Are companies taking the “Social” out of social media marketing?

I was so excited when I was chosen to handle two social media sites for three big hotels.  I created a very successful campaign and met with the General Manager and the Director of Sales on several occasions to understand each property and the objectives of each hotel’s social media strategy.  They gave me only three months to “prove” my worth and I did;  well at least I thought I did.  Their fan pages grew, engagement with the fans was incredible, Google rankings were rising, and we began running a photo competition every week.  I thought we were on our way to a successful partnership until it happened;  I got dropped so they could run the campaign from their corporate headquarters. WHAT? Ok, I understand that accounts drop and you go get more, but I just can’t seem to understand how they could have one, yes that’s 1 person handling 12 properties social media accounts in different states. It is possible to do this because I have been successful at running many different types of accounts utilizing the Sprout Social dashboard. (Love it by the way) But to be handling several hotel accounts in different states, just doesn’t seem very “social” to me.

There are many good and bad reasons  a company should not be utilizing one person for several corporate social media marketing locations. Companies need to understand that communication is evolving and in order to evolve with it, they need to first create their social media strategic plan for each of their different properties.  Instead companies are feeling the “MUST DO IT” pressure to enter social media and are doing it incorrectly.  As Mari Smith suggests, companies need to:

  • Have social media goals
  • Create an online social media strategy
  • Create tactics
Another problem is that companies are not incorporating social media guidelines. It’s surprising that only half of organizations are adopting guidelines for their employees.  Setting guidelines not only empowers employees but can also help to ensure that they’re within legal boundaries.
We are at the beginning of a new wave of communication and it’s with people and NOT corporations. Let’s stop assuming that the general corporate “blast” of promotions is sufficient enough and get down to relationship marketing. Believe me, we know the difference.  I live on an island and people on the mainland love that! They want to communicate with someone local. It reminds me of when I can’t get a person on the telephone to talk to. Let’s get back to customer service and not forget the people once again.


  1. Lee Clark · May 9, 2011

    I think this was an easy to understand approach to a subject that I’ve thought a bit about, as the company that I work for has a regional PR person that monitors Twitter, Facebook and whatever other social media sites she covers. Regional for maybe 5 properties in South Florida, or it could be all of Florida. Now ya got me thinking more. Thanks for the food for thought.

  2. KathyWatkins · May 12, 2011

    Sure Lee. I think if it’s just regional in South Florida then that may work, but to be doing social media for different locations in different states? Not sure about that. 😉 As long as that person can actually visit the properties and take pictures, then no big deal. We gotta keep it social. People like connecting with someone either on or near the resorts.

  3. Christopher Aaron Hughes · June 17, 2011

    I believe it’s too difficult for 1 person to manage everything. There seems to be an issue with businesses understanding the importance of having a local social media manager. I personally have been working with businesses that are in NY while I’m living in Florida and find it’s difficult to keep active and up to date as much as I would like to do. However, it might be saving the company money by having the 1 main manager handling all the properties.

    I don’t believe it’s right that they have someone doing that, but feel that as social media marketers we need to make our value so high that our clients would lose more money by not having us work with them.

    If the people uploading photos are customers then it seems like it would be easy to keep doing what you were doing from afar but if you were the one liable for creating the content through pictures it wouldn’t work out.

    Hopefully they will realize how difficult it is to not have you working for them and will hire you back so that you can keep engaging their audience and grow their brand the proper way.

    Did you ask them if there were specific reasons why they didn’t want you to continue doing it?

  4. Chris McCann · June 17, 2011

    I really liked the information in this article.

    I have run into many, many franchises who have actually been forced to go with the “Corporate Social Media Campaigns” and pretty much every time I’ve witnessed them doing it the wrong way.

    I very much agree with your analysis and I think the majority of us Marketing Company owners do better than the franchise chains I have worked with 😉

  5. Hi Kathryn,
    That’s a total bummer. I know, that for me…it’s the results and the appreciation that make me feel accomplished more than just having the client. If you were creating something great, just imagine what could have been for them. I also know that part of what we do is get them started, but ultimately I feel this is a specialty that an ‘admin’ cannot be truly successful at, especially being so overwhelmed with all of the properties. Unreal.

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