Category: Social Media

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A Dear Friend

We received word over the weekend that a very, very, dear friend, colleague, innkeeper, and wonderful person had passed away on Friday. She was a very private person, despite being an outgoing, warm and cheerful innkeeper. She and her husband made everyone feel at home in their lovely Select Registry B&B, where the rooms are comfortable, home-made cookies were always available, and breakfast was always delicious. Because she was so private, she asked that people not be told when, very unexpectedly, she was diagnosed with a rare and fast-acting cancer. But those who knew her best knew, of course, and the word did get around. There was a lot of speculation and gossip about her illness among innkeepers. The cancer spread very rapidly, so that only a few weeks after its discovery, our friend was being given only weeks, possibly only days, to live. What can anyone do? Of course we all felt so helpless and our hearts went out to our friend and her husband. Now she is gone. Their beautiful bed and breakfast was for sale before, and continues to be for sale. Our friend's husband has other family issues demanding his time, and needs to sell the inn and deal with them. We've lost a dear friend and colleague, the industry has lost a great member and B&B advocate. The world is a poorer place because of it. If anyone is aware of someone who is looking for a lovely, Select Registry and Diamond Collection property, please get in touch, and we'll put you in contact.

Booking Form App for Facebook

Just over 2 years ago we posted instructions for creating a booking form app for Facebook. That method used Facebook's FBML app as its base. Of course, as some readers have noticed, Facebook later discontinued the FBML app (existing apps based on it continue to work, but no new apps are permitted to use it), so it is time (past time, some might say) to update the steps using newer methods that Facebook allows (at least as of this writing!). The New, Improved, Booking App for Facebook In some respects, this is not too different from the old app - at least the steps should look somewhat familiar. The new Facebook timeline makes things a little different in the details, but basically, you create the basic app (we'll use an app that was created by someone else, to avoid re-inventing it), paste in your booking form code, change the icon and position as desired, and you're in business! Let's get started... As we begin, make sure you are logged in to Facebook as the administrator of the page on which you want the booking app to appear. Then we need to use an app that qualifies for the current Facebook rules. For us, that will mean an iframe-based app. One we like, and have found easy to use, is the Static IFrame Tab from Woobox. It has a variety of options, and allows you to install it multiple times on your page, if you need to create several apps. Once again, we'll use Webervations as an example, but any booking engine that allows you to insert a widget into your page (with some exceptions where the widget relies on JavaScript that Facebook may not allow) should work similarly. Here are the steps: Go to the Static Iframe Tab by clicking…

Social Media: Are You Getting the Most from It?

Transitioning from our recent posts on measuring social impact with Google Analytics and Using Google Analytics' Multi-Channel Funnels, we presented a webinar for the Professional Association of Innkeepers International (PAII) discussing ways to measure the results of using social media, and tools to help make the best use of your time. The presentation is below, with general commentary (not a transcript) below. Social Media: Is it Worth It? View more presentations from Scott Thomas. What is our objective? Without defining a goal for social media, we can't really tell if it is of any value. Goals might include a large number of followers, engagement with your followers, visits to your website, or bookings at your lodging property. Virtually every social network will tell you how many followers you have. A big number is impressive, and certainly some measure of word of mouth may help with brand exposure, but for a small business, followers alone are hardly a practical goal. Systems also can tell you whether your followers are valuable, but these systems do not measure whether they have monetary value to you. They measure whether your followers have a lot of followers, whether they seem to have influence, or whether they share your posts with their followers. They may also place value on whether your followers interact (engage) with you. Facebook's Insights show how well your followers engage with you. Engagement can have value, as with 'word of mouth' marketing, but in and of itself, it is of little value to a lodging property. That doesn't mean you don't want followers or engagement - only that followers or engagement, themselves, are not the measure of value we are looking for. Website visitors from social sites can be a bit tricky to measure - all the more so because links in…

Analytics Getting Social – Measuring Social Media Impact

A month ago Google's Analytics blog announced new social media reports in Google Analytics. Last week they discussed how to use them, and analytics experts have been posting similar articles ever since. If you're thinking this is the same "Social" report that measured "Engagement" and similar items (under the Audience tab in the new Google Analytics), it is not. This is an entirely new section, located under the Traffic Sources section, and has far more information (and more useful information) than the Social reports in the Audience section. Social Impact on Conversions Possibly the most valuable aspect of the new Social reports is the connection to conversions. In order to gain any useful information, you must have Goals set up (you can find the steps to set up Analytics Goals here). Once set up, and data is being gathered, you'll be able to see three values: Conversions (all conversions) Assisted Social Conversions (conversions where a social source can be said to be partially responsible for the conversion Last Interaction Social Conversions (where the last referral of the conversion came from a social source) This is fundamentally an effort to use analytics to give monetary value to social referrals. It is similar to the Multi-Channel Funnels analysis in the Conversions report (more on that in a later post), in attempting to go beyond the historic limitation of Google Analytics in giving the "last click" referral source all credit for the conversion. We understand that our guests usually visit more than one site (directory, search engine, review site, social site, etc.) before booking, so this is Google's attempt to reflect the contribution of multiple sites to a single conversion. What Do Social Visitors Do? The Social Sources report shows you traffic volume by date (in the usual graph at the top of…

The Minimalist’s Guide to Facebook’s New Timeline for Brands

Mainstream news and social media blogs have been filled with articles on Facebook's new Timeline for Brands (available now, but mandatory by the end of March, 2012). So why another article? This post is designed to provide a simple guide to the steps you need to take to get ready, and to do a good job of it, without getting bogged down with all the "nice to have" extras, or full feature lists, that others have reviewed. Let's just keep it simple and do a nice, clean job of it. OK? Along the way we'll provide occasional links to other posts with details you might like to try, but we won't re-invent them here. Getting Started You can preview, and experiment a bit with the new timeline by clicking Preview when the opportunity comes up (when you log in as your Brand). Changes you make there will be visible to administrators, but not to anyone else (yet). 1. Cover Photo The first thing to do is to add a "Cover Photo", but before you do, there are a couple of "gotchas" to be aware of. You can upload a photo directly (but don't do that until you read the rest of this paragraph). Most articles get excited about the dimensions of the cover photo (850x315 pixels), but frankly, Facebook will resize it for you, and you can move it around so it is cropped the way you want, so if it looks the way you want, that should take care of size. The more important thing is to NOT upload the photo right away. To get a better looking photo, upload it to one of your photo albums and be sure to mark that it is a high-res image, so you'll get a better quality image. Then when you go…