Social Media For Shared Ownership Success (Part 1)

Social Media For Shared Ownership Success (Part 1)

Link to Original Article

Author: Chris Hornbeck, CEO, Resort Insiders

Published: RCI® Ventures

In the first of two posts focusing on the opportunities missed by many shared ownership operators in the social media space, technology expert CHRIS HORNBECK gives us a practical introduction into the machinations of communications and prospect-sourcing, 21st century-style.

Over the past few years social media has become a vital tool in the vacation ownership industry, providing developers with a low-cost communication platform that allows for greatly improved member communication, enhanced publicity administration, and promotion of brand identity.

While widely used throughout the industry, social networks like Facebook and Twitter are only now being used by resort developers worldwide for their unique engagement abilities in refining the traditional persuasion process, and in sourcing potential customers.

The intrinsic marketing value of social media lies not only in its ability to quickly and cost-effectively reach large audiences, but to slice those audiences into almost innumerable demographic segments that can be independently marketed to over extended periods of time.

Segmentation, communication and relationship marketing

At a minimum, the segmentation of social populations into member and non-member groups (easily accomplished by creating and promoting separate social profiles for each) can provide for proper division of marketing messages and lets the developer introduce better-targeted marketing offers such as last-minute deals only open to existing members.

By interacting with and promoting proactive communication within these groups, companies can also reap the added benefits of strengthened customer service outreach, positive boosts to online reputation, and the mitigation of online complaints.

Social media-based relationship marketing methods are increasingly being used to drive potential customers into longer-term, more passive sales cycles, where the consumer can be gradually exposed to the product and repeatedly engaged over extended periods of time.

If managed effectively, this type of passive social media marketing strategy can supplement existing direct sales and marketing campaigns and be used to "re-market" prospects who have already toured.

Reaching Out To New Audiences

A comprehensive social media marketing plan should be paired with a creative, virally-driven acquisition strategy, designed to continuously and exponentially build following and new interest in the product over time.

Inventory giveaway contests are an example of a low-cost and easy-to-promote tool that can be used to gain new fans and followers (especially when new fans are incentivised to also invite their friends to enter). Another proven method of creating an ardent social following is to produce and disseminate compelling content in your area of expertise, which, in the vacation ownership industry, would most likely be travel-related.

Expertly-written, informative content provides company credibility, creates social population growth, and, perhaps most importantly, creates a positive image of the brand in the eyes of the consumer.

Paid social advertising platforms offer the advertiser unprecedented ability to target advertising to specific demographic groups and population segments based on such indicators as location, age, and lifestyle interests. Social media advertising can easily be integrated into any external e-commerce prospect generation platform, functioning in the same way as other forms of "cost-per-click" (CPC) advertising, or it can be employed internally within the platform itself to entice new connections.

Due to increasingly limited ad space, prices for social media ad clicks are skyrocketing, a trend which reinforces the importance of viral, content-based social strategies.

Next week, Chris will share with us some tricks of thinking outside the box for success, and talk about ways to get the competitive advantage and stay ahead of the pack with leading-edge social media tricks and tools.

Chris Hornbeck is CEO of Resort Insiders, a full-service timeshare marketing consulting firm which provides innovative marketing, e-commerce, and reputation management services to the vacation ownership industry.

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