Omni Hotels exec: Facebook’s relevant ad push annoys some followers


Omni’s mobile Facebook page

NEW YORKAn Omni Hotels executive at Mobile FirstLook: Strategy2014 pointed to a few challenges that the hotel company is still seeing on social as the new medium matures.

During the Social Media: Retrofitting an Old Web Model to Mobile session, executives from Omni Hotels, AKQA and Meredith Xcelerated Marketing discussed how brands can successfully leverage social and integrate it with mobile and other channels for increased consumer engagement and CRM. The panel was moderated by Lauren Johnson, associate reporter at Mobile Marketer, New York.

When someone ‘Likes’ us, Facebook is trying to serve relevant ads to them, whether it be in hospitality, said Kerry Kennedy, vice president of ecommerce at Omni Hotels Resorts, Dallas. We have our followers who then complain because were encroaching in their feed, and its not even our ad.

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We have customers who are getting ads from other people who are ticked at us because they think just because they “Liked” us, were now responsible for these new ads, he said.

These social companies provide us the opportunity, but we have to be careful how we market to them and how we message to them. Theres still a challenge in how we leverage this channel.

The challenges
Since social media is still relatively new, brands are still figuring out how exactly it plays into their overall strategy and fits in across channels.

Omni Hotels is finding benefits in leveraging social, but there are still some obstacles.

One specific problem Mr. Kennedy cited was consumers getting ads from Facebook after Liking or following Omni and getting frustrated with Omni for ads that are not connect to the hotel company.

Another challenge Omni encounters is syncing its social media efforts with its content calendar, maintaining a social presence for individual locations and aligning it all with company goals of ROI.

A number of our hotels have their own social handles, Mr. Kennedy said. We have our corporate handle as well.

We make sure that our content calendar is synced across all of that so that hotels are promoting voice and we promote the hotels out in the field as well, but I think you have to sync it up to make sure youre not inundating [consumers with information].

Omni is also conscious that consumers who follow them on social channels may also be getting emails from the company, so it is important not to overload them with the same message on different channels.

Another obvious challenge is proving ROI to company executives. Social is great for engagement and CRM, but it is still difficult to tie direct sales back to the channel.

Joe Gizzi, director of strategy at Meredith Xcelerated Marketing, New York, pointed out another unique challenge on social.

We spend so much money to accumulate our followers, we want to achieve scale, and then when were told, OK now that youve achieved scale you can only talk to about three percent of that audience and we need you to continuously spend more money to be on the platform, Mr. Gizzi said.

The power of social is often in the one-to-one relationship, which can be costly and timely for brands.

The panel

The power of mobile social
One of the major benefits of combining mobile and social is the ability to roll out second-screen campaigns.

I can target someone using their mobile device as a second screen for the show theyre watching and issue the same advertising theyre seeing on air or some supplemental using Twitter Amplify, Mr. Gizzi said.

Eight in ten consumers are on Facebook on their phone while watching TV, and brands can leverage this multitasking behavior to target consumers with messaging on mobile and social that is connected to a simultaneous message on television.

Mr. Gizzi highlighted the importance of recognizing different strategies with social depending on the device that is being targeted.

The mobile device is a social one inherently, but that doesnt mean we can treat it like we treat social networks as a whole on desktop and I think the era of responsive design is going to be a short lived one because the mobile experience is just completely different, he said. You have to have adaptive paths for where youre customers are at and where youre speaking to them.

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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