Social media rising as a marketing tool
March 20, 2009
LAKE TAHOE ” Social media first infiltrated personal lives, and now South Shore businesses are using it as a resource.
“It’s a fast form of communication, and it lets people comment on us,” said Bryan Davis, marketing manager for Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. “I don’t know where it’s going, but you need to be a part of it, or at least pay attention to it.”
Business models are changing, and the old ways of reaching customers aren’t the only methods anymore, Davis said.
It’s becoming more and more important for business owners to pay attention because of sites such as TripAdvisor.com, Yelp.com and travel.yahoo.com, said Jenn Gleckman, of Strategic Marketing Group and an online marketing instructor at Lake Tahoe Community College.
These sites can be used for informal market research, Gleckman said. Businesses can receive comments from customers and potential clients and research their competitors’ performance.
“It’s really important to know what other people are saying about you,” Gleckman said.
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Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course has a Web site, but also has accounts with Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, Davis said. He’s been using the sites for eight or nine months in preparation for the golf season. He posts golf tips on YouTube, along with wedding videos and other footage.
Stacy Dingman, Lakeside Inn and Casino quality assurance manager, said she began using Facebook and Twitter personally, and was usually posting information about her job, so she connected the two.
By using Twitter, Dingman can find people who are coming to the South Shore, and then recommend a place to stay, visit or eat. For example, if people are looking for a place to watch the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, she can quickly post on Twitter that Lakeside is a good place to grab a beer and catch a game.
Dingman has found people she’s contacted through Twitter at Lakeside, who have liked the personal response and have come to check the place out.
Social media provides different channels for businesses to access potential customers, and it’s an interactive environment because you have conversations with people versus showing them a sales pitch, Davis said.
Social media can be daunting if people aren’t familiar with technology, and Gleckman said businesses should research it before diving in.
When using social media, business owners need to provide content from those who are familiar with the business, Gleckman said. People posting need to know the brand, and make sure they’re using sites that best fit them, she said.
For example, many musicians, clubs and bars use MySpace, and other businesses and organizations use Facebook, Gleckman said.
And it’s even better when people post things referring to your business, Dingman said. When Lakeside hosted Ullr’s Jib Jam, she said attendees posted videos of the rail jam competition on YouTube. That’s the type of interaction businesses receive through social media.
Some businesses are taking the interaction one step further. Granlibakken Resort is holding a Granlibakken Viking Contest until April 17, and set up a YouTube account to advertise it. To participate, people need to upload a 60- to 90-second video entry explaining why they should be a Granlibakken Viking, or they can submit a photo.
Even though social media is accessible and economically effective, it is time-consuming, Davis said. People need to manage it without eating up an entire day, he added.