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Q&A with @HiltonHotels Social Media Manager Lucy Kemmitz

Focus on good content and strong relationship-building, and the followers will come.

Make your customers feel heard and they’ll respond with loyalty.

Keep evolving.

These are just  a few of the learnings I gleaned from Hilton Hotels & Resorts Social Media Manager Lucy Kemmitz – and only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Hilton’s current social strategy, how they measure success, and what their future plans are. Read on to see the entire interview with Kemmitz:

How do you define “success” on social media?

Success is about creating an engaged audience with whom we have built relationships, and balancing positive sentiment with bookings.

In line with this question, you added 5,168 Twitter followers between April 23 and May 23 of this year.

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That’s a 3.9% change in followers from beginning to end of the time period. Is gaining followers on Twitter a main initiative for you? How do you balance your desire to bulk up on follower numbers and keep your followers engaged?

Twitter is one of our primary platforms and we always aim to gain qualified followers. We care more about our content and relationship-building than follower acquisition, but our focus on content seems to be helping us reach our follower growth goals simultaneously.

We haven’t invested much in paid media, so our growth has been primarily organic at this point. We focus on varied content spanning different pillars. Our follower growth can be attributed to that content and our level of listening and monitoring.

If you talk to us on Twitter, we hear you and will engage in conversation. If you check-in with us, we will acknowledge your visit. We know people have many hotel options to choose from, so we want people to know that we appreciate their loyalty in the form of favorites, retweets, replies, etc.

What are three qualities you want people to associate with Hilton’s social media presence? 

Modern, approachable and motivating.

We hope people see us as their travel companion and come to us for travel inspiration.

What role do analysis and measurement play in your social media strategy? 

Both play a huge role.

If you want to stay relevant you have to constantly evolve your strategy. We plan content ahead of time, but we’re also prepared to change our posts at any moment depending on what’s trending, newsworthy or socially relevant.

We also learned that in the month of April, 1 out of 3 people “talking” about us was related to a check-in, so we’re exploring creative ways to work with Foursquare to make sure we take advantage of that conversation and add value to our guests’ experiences.

We also use software that allows social sentiment analysis. We’re picking up on themes and using them to talk to our audience about what is relevant to them – rather than what we think our audience wants to hear about. This helps us improve both our online and offline content.

Over the past month, 34.3% of your Fan page comments have come on Wednesdays.

Last month, Wednesdays were a big day for us in terms of selfless content and we often directly asked followers for fan actions. Our community is great! When we ask them to respond, they usually do. It’s exciting that we have such a responsive audience with equal value exchange.

Please rate the strength of Hilton’s presence on each of these social channels: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+, and YouTube. Where do you see the biggest opportunity for growth? 

We were the first hotel brand to reach more than 1 million fans on Facebook, and this channel remains key for us.

Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and YouTube are also a big focus of our brand. Our Google+ following is almost equivalent to our Facebook following and we are exploring ways to better serve our audience on this channel.

From the beginning of the year until now, 75% of relevant posts among all our content sources come from Twitter. Plus, Twitter is releasing some great new ad products that we’re excited about experimenting with.

We’re growing the fastest month over month on Instagram. We have a vision for some unique partnerships to keep that platform thriving.

We want to continue to inspire through great imagery and work with people all over the world who can give our community a unique introduction to our amazing locations – 550 hotels in 80 countries and territories. Ad Week recently released an article highlighting that web-rooming is more prevalent than showrooming. We know our imagery is influencing buying decisions whether they book directly from a post or not.

Can you walk me through how you put together the ongoing #AlohaGodzilla campaign? 

In conjunction with the much-anticipated release of Warner Bros.  Pictures’ and  Legendary  Pictures’  Godzilla,TM  Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort gave guests a chance to experience firsthand one of the film’s locations with the launch of its Godzilla Package. The film features scenes depicting the destruction of the celebrated Rainbow Tower located at Hilton Hawaiian Village® Waikiki Beach Resort.

To bring the excitement to more locations, the brand developed a North American social media scavenger hunt for free movie tickets, with the grand prize being a giveaway trip. Select Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties were chosen to hide movie tickets at their hotel and share clues to their location via their social media channels across the United States and Canada. The clues were geo-targeted across the global brand Facebook page and Twitter accounts.

We gave out a great number of tickets in two weeks, but the best part was seeing our hotels shine and our winners gratefully post pictures of the swag they received online.

You recently took to Twitter to congratulate Modern Family’s Cam and Mitchell on their recent marriage. What was your thought process there?

Hilton Hotels & Resorts has a longstanding commitment to the LGBT community, and we look for opportunities to support the community wherever we can.

There was a lot of chatter leading up to, and around Cam and Mitchell’s wedding, and we decided to jump in and join the conversation. Our fans are generally interested in pop culture, and knew this was an opportune moment to speak to them.

Can you give me some insight into your upcoming campaigns? 

We are dedicated to further building our social media footprint, as we know this is the space our loyal customers frequent.

This year alone we’ve built several programs as part of our broader Our Stage. Your Story. marketing campaign. Last month we hosted a concert with Roc Nation songwriter/artist Bridget Kelly on the rooftop of Hilton Checkers Los Angeles and live-tweeted from the event.

To celebrate National LGBT Pride Month, our brand is sponsoring several large events that include World Pride in Toronto and the wedding reception for co-plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo of California’s “Proposition 8” Supreme Court case, which defeated the ban on same sex marriage, at The Beverly Hilton on June 28.

We will be on the ground at each event, sharing real-time updates and video content via Twitter and Instagram. Our social media team is excited to be in the middle of the action to help set the stage for these incredible moments in time, both now and in the future.

So what do you think?

What’s the most impressive part of Hilton’s social strategy, in your eyes? Which tactics or perspective would you like to see your own brand incorporate? Let me know in the comments below.

Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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