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How should workers really fill their free time during the social media era? #case study

There are a lot of businesses where the clerk just sits around and waits and only deals with customers when they step into the room. If you happen to be the boss of a business like that, then keep on reading with interest, because instead of randomly surfing on Facebook, your employee could bring you a lot of profit while waiting for customers.

Exactly what kind of employees am I talking about?

Everyone can use the main idea of today’s blog post for the success of their business, but I’m concentrating mostly on the employees of the service sector, for example:

  • Administrators of hotels, hostels and other tourism-related establishments
  • Barmen
  • Clerks in shopping malls
  • Specialists and their assistants
  • On a smaller scale also all entrepreneurs and marketing people, who’s clients may write about their field of on the Internet.

To make you better understand the main idea, I’m going to focus on an example from Europe, from Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. This specific business is related to the tourism industry.

Case study – Tallinn Traveller Info

tallinn traveller info case study How should workers really fill their free time during the social media era? #case study

Description of the situation

My friends Kalev and Ülane are leading an undertaking called Tallinn Traveller Info which is a free alternative tourism information center ran by young people that provides travelers with tips about things happening in town and helps them get an unforgettable experience of Tallinn.

To serve their clients better, they have built a really cool and youthful information center in the Old Town of Tallinn. There’s at least one employee, who gathers information about everything that’s happening in the town every day and then sits behind a computer waiting for clients to arrive.

When a client comes in, the employee gives them valuable information and hopefully sells a couple or bicycle tours or some other services. But still I’m afraid that most of the time the really awesome people of Tallinn Traveller are just killing time on Facebook. What else are you going to do if there’s no customers at that time?

Solution

If just a few years ago you could justify killing time, then this is not the case anymore. The reason is that we are living in the social media era and your potential clients are constantly talking about topics related to your business. Why wouldn’t you join in on the conversation? They are waiting for you and often even need you!

Next steps

Traveller Info should follow 3 simple steps:

  1. Monitoring content that’s being created on topics related to their line of business.
  2. Joining in on the conversations and being helpful.
  3. Creating a value and selling related products and services.

What should be monitored?

You should monitor all of the relevan sites in your field, but I would especially emphasize Twitter, Facebook and in this case tourism sites like Tripadvisor.

How does monitoring work?

Recently Priit published an article “48 Free Social Media Monitoring Tools”. From there you will definitely find some good tools for finding content on web and social media sites.

For Traveller Info I would recommend using Twitter and Google Alerts. For example, in Google Alerts you can enter keywords relevant to your business and if someone writes something about that topic you get an automated email notification. E.g: if John writes in his blog that he’s planning a trip to Estonia then you will get a notice and you could comment on his post and give a bit of valuable advice. Why not also sell a tour right away?
If someone on Twitter writes something about Tallinn or Estonia, then join the conversation. For example here are 3 totally random conversations about Estonia, Tallinn and tourism that I found in couple of minutes.

tallinn tourism tweets How should workers really fill their free time during the social media era? #case study

To Erikgronwall you should say welcome and in case he needs some fine advice to drop by your info center.

To Rosaelfin you should just write “Hey, what are you planning to do in Estonia?”

With Ozbilgin you should just thank him and ask for how long he will still be staying in the paradise on earth?

They would probably engage and I believe that if they’re already in Tallinn and looking for activities or need to book a ferry, then they will drop by your place and hopefully you’ll close a good deal.

Even if there won’t be any sales, you’ll still leave a good impression of yourself and a lot of people could become your Twitter follower or tell their friends about their cool experience just thanks for the personal approach.

In addition

You should be following EVERYTHING that’s written about Tallinn and if possible, start a dialog. For example this means that if someone checks him/herself into somewhere through Foursquare or Facebook Places, you can start a conversation with them.

There’s no point in playing Solitaire anymore. In the social media era, every free moment should be spent communicating with potential clients and helping them. In the end this will boost your sales!

Thanks for reading!

Posted on: June 7, 2011

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One Response

  1. 40deuce June 7, 2011 11:11pm

    My friends that work in the service sector are going to hate me for saying this, but this is absolutely true and a great idea. There’s so much that can be done via social media that can help even the smallest business, so why not do it.
    The best part of this is that a lot of the time conversing with people through social media can truly be fun, so this could be something that employees will really enjoy doing despite the fact it may seem like they’re losing their “free time”.

    Cheers,
    Sheldon, community manager for Sysomos

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