Social Media Marketing

Instead of doing expensive surveys, focus groups or other experiments, the best information is often found right there in front of you at minimal or maybe even at no cost. A casino can find out what its customers think of its property, rooms, gaming floors, and service, as well as what they might want improved. Problems and frustrations that might not make it onto corporate surveys might be detailed enough on blogs to affect real change. Most importantly, a casino operator might get the inside scoop of what is actually important to its target audience, whether that audience is a gaming, hotel, spa, retail, or MICE customer.

In her article 50 ways to drive traffic to your website with social media[i], Amanda Nelson recommends, listening can be used in the following ways:

  1. Monitor for buying indication terms and reply with helpful links
  2. Listen for recommendation requests and share helpful links
  3. Listen for discussions of your product or category and provide web links
  4. Share relevant web content with prospects
  5. Discover relevant blogs and ask for backlinks.

Once the casino operator understands the community and what it is all about, it is time to join a social network. Many networks require that you have an account on their site to participate in the discussions and the casino operator should sign up for the account as it is always better to have an account even if it is not required to have one because one always want to claim its brand and/or company name to gain credibility.

A casino operator should also join communities where it is most likely to find its customers. If you start out by listening, you will know where your customers tend to congregate online. Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr, Delicious, Digg and Twitter are big networks which should be on your radar. Many of these sites can be used to listen to your audience or to start a discussion. Chinese listening social media sites include Sina Weibo, Tencent Weibo, and Netease Weibo, amongst others.

Casino operators should set up accounts at all the major social networking sites and link back to their website(s), as well as link content and similar keywords throughout their social channels.

Once the discussion has been joined, then it is time to participate in the community. Participating includes replying and posting to online forums and blogs, reviewing products and services and bookmarking sites that are like-minded.

By participating, casino operators will build their online brand and people will start to respect them as a valuable contributor to the community. When respected, others will help to promote the property and, possibly, the integrated resorts services without even being asked to do so, which, as most marketers will tell you, is some of the best marketing around. Not only is word-of-mouth marketing one of the most trusted forms of marketing, but it can also spread virally. Two words of warning, however; your role models should always be very experienced and remain very active users in the community; and, most importantly of all, remember that it is never okay to spam.

In her article 50 Ways to Drive Traffic to Your Websitei, Nelson recommends using the following methods to increase participation:

  1. Ask readers to sign up for an RSS feed
  2. Answer all questions and share peer referrals
  3. Feature community members on your site
  4. Share customer stories
  5. Ask influencers to share your web links
  6. Interview an influencer for web content
  7. Have an influencer guest blog
  8. Help an influencer write content about the brand
  9. Share products with influencers for feedback and web content.

Finally, it is time to create. Once a casino operator has built itself an online brand by listening, joining and participating, it is time to create its own content. It will now have an audience to share its content with and they will help the casino operator spread its content far and wide. It should be noted here that the casino operator has to create value; ads are not generally seen as valuable. Posting “buy my stuff” on twitter will fail to achieve the results you want, and this practice may even get you banned. By making beneficial contributions to the community, people will notice you and want to know more about the company. If you have listened properly, you should have a solid idea of the type of content people would like to see. Then, simply, give it to them. Nelson recommends companies be creative in the following ways:

  1. Divide a piece of content into multiple Slideshare presentations that link to your site
  2. Start a LinkedIn group
  3. Tie content together so an ebook links to a relevant blog post, which, in turn, links to a topical webinar
  4. Build a forum or community section on the company website
  5. Create referral programs.

The four steps of social media fit well within the six types of social media, which I will detail next. Throughout the rest of this chapter, I will explain the differing types of social media and, in chapter four, I will explain how each of these social media platforms can be used individually as well as, sometimes, in combination.

 

[i] Nelson, A. (2013, November 21). 50 ways to drive traffic to your website with social media. Retrieved from Exact Target Cloud Blog: http://www.exacttarget.com/blog/50-ways-to-drive-traffic-to-your-website-with-social-media/

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