentage of people are engaging in some sort of social media platform. Because of this, it has caused a revolution in marketing. You must go where the people are, correct? Right!

The travel industry is no exception. It was discovered by research provided by eMarketer 2013 that one-fifth of leisure travelers use some form of social media to inspire them for travel plans. The research showed four areas where social media helped travellers: hotels (23%), vacation activities (22%), attractions (21%), and restaurants (17%).  What was the number one social media platform used? Facebook (In Asia-Pacific, Social Media Inspires Travelers, 2013).

Using Twitter to Engage

Hotel chains are branching out on their traditional marketing. It’s no longer just a coupon in the interstate visitor’s center rack card. A famous hotel brand, the Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, knew that something different needed to be done with marketing and social media. One of their ideas was a virtual wine tasting paired with an in-person wine tasting. Can’t attend the event in person? No problem, follow it on Twitter. Tweetup attendees were given a list of the wines that would be tasted so they could comment during the one-hour session with the top Four Seasons sommeliers. The Four Season Hotel & Resorts took an event that in the past was always an in-person event and made it possible for people around the world to attend online.

Twitter Screenshot

@VisitBritain

Tourism industries for countries have found use on Twitter. Different Twitter accounts offer tips for visiting their country, post photos, and answer questions for travelers. They’ve teamed up with different travel magazines and websites promoting deals to their country while also engaging the consumers with games and trivia. @VisitBritain is a great example of a Twitter account that does all of these things. They actively answer questions from consumers, post photos that show all of the great things of their country, and tweet deals on plane tickets, discounted travel tours, and more.

Facebook Works for Travel Agents

World Travel Facebook

World Travel Facebook

It’s not only big chains that are using social media in the travel industry. Travel agents are now building trust through the use of social media platforms such as Facebook.  Facebook pages have become quite popular for travel agents. The pages allows consumers to ask travel agents questions and to view their current deals.

 

By posting photos of different places, travel agents can encourage consumers to add items to their bucket lists. Another item that has been received well is offering safety tips in different countries. All of these items: deals, tips, and FAQs builds a relationship with the consumer. So instead of booking online themselves, they will go to the travel agents with whom they trust.

The travel industry has proven to be resilient with the ever-evolving social media. Social media provides quick access to people’s opinions. They must stay vigilant (not to sound too corny) to reviewing posts on social media platforms about what people are saying about them. Good news spreads fast but bad reviews spread even faster.

References:

In Asia-Pacific, Social Media Inspires Travelers. (2013, January 15). – eMarketer. Retrieved May 2, 2014, from http://www.emarketer.com/Article/Asia-Pacific-Social-Media-Inspires-Travelers/1009605

Instagram and Twitter: How They Are Changing…Everything

Have you ever heard of the Key Master? The phrase is from the 1989 movie, Say Anything. The Key Master took everyone’s keys when they walked into a party. The keys were carried around in a sack and at the end of the night, the Key Master had to judge whether or not someone could drive home. I love social media but in some ways, I think that some people should have a Phone Master or even a Social Media Master in social settings. It’s really for their own good. Unless you have your accounts locked down like Fort Knox, once you hit share or send, the photos or the tweet are out there.

We are in the age of photo power. Instagram is an app that allows you to take photos and share. Instagram has given us the power to share photos with everyone around the world on what we are doing and where we are. Not only can you share via Instagram but you also have the option to share on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Foursquare. Instagram also have similar features like other social media accounts. You can “like” or comment on other peoples photos, search by a user or a hashtag. Instagram is fast and easy for photo sharing and compliments other social media networks.

Instagram search for the Pope

Instagram search for the Pope

Instagram has changed social events and every day life with the simple snap of a photo, a possible hashtag, and a share. As a society, we are much more at ease with sharing photos. Photos that were once kept in a photo album at home on the coffee table are no more. We now upload albums every day through Instagram.

I recently helped a pub-crawl and scavenger hunt company with some marketing. I recommended that they create a hashtag for every event and teams that posted photos on Instagram with the correct hashtag would receive extra points. There were over 150 people partaking in this one particular pub-crawl and scavenger hunt and all of them had Instagram on their phones. They were excited to receive extra points simply by using an app they already love.

Instagram search for #party

Instagram search for #party

If you’ve been to any live event like a game, concert, or any other social event, it’s inevitable that you saw people tweeting about what’s happening. You might have even been a @mention in the post. Twitter is massive. Twitter is a microblogging social media network that allows its users to send 140 character messages called tweets. They are easy to create and hashtags are fun to include with your tweet. You can even see what other people are talking about with what’s trending.

Trending Topics on Twitter

Trending Topics on Twitter

Twitter has changed how we look at live events. The Oscars are a perfect example with Ellen DeGeneres’ selfie that registered over 3.2 million retweets. Not only did she break Twitter but it was the largest retweet to ever happen. The Boston marathon is another perfect example of how social media is changing everything. Police were using Twitter to ask for help with the suspected terrorists. Loved ones were tweeting photos of where they were.

Twitter is like a giant water cooler that society is hanging around. It’s a digital soapbox where everyone can engage. Twitter has become what CNN used to be. The biggest news happens more often than not on Twitter. Where did we find news about the raid on Osama Bin Laden? Twitter. Because of how hugely popular and relevant Twitter has become, live news events have a Twitter feed at the bottom of the screen.

Instagram and Twitter together and separately have changed social everything. It’s undetermined whether it’s for the good or the bad. We are now a society that shares every moment 24/7/365. Photos through Instagram and small bursts of information through Twitter.

References:
(1989). Say Anything: CBS/Fox Video.