Tag: Social Media

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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…

Pinterest: Not Just YASN (Yet Another Social Network) for B&B’s

We've been hearing a lot of buzz about Pinterest lately, but surprisingly little of it comes from within the Innkeeping community. I say it is surprising, because Pinterest seems almost as if it was made for innkeepers - it is easy to use (we jumped in for our Freeport Maine B&B, and were happily pinning away in minutes), plentiful graphics grab the attention of the visitor, and it is so addictive that users stay connected for a long time. According to comScore, Pinterest ranks just behind Google+ in number of visitors, and third (behind Facebook and Tumblr) in the amount of time a visitor spends on the site. This is very impressive for a site that is not yet open to the public (you can join using a Facebook login, or you can request an invitation on the Pinterest home page). So what is Pinterest? Pinterest describes itself as a virtual pinboard, but we think it is being far too modest. From where we sit, Pinterest is a fantastic tool for sharing interests, or ideas, with others. It seems to be a combination of bookmarking sites (like StumbleUpon, Digg, or Reddit) with photo sharing sites (like Flickr, Panoramio, or Photobucket), with the added ability to comment, share, etc., that you find on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Why do people share? The reasons for sharing seem as varied as the backgrounds of the people sharing. Some are sharing their own memories or activities, much like other sites. But since Pinterest allows (even encourages) sharing of sites you visit (they retain info attributing the original source), you can also share your interests, dreams, and ideas. Why would an Innkeeper use Pinterest? There are several reasons to use Pinterest. First, as Heather Allard notes, "If you had the opportunity to make your business…

Getting the ‘Word of Mouth’ Recommendation

Closing the circle in this series on the process guests use to book lodging properties is what WIHP Hotel Marketing calls the Second Moment of Truth - the arrival of the guest at your property. We have already discussed the four-step booking decision process, how the guest becomes aware of your property (the Discovery or Stimulus step), how guests make the decision to visit your website (the Zero Moment of Truth), and the process of deciding to book with your property (the First Moment of Truth). In this article we consider the guest at your property (and beyond). [caption id="attachment_408" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Ready to share?"][/caption]Just as the process begins with the discovery of a property to be considered, by using "word of mouth" -- review sites, social media, or recommendations from "real" friends and family, the guest will become the recommender. Their reaction at your property (the Second Moment of Truth) will determine whether they recommend your property positively or negatively (or at all). How do you get word of mouth recommendations that will bring more guests? If review sites and social sharing are the sources of discovery, then we definitely want our guests to have a positive experience, and to share that experience. How do we go about doing that? 1. The Positive Experience People usually have a good experience when it meets or exceeds their expectations. Conversely, when the experience falls short of their expectations, it isn't usually a good experience. How are expectations set for prospective guests? Proceeding through the booking process we've been discussing, some expectation is created by the initial recommendations or reviews. These are refined further by the visit to your website and booking process. The Second Moment of Truth is when the guest arrives at your property and learns whether or not those…

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