ResortXpo and Social Media Panel Lessons
Last week I attended the ResortXpo, the first virtual ski trade show, organized by Samantha Rufo from nxtConcepts (Twitter handle @srufo), North Pole design, Selectus Consulting, and of course Captain Morgan.
I was invited to present on the social media panel together with David LaPlante from Twelve Horses (Twitter handle @davidlaplante), Michelle Evans from Grouse Mountain and Eric Hoffman from Park City. You can read the blog posts that Eric Hoffman and Michelle Evans wrote about the ResortXpo in the links above. They are both excellent posts.
I thought the ResortXpo was a valuable industry show and a place where people in the industry can connect, network and learn from each other. I enjoyed the presentation from John Siewierski on Email, Social Media and SMS texting and Steve Pope’s presentation on Using Website Videos Successfully. These presentations are still live and you can see them online for a few more days at the ResortXpo website.
Our Social Media for ski resorts presentation was a great team effort and one worth noting. I learned a lot from working with David LaPlante, Eric Hoffman and Michelle Evans. They are all truly engaged in social media (you can just take a look at their blogs to see a proof) personally and for their companies. Kudos to you guys!
You can see our presentation on SlideShare below.
Here’s in summary 7 highlights from the presentation:
- Social Media is here to stay. There are more stats about how popular social media is. Companies can’t ignore it anymore. Now is the time to educate yourself and slowly start engaging and creating a community. Next year may be too late.
- Listen first. Before you do anything on social media, engage in some listening activities to help you understand better what is been said about your company. There are plenty of free tools available for you to start listening on the web, such as Google Alerts, Twitter Search, review stes, social mention and more.
- Seek to understand, then to be understood as Stephen Covey would say. Build your network first. Build trust with your followers, provide value and then you can tell them about what a great resort you are.
- Align your social objectives with your overall business objectives. Think of social media as one portion of your overall communication strategy, a portion of your PR campaign, a must have customer service department, one part of the mix in your marketing strategy tool bag. They all need to work together in conjunction and complement each other.
- Be prepared to allocate time and human resources. Social media takes time. Hard cash investment may not be too high but the time commitment and training is very time consuming. This is one more reason why you want to start slow. Reach for the lowest hanging fruit. Start with Facebook. Add Twitter. Build your blog. Look into Flickr and YouTube. Monitor how these social places are producing for you in terms of engagement, traffic, new customers.
- Measure the right metrics.You need to decide what’s important to you and your business objectives to measure. You can measure traffic to your website, replies and retweets on Twitter, inbound links, comments on your blogs, RSS subscribers, customer service through a Net Promoter Score. Don’t get too hung up on measuring social media. Sometimes it’s hard to put a dollar sign to a relationship you have. As David LaPlante says: “How do you measure the relationship that you have with your wife? You probably have some quantifiable data on her like her birthday, what flowers she likes, wedding anniversary, where you first met, but how do you put a dollar sign to the entire relationship? You simply can’t.”
- Be authentic and have fun. Social media is about people. It’s not about technology. Ski resorts are in a great position when it comes to social media as they sell fun, being outside, enjoying nature, spending quality time with your family. Ski resorts make people feel good. It’s not hard to get this message to people online. Know who your are as a brand and use social media to extend your attributes. Have fun with it. Use humor. Engage employees who are already active on social media and have a knack for it. Create a social media policy to give them some guidelines on how to represent your company. You will make mistakes. Everyone does. Learn from them. Apologize and move on. Social media is about transparency and relationships. Get creative. Stick to great content to create viral buzz. And be original.
What recommendations do you have for ski resorts on how to use social media?