Earlier this month, Twitter floated itself on the New York Stock Exchange. Within hours, shares rose to $45.10 a piece, making the fledgling social media company worth an astounding $31bn.
For a service which opened with the rather innocuous tweet 'just setting up my twttr' in 2006, the 140 character-driven social media site is now a driving force both socially and in business. If you run a hotel, it can be an incredibly powerful tool.
Today, we've got three best practices for the social media savvy hotelier who wants to get the most from Twitter.
Don't ignore the bio
Twitter have made it so easy to set up an account and start posting, that you may forget to perform one of the most important tasks - configuring your bio page. While your Twitter presence will almost solely be digested by people browsing their timelines, whenever someone decides whether or not to follow you, it is likely they will have a look at your bio. In fact, in most Twitter clients, they have to. If it's blank and uninspiring (or, worse, there's a little egg to indicate you haven't updated your profile picture), they may well not bother. Add an attractive image of your hotel, your location, website and a small tagline or description of what you're all about. Don't forget to add a header photo, too - you can be a little more creative with here, as Twitter affords you more space.
Forget the numbers
Social media is all-too-often about numbers. Much like a LinkedIn profile's connections tally isn't indicative of business acumen, neither is your number of followers on Twitter. There are all sorts of 'back door' methods with which you can gain a large number of followers, but avoid them at all costs. You can't buy love and you certainly can't by a social media following.
Building a genuine list of followers isn't easy and it takes time. You need to cultivate a community in order for it to be effective. Use a service such as Wefollow in order to find hospitality leaders and industry partners - follow them and interact with them where possible. Retweet the tweets you like and engage in discussions by using hashtags to offer your thoughts on a particualr topic. If you've got positive relations with a neighbouring hotel, follow them, too.
Twitter is just as much a listening channel as it is a broadcasting channel. Nowhere is this more important than the hotel industry. People tweet in real time and offer immediate thoughts on their current activities. That activity might be a stay in your hotel and they'll probably mention you by name when they say what's on their mind. They may do this by using your @ Twitter username, in which case you'll be alerted in most Twitter clients, but if they don't, keeping an eye on mentions of your hotel on Twitter is relatively straightforward - you can simply use the powerful search tool or invest in social media reputation software or professional services.