Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Social media is either overhyped, underhyped, or somewhere in the middle

Across two conferences two sets of travel executives have highlighted the challenges in figuring out how much to invest in social media for online travel companies. At last year's PhoCusWright Steve Hafner of Kayak called social media "overhyped". A session or two later former Expedia CEO Rich Barton called it "underhyped". At this year's No Vacancy Glenn Fogel of Priceline called social media experts "charlatans" while Toga Hospitality CEO Rachel Argaman said the future of the internet was pages inside Facebook. Meanwhile Wotif provided the perfect case study to test this debate by launching $11 rooms for 11 minutes via social media.

In my latest Tnooz post I discuss this debate and look in depth at the Wotif promotion. Check out the story here.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tim

Social Media, Blah Blah Blah Blah. I cannot stand listening to the same old stuff over and over and over and over again. I have listened to so many people talk about it and argue about it over the years but I still see very few companies benefiting from it.
Everyone is putting the kart before the horse when it comes to social media and companies need to start looking at things in the reverse. Until they do, a ferocious cycle of productivity loss will continue to eat itself through the various divisions of the marketing department and into the bottom line of the company. I see this happening almost daily!

Companies need to step back a little bit. They need to take a look at things from a broader perspective and re-evaluate where the real value lies. The real value lies, not through pushing out communications via the various social media vehicles in the hope of getting a "like" or a "retweet" - it lies in the notion of understanding how the human brain works and in doing so creating 1 very powerful human reflection through 1 very powerful business tool. A tool that rarely get’s a mention at these industry “social media” events and “social media” talk fests (which I can’t stand by the way!)

Please, and sorry Tim for using your blog as the vehicle here, but for those company executives reading this and for those social media experts, stop thinking about how to leverage social media in order to create a closer connection with the customer, stop thinking about social media as a platform to build brand and to drive incremental sales and stop sucking up your marketing departments time and resources by getting them to post tweets, build Facebook profiles and write blogs. You need to look at things in the reverse. Social Media is a “freedom” platform and need’s to run in its natural form. You can’t “force” it, you can’t “manipulate” it and you can’t “manage” it. Forget about these notions. By looking at things in the reverse and understanding this core human reflection I refer to above, a company can only then truly leverage the social media environment.

The true power is aligning human instinct to human instinct. This is the most powerful connection of all and a true transformational one at that.

MayFly said...

I may be in the minority, however I still believe Social Media is about one fundamental; a connection.

A connection or a friend has something in common with you. You’ve shared experiences, you still have experiences to share in the future, and you have an interest in what track that person’s life takes.

You’re not connected to that friend for the single premise that there may be some economic gain for either of you in the future. If you are, then the whole premise of the link becomes somewhat tenuous.

When travel businesses go down the track of trying to advertently monetise social networking channels (and this especially includes giveaways), they create the previously mentioned tenuous link. They’re “rent-a- friends” in a way. Not only are they your friends, they’re your competitors friends. They’ll happily trumpet the virtues of whichever company has the biggest prize bag.

If you want to effectively utilise social media, then become a true friend of your connections by learning about, and listening to them. These are the friends/connections that will remember your name.

virtual memorials said...

I think the author is right.

Jane said...

Whether it's overhyped or underhyped, the issue should be more of to what use we are putting it.

Please check out this video to see how social media is being used to spread an important message effectively:

mario88 said...

You are absolutely right, social media is good for connections with friends and family.

Ceska said...

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