Hospitality industry educated on how best to use social media
© Kevin Higgins/The Beacon
SOCIAL TALK – Lyle Wetsch, an associate professor of marketing at the Faculty of Business at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), gave a presentation on social media at Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual conference and trade show in Gander, Feb. 28.
It’s here, it’s now, and it’s definitely the way of the future in promoting the province’s hospitality and tourism industries, according to one social media expert.
Lyle Wetsch, an associate professor of marketing at the Faculty of Business at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN), provided, in great detail, the benefits, trends and cautions of using social media to some of the province’s hospitality and tourism leaders at Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador’s annual conference and trade show in Gander, Feb. 28.
“Too many people sometimes focus on the media part and don’t focus enough on the social part…the basis of social media is communicating effectively,” Mr. Wetsch told those attending his social media session.
“We’ve really gone back to the way we were before. If you think back when everyone was in a small town and everyone knew everyone, you had town hall meetings to discuss things…at some point we went to media to get a broader reach, but we lost the intimacy we had with individual communication.
“Social media is starting to bring us back a little bit. You can tweet, you can blog, pin, YouTube…you can actually engage on a greater scale than what we ever had before.”
Mr. Wetsch told those in attendance the latest statistics he compiled prior to the session showed Facebook has 1.2 billion (active monthly) users, worldwide, with 19.4 million in Canada, 300,000 in Newfoundland and Labrador, and within 50 miles of St. John’s there’s 156,000, Gander 20,000, and Corner Brook 36,000. He went on to say, Twitter has nearly 500 million registered users, and more than 288 million active users, while Google Plus has 350 million active users, making it the second largest in the world.
However, he did have one bit of advice for those who believe their business needs to be involved in social media based purely on the statistics.
“The worst reason to migrate to social media is because it’s cool,” said Mr. Wetsch. “Migrate to social media because it will do the job more effectively and efficiently than any other tool in your arsenal…it’s about doing what works.
“Find the one, two or three social media avenues that’s going to work for you, but ones that you have to put little work into.”
He gave his listeners of an example of what he meant.
“I talked to one individual that was trying really hard to get to use LinkedIn when they were doing massive recruiting across Canada, and he had a $50,000 print media campaign…he was given $500 for LinkedIn. He got more qualified applicants for his $500 LinkedIn campaign than for the $50,000 print campaign,” said Mr. Wetsch.
“That’s when social media makes sense. When you can get the same response for a lower cost or you can get a greater response for the same or lower cost, that’s when social media makes sense.
“You have only so much time and money you can give to your business each week, so make sure that time and money is giving you the best bang for your buck.”
He also touched on businesses having a social media strategy, which he said is termed incorrectly because strategy is only one of four elements businesses should implement in a social media plan.
“You don’t write a strategy around social media because it is changing every week…strategy is one layer,” he said.
In his concept, there are four layers, including knowing your environment; having a strategic plan, with the key being zero mention of change. There has to be goals and objectives, which should be only reviewed on an annual basis; developing your tactical plan in what social media can do for you; and test your plan before committing to it totally.
One of his final tidbits of information for those attending dealt with personality.
“You can’t teach personality, and remember social media is about the social and communication, and a personality comes out in social media,” he said