What Does Social Media Mean for You? An Interview with Matthew Maynard, Internet Marketing Manager, Caesars Entertainment
Internet users spend an average of 16% of their time online using social media. The average facebook user spends 405 minutes per month using the platform. Major brands, news outlets, and firms understand that people “hang out” on social media, and reaching an engaged audience means employing a smart social media strategy. In fact, marketers plan to increase social media spending by an average of 46% in 2012 alone. But what does a ‘smart strategy’ look like?
Matthew Maynard, Internet Marketing Manager for Caesars Entertainment, provides insight into how Caesars employs social media to engage with customers and offers some advice for organizations just launching a social media campaign.
How do you use social media?
We use social media to interact with customers and potential customers. We primarily use social media to build awareness for events that occur at our properties around the country
What are your professional/organizational goals for using social media?
Interaction with customers. Engagement. Disseminate information about new campaigns / offerings / products.
What platforms do you use most? Why those platforms?
Most of our social strategy is focused on facebook and twitter. These platforms allow the most customization for us and the most interaction with customers. We also partner with Social Rewards to provide a bonus for foursquare check-in activity. This bonus is tied to the guest’s Total Rewards account (our in-house loyalty program).
How do you effectively build user engagement?
We use social to reach out to guests at all stages in their visit – before, during, and after. We also use one social platform to push guests to others. For example, if someone sends a tweet to one property about a future visit we tell them to send a text to our short code for discounts and also to visit foursquare when they are in town.
How long does it take to generate user engagement?
Starting from scratch is tough. It takes a long time to build a fan base, engage with them, gain their trust and interaction, and appear genuine while doing so. We recently split a facebook page for multiple properties so each now has its own. We are just starting to get followers back to the other pages, and it’s been a slow process. Nothing else has changed about the properties or even the pages, really – they just don’t follow along unless they want to or are directed to.
If you maintain a Facebook page or other platform that allows user interaction, how do you approach and manage user comments?
We have customer service info and FAQ info on all facebook pages. We generally try to respond to inquiries as well as send welcome notes to guests who post comments about upcoming travel.
How do you assess and measure your social media strategy and activities?
This varies from campaign to campaign. In some cases measurement is as simple as likes or retweets. For some campaigns we look at number of clicks through to another site, or amount of tickets sold (although we can’t tie this directly to the campaign).
What type of advice do you have for someone who hopes to use social media in a professional setting – either as a career with a large firm/organization or to promote a small business?
There are two pieces of advice that are critical to running a successful social media campaign for business purposes. 1 – Be patient. Cultivating a following takes time. It’s like dating; you have to build trust and get people onboard with your brand and it doesn’t happen overnight or when you force it. 2 – Define success before you start anything. Do you care about how many followers you have? Do you care how many likes you get per week? Do you care about re-tweets and page shares? Will you measure ROI or other conversions just as you do with more traditional online ventures? All of these are questions that need to be answered before you start, so you can work towards defining success. Also, the value of a like for your company may vary significantly from another company. Be sure to know what it means to YOU.