by Paula on January 25, 2011

There is no doubt that businesses all over are talking about Social Media and there is a growing acceptance that in order to compete in today’s marketplace, your business needs to have some kind of Social Media presence. My personal take is that there is no value signing up to every network going with no sense of purpose or direction, and it’s important that you know what you are trying to achieve and who you are wanting to reach out to, before you start anything….but that’s not what my post is about today.

I want to turn my attention to a place that’s already doing it, and give you an insight into what they’re doing as a way of demonstrating how important it is that your message fits your company brand. I am not intending to name the business I’m talking about but it is a hotel, conference centre and wedding venue where I recently attended a marketing event.

The hotel is in a beautiful rural location and the service, staff and presentation of the place was immaculate. It is clear that customer service and attention to detail is important. I was very impressed with the place and when at home, leafed through the glossy brochure we were all given and it’s clear they pitch themselves as an upmarket, and high-level venue. No problems there!

With my Social Media hat on I had a look at their website, interested to see whether they had a Facebook, presence, a blog, a Twitter account, and yes, there were all the links demonstrating they had all these things. All good so far…..then it went downhill.

Firstly I clicked on their blog link. Their last blog is dated 18th October. It contains 3 sentences, one of which tells us that a gentleman was killed crossing a road. While the death is not related to the hotel, it left me with a feeling of sadness and shock, rather than a positive and up to date impression of what the hotel is up to. Add to this the fact that this short blog contained a number of spelling mistakes and my positive impressions of the hotel had taken a sharp dive.

So I clicked on Twitter. A continual list of advertising for events that they are putting on which is not un-typical although bizarrely there are huge amounts of adverts for Christmas and New Years Eve events. My first thought is that they are a bit behind the times, until I realised they are for next year! Phew – I am one for planning in advance but wow, are people really booking those already?!

Lastly Facebook…..Not bad at all! It is a list of events and things going on in the hotel but the tone is chatty and welcoming and there is engagement with clients which is great!

My plan was not to criticise as the hotel are way ahead of some of their peers by getting in there and giving it a go, more to say, remember this is your brand. Even if moving into Social Media is new for you, it may not be for your audience. It is normal now that potential clients will look you up on their social networks and make decisons based on what they find here. So don’t ‘play’ with Social Media or see it as a trivial aside, remember it is akin to an Open Day for your business, giving people a chance to take a look around, ask you questions and build an opinion on you and what you do. This is a big part of your brand – make sure you know what it’s saying about you and if there’s any danger that the message been given out by your last blog, post or tweet is detrimental to the brand you have carefully honed, then it’s time to do something about it, and fast!

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